I can't recall taking the boat out in January. The weather was quite blowy, and we also had our week at Fraser Island, as well as celebrating Loz's birthday. I began looking into Minn Kota's while on holidays, and placed one on lay-by through BCF.
Well, my motorbike (KLX400R) sold, so I used some of those funds to finish paying off the lay-by for the Minn Kota. I had R&M Welding fabricate a bow mount plate and they installed the electric motor too. I purchased a 105ah AGM battery and couldn't wait to replace using the anchor with this more practical device. First use was in the boat harbour, as the winds had been 20-30 knots for weeks! I placed the battery in the wrong spot. As soon as I walked towards the bow to deploy the electric motor, the gunnels nearly went under. It felt very unstable - what have I done! This was expensive! I moved the battery further back and centre more centred. Next trip was to River Heads in a small northerly - the Susan River would be well protected. I cruised up the creek to Three Ways and used the ipilot - bloody brilliant. No fish, but it kept me exactly where I wanted to be. I tried another spot around a bent, it had some good structure and I thought I could target some bream in the shadows. Down went the ipilot again and bang, I was on. A decent grunter. I got another few in quick time (no photos) and then it was time to head home. I was pretty wrapped with the Minn Kota!
Later in February I decided to advertise the Stessco Squire and purchase a bigger boat - it sold within a week. I sold the Minn Kota separately (in March).
I spent the last few weeks really scouring websites, classifieds and online dealers for a new boat. Paul and I spent a day looking at boat yards, dealers and private sellers on the southside of Brisbane. I was keen for a 5.3m side-console. At a gathering with mates, it was put forward to consider a half cab as a family friendly boat. I did - I talked to others who had them and thought I'd give it a go. More about purchase of the Yalta 535 All Rounder in the 'My Boats' section of this website. I picked it up mid-March and after initial issues on the first run, the second run was fine. We headed to Mackie Spot and I landed a good school size mackerel on the first cast. However, Loz was sick and needed the bucket. We tried sticking it out for a bit longer, but everytime the rod bent over with another fish I was busy attending the sick brigade, which not consisted of Loz and Shell. I lost two more schoolies due to not being able to get to the rods quick enough and then Cal started getting crook. We headed home - fishing momentum was lost! Was good to know that there were still mackerel at the Mackie Spot, as I hadn't been there in 5 years. We also saw some dolphins on the way out, near Maringa.
Paul and his family came up for the Easter days off. We managed to get out for a good fish on one of the days. We woke early and headed for Mackie Spot. It was a bit slow, but Paul managed a couple of good mackerel, and I managed a parrot and a mackerel. It was nice to know we had some fish in the boat. We got some livies and Paul mentioned that he'd love to see his rod have a Maui Maui (dolphin fish) on the end of it. I brushed it off, saying "Nah, almost buckley's chance here mate. They're further up the island near Ronney's etc." Well, I'll be blown, sure enough he was on, and sure enough, there was a dolphin fish jumping out from the back of the boat. We got it in the net and cheered. It started carrying on a bit in the boat, but it was quickly taken care of before I grabbed a couple of snaps with Paul holding it. You beauty! We left Mackie Spot and headed for Maringa Bommie - we anchored up and quite quickly I was on, with a livie bait. And it was HUGE! It bricked me well and truly. Not once, but twice! With the water so clear, we could see it's shadow directly beneath our boat - massive groper we were thinking.
Nothing to report - can't see any photos to remind me of any trips.
I took a colleague out from school. We headed for Mackie Spot (again!). I had talked it up - saying I'd never been left empty handed from this spot. Well, today was the day - I must've jinxed myself. We tried and tried. No action. There were a couple of runs, and I had a whiptail livie that got chomped, and missed the hook by a millimetre, but nothing hooked. We tried Maringa - nothing. Couple of livies, but no decent bites. It was a glorious day on the water, just a pitty there were no fish.
Sold the Yalta. The family weren't keen on coming often, so there wasn't much point keeping it - it wasn't my style of boat. So started looking for a different boat - centre console aluminium boat.
