Jamie Stephens and his mate Mick Wray reeled in this 13kg, 111cm barra in the creek at South Trees. Caught using mullet.
Jamie Stephens and his mate Mick Wray reeled in this 13kg, 111cm barra in the creek at South Trees. Caught using mullet. Hayley Stephens

FISHING WITH DAZ: Get your gear shipshape

WITH the 24th running of the Boyne Tannum HookUp only a week away it's high time you check your gear and boat.

Throw out stuff you haven't bothered to take off because you "might” need it one day.

This time of the year is ideal to check the dates on your flares and EPIRB.

Also that the batteries actually have charge.

Think too about the running gear on your trailer because there's nothing worse than a collapsed bearing enroute to the ramp.

Worse still a roller falling off as you unload or load your pride and joy.

Make sure your trailer is registered and the lights actually work.

Inside the boat the safety gear needs to be kept up to scratch.

This includes the flares, EPIRB, mirror, V sheet and everything else required depending on your vessel size and how far offshore you intend to travel.

When it comes to cruising offshore know your vessel's capabilities, such as the sea conditions and the fuel usage in rough and smooth waters.

And ensure you are a member of VMR or an affiliated organisation.

Please keep in mind that it's you who is the member and not the boat even though you have a call sign or membership number allocated to your vessel.

I am on annual leave for the next week or so and, for only the second time in the 24-year history of the HookUp, I will be away.

For those planning on venturing out wide this weekend it seems like tomorrow morning will be the best opportunity as the breeze strengthens in the afternoon.

Come Sunday the forecast is28-37km/h.

Ideal if you are sailing like I will be in the Whitsundays but certainly not good for a powerboat.

The inshore fishing, however, has been dynamite with excellent catches of big grunter just under the 700mm mark, along with bream and a few fingermark.

Much as we all pray for nice weather for the HookUp it's important to have a plan B just in case it isn't.

And if you end up chasing barra make sure you have the right stickers and brag mats for the photos as they are a measure-and-click species.

Most of the others like flathead, bream and whiting are to be kept alive and brought to the park to be tagged, measured, weighed and then placed in a tank for a period before being released.

The fly-fishing category adds a new dynamic to the event encouraging those with the skills to test them out.

If you are keen to learn about flyfishing have a chat with Justin from Gladstone Fly and Sportfishing Charters and he might steer you in the right direction.

If you are an old trout fisherman from back in the day and would like to buy some new gear talk to your favourite tackle shop as they will be only too pleased to help you.

Finally have a cracker weekend and start getting that tackle and boat ready!

Hooroo, Daz



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