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   January comment from Ben Collins, Editor Bush 'n Beach Fishing magazine

TIME certainly flies when you are having fun or flat out with work and family life. I can’t believe 2014 is all but done and dusted. At the time of writing we have received some much-needed rain here in southeast Queensland.

Unfortunately the first storms of the season were quite severe, causing serious damage to a few areas. Hopefully we will continue to get decent rainfall but not hail storms through the traditional wet season. It would also be great to see the rain depressions dump a bit of water further west for the farmers who really need it.

This flush of water should see a few muddies on the move just in time for Christmas and New Year. It will also dirty the water a little and push bait down from the creeks and estuaries. This should make the fishing a bit easier in places too.

However if you are going to be on the water over the silly season, and I hope you are, just remember to take care. As a skipper you are responsible for you and your crew, so think before you act. It is fine to have some fun but don’t go overboard, pardon the pun.

Something else worth keeping in mind is to ensure you are fully aware of the current rules and regulations for the areas you are fishing and the species being targeted. Fisheries Queensland officers will be on the water over the holiday period, so make sure they don’t sting you for not having the required and in-date safety gear. I am certain that you don’t really want to make a hefty donation to the state coffers.

And by the looks of it there has been an increased effort from Fisheries Queensland to nab fishos breaking laws, which has been highlighted on Facebook. I’m all for this and think when people are blatantly disregarding the rules they need to be prosecuted in a way that will stop them reoffending. If the crime is severe enough, hefty fines should be imposed with offenders facing the prospect of having their boats impounded and sold.

The money from the sales could go towards putting more fisheries officers on the water. However, I think the money would somehow find its way to the Government’s Consolidated Fund. Irrespective, if the punishment is harsh it should act as a deterrent to those who insist on breaking the rules.

It is also worth remembering (or putting in your phone) the Fisheries Queensland hotline for illegal fishing activities (1800 017 116). If you happen to see someone doing the wrong thing, call the authorities and report it. I’d also suggest taking a photo of them in the act because this will make it easier for prosecution (especially if they leave before the authorities arrive).

All smartphones have inbuilt cameras, so it is easy to grab a few photos if necessary. Another thing to keep in mind is to be a little patient and courteous to your fellow fishos. If someone looks as though they need a hand, ask if you can help. Most importantly, just make sure you have some fun and enjoy the break if you have managed to score one.


Ben Collins