Found my new boat - Formosa 520 Tomahawk CC with 115 etec. Picked it up from Bayside Marine in Urangan as a consignment sale. Pretty happy. More details about the boat in the 'My Boats' section of the website. The first trip out was just Callum and I - we headed out on the Saturday and had a quick fish around Mickey's. We didn't land any keepers, but it was more about the first trip than the fishing. The next day, Sunday was our first family trip and it was already more comfortable than the Yalta - the kids much preferred to be able to move about and look out of the boat - the deep sides made it very safe too. First we stopped at Pelican Banks for a look and it was magic - the water was so clear. I pulled up a bit too close to the beach though, as the boat had started washing up onshore. With a bit of might, we managed to get it floating in clear water again! We headed for Coongul Creek - the tide was incoming and we navigated our way through the entrance trying to avoid the submerged logs, luckily the water was crystal clear and the sun was shining. We pulled up a little way in and ate our lunch on Fraser Island. We spent a little while here, just mucking around. On the way home, we tried a quick fish at Maringa, but it was no good, so we moved to Mickey's where the kids caught some small sweetlip and whiptail. We headed home and it was a good first trip.
There wasn't much chance for boating in September due to our caravanning road trip. We managed to squeeze one quick morning out. We didn't go far. At the harbour entrance we turned right and went to the 'go slow zone' and puttied along, watching turtle after turtle - there were hundreds of them! It was awesome, they were close to the boat, and in all directions. We headed towards some sandbars hoping for some whiting. We got a few good summeries and a few winteries. It was a nice and pleasant day on the water - everyone had an enjoyable time. On the way to the harbour we saw dolphins too.
I decided early in the year to take the first five Fridays off as long service leave. I wanted to make the most of these days off. The weather was perfect for fishing on one - you ripper. I headed out solo. First port of call was the end of the pier for some livies. I was too early, none. I got to Mackie Spot (it hadn't produced the last 2-3 times). Upon anchoring I was greeted by about 6-8 dugong, feeding and swimming around. I wasn't having much luck, and as I was about to consider moving on the livie (herring) went zzzzzzzzzzz I lifted my rod and knew it wasn't a mackerel. It was heavy. And it was moving fast. It took a lot of drag and some stiff forearms to start making progress on this fish. After about 10 minutes of fighting hard I had it beside the boat. It took off for another run, but the next time I got it close I was able to net it. The golden trevally measured 94cm. My best for sure. I usually don't keep them, as I've been told they're not the best, but just recently someone told me they're good eating. So I thought I'd give it a go. I came home after that - pretty excited! Cleaning the fish for the table was a bit trickier than a mackeral etc - as it's such a wide fish. There was a bit of waste as I only wanted the white flesh. It ate OK, but I doubt I'd keep another.
The November northerlies blowed the entire month - couldn't get out for one day!
Funnily enough, the winds dropped on the 1st December, so I teed up with an old friend, Maz, to go for a fish before school. We met at the harbour at 4ish and headed for Sammies for a troll. As we got close we laid out the TLD25s and I had my new birthday present from Callum on one, a silver/purple diving Halco lure. Well soon enough one of the TLDs was pulling a bit of line. Put the boat in neutral and started winding. There was very little resistance. Strange. Then all of a sudden, a just legal kingy was beside the boat - it finally woke up and gave a quick dash, but was pulled back quickly - it's biggest fight came when it was onboard. A good start to the morning.
We then headed over to Maringa. I was casting a 40g slug (another birthday pressie from Loz) and first cast I had a school mackerel on. As I had it beside the boat, this monster shadow came from under the boat. I had the mackerel at the surface and as I did, this massive, massive groper opened it's mega wide mouth and swallowed my mackerel whole, like a tim tam. It then gave a tail kick beside the boat and slowly dove back down. I kept the tension on my rod for a minute and then gave up! Wow, that was bloody exciting. A little later, Maz was on to a schoolie. A decent one and we had a fish each in the kill tank. Maz gutted them on the way home and we each had a feed. I cleaned the boat down and made it to school by the skin of my teeth.
We got out for a couple of family trips on the good days before Christmas. Enjoying Pelican Banks. On Christmas morning, I took Amber, my mum and Loz for a trip. We had a quick fish around Maringa, there wasn't much action at all. I think Mum was sending fish telepathic signals to move on, as she's against harming other animals. We ventured up Coongul Creek - it had changed since August - probably from the ongoing northerlies it battled over the past month or two. We then headed to Pelican Banks for a swim. Amber and Loz found the biggest starfish any of us had ever seen. It was a nice morning, and we were back in time for a swim and Christmas lunch. Bloody unreal!