Mel is a true trout slayer, and continues to prove that you can still troll them up well outside the recognised shallow reef season
It’s Still Winter ….. Apparently
The breeze was up and that kept many boaties off the water last week, or at least kept them inshore or in the estuaries. The week ahead looks vastly different to last, with some warmer weather on the way in coming days.
This morning’s lighter breeze will tend more northerly and stiffen a little this afternoon, setting the trend for the weekend. 10 knots or so of north-westerly will greet boaties heading out early Saturday morning. That breeze is likely to turn to the north and strengthen to 15 knots or so in the afternoon. Sunday looks a lot rougher, with 15 knots of north-wester expected all day. Those afternoon sea breezes might even better the forecast strength too by the way, so keep that in mind.
Lighter westerlies swinging northerly seem to be the consensus for Monday. Light winds once again Tuesday morning seem likely to precede a significant gust from the north-west late in the day that will strengthen overnight.
It’s a bit like guesswork after that, though it seems fair to assume that we will be in for a spell of westerlies of some sort to see out the working week. Anyone would think the Ekka was on down in Brisvegas!
Tides-wise, we are coming off the neaps right now, and as the tides build towards next Wednesday’s new moon, so will the fish’s appetites. There will be up to 3 metres of tidal flow at the peak of the tides next week. A fair flow, but quite manageable, and a far cry from the big king tides of the full moon due a fortnight later.
Get out and get into the snapper before the warmer spring weather arrives. You've got about two months before they head back offshore
Snapper Season Opens Next Week
The annual snapper and pearl perch closure for Qld waters concludes as of midnight on the 15th August. The weather might not be ideal, but many keep snapper fans will head for points all over the bay come Wednesday the 16th if they get the chance. Future offshore trips will be quite fruitful too when the wind eases, with both pearlies and snapper schooled-up and keen to fatten up post spawn.
The season opener falls on a great phase of the moon. The new moon and the two days thereafter have been highly productive for local snapper fishos in our waters. It is a shame about the northerlies and westerlies, as the grounds in Platypus Bay are traditionally kind to snapper fans this time of year.
You will likely have to stay inshore for the most part this week, but when you get the chance, the 25 Fathom Hole, the Gutters and the reefs off Rooneys Point will all be worth prospecting for snapper. The lack of shark activity in recent weeks is very encouraging, and sessions soaking live or other whole baits around dawn, dusk and into the evening, or time spent jigging or wafting plastics during the day should bring the desired results.
Isolated patches of rubble or reef in the lower bay will host a few knobby snapper too, as will some of the popular sites you all know and fish so frequently. Boat traffic will be minimised on many of those grounds this week, and this, combined with minimised contact with snapper during the closure, should encourage many fishos to give those areas a solid try when better weather allows.
Known snapper territory in the western bay might get a few more visits than normal this week, purely due to the prevailing weather. The Burrum 8 Mile and other grounds in the region, along with well known reefs up closer to Bundy host a few quality snapper and their smaller brethren. Morning sessions will likely be favoured in lieu of the typically more productive evening sessions – again, due to the weather.
There will be plenty of knobbies out there to target after the 15th, just like this one Brandon released recently
Snapper will be on offer inshore, in the northern bay, and offshore after the 15th. Platypus Bay will be worth a look
Reef fishing will likely take a back seat to other pursuits locally this week, however, the opportunity to do the miles up the Bruce and launch from ports to our north is a sound one. Check out the latest from BOM etc and you will see better weather to our north. Basically, the further north you venture, the better the weather. 1770 and Turkey Beach will be popular launch sites. The Bunker and Capricorn Group will enjoy vastly better weather than the bay, whilst offshore of Yeppoon looks even better again.
No matter where you head out wide in the near future, be extra wary of humpback whales. Their numbers better the 30,000 mark these days and many of these majestic creatures will stop over in the bay in coming months. They have been prolific offshore recently, but from now on, Platypus Bay and the wider bay in general will be their playground. We get a few well inshore each season too, so be vigilant anywhere you go.
Just because the water is deep doesn't mean you need extra heavy jigheads for snapper. Kyle tempted this beauty pre-closure with a slow-sinking presentation
Dane with a thumper snapper he caught pre-closure. Make the most of better weather and you can catch fish like this too (from Wednesday onwards)
Look for Mackerel in the Western Bay
Early starts will be the order of the day for keen mackerel fishos hitting the bay in coming days. Sticking to the western bay and sussing out known mackerel grounds off the Burrum, Toogoom or Woodgate in close, or wider grounds for those with the vessels to handle the slop, should see you coming home with a good feed.
There is a lot of barely legal schoolies in those waters at present, and they are highly mobile. The baitfish (herring and yakkas) are in lesser numbers that they might normally be, and they too are very mobile. It has been a matter of “here one day and gone the next” for those that bashed through the chop earlier this week, so don’t waste your time in waters devoid of baitfish and keep searching. Find the herring etc and you will find the mackerel.
There has been a few random golden trevally following the bait schools around too, so you might get a bit more fight that you expected on your light schoolie gear. The sharks haven’t been too bad thankfully, though there is bound to be still the odd XOS cod or groper lurking around spots such as the Burrum 8 Mile or Fairway if the schoolies linger there.
The pelagics might get a spell out in the bay this week, but there will be plenty of trevally awaiting you and your jigs the next time you get out wide. Plenty of fun can be had off Wathumba, Rooneys and out at the Gutters jigging trevors this time of year. Many species of many sizes can be encountered, adding that extra excitement and a little challenge for the kids.
You can mix it up when the fish are on. Dane with a victim of the 5in Bait Junkie in Pink Glow caught before the season closed
This Warm Spell is Good News for Estuary Fishos
Want