The monster cobia Iluka professional fisherman Michael Payne caught in his prawn net.
The monster cobia Iluka professional fisherman Michael Payne caught in his prawn net. Daily Examiner

Monster fish hooked in front yard

THE big wet has brought out some big fish ... sorry, some very big fish.

Since the water started to recede two monsters have been caught/found in strange circumstances in the Clarence and offshore.

The first was at Ashby when a resident went out onto his front yard to find a 45kg jewfish and the second was about 3.5 nautical miles off the coast of Woody Head when a trawler operator netted a 54kg black kingfish (cobia) while trawling on sand.

After a lifetime chasing the elusive jewfish it turned out Bill Van Den Hoek, of Ashby, didn't even have to leave home or put a bait on his hook to catch the biggest fish of his career.

During the flood Mr Van Den Hoek was amazed to discover a whopper of jewfish in his front yard.

“I think this one was around 45-50kg,” he said.

“It was on the front lawn so I hooked it with the garden rake and rang all of my mates.”

Mr Van Den Hoek said he and his friends went jewfishing every month and in all their years, this was the biggest they had caught.

“But hooking it on a garden rake was not as exciting as catching it on the rod,” he said.

Reports of the large fish and other jewfish caught since the flood have brought back memories of what fishing used to be like on the Clarence.

“In the old days they had six full time crews catching jewfish in the river, but these days there's hardly any of them in the river now,” Mr Van Den Hoek said.

After wild weather prevented him from working for much of last week, Iluka professional fisherman Micheal Page made the most of improved conditions on Friday afternoon to head to sea.

It was just before dark that he lifted his nets and saw the big shape mixed among a decent haul of prawns.

At first he thought it was a shark, then, when only its head was visible, a catfish.

When he finally cleared the rest of the catch away from the fish he discovered it was a monster cobia.

Cobia normally inhabit reefs, but Mr Page believed his catch was probably disturbed by the rough conditions and moved onto the sand.

“You'd never catch one like this on a handline,” he said.

“I've caught a few when I've been anchored up, but nothing like this.

“Twenty eight kilos is the best I've heard of.”

According to the fishing website fishnet.com.au, the Australian record for a cobia is 61.5kg.



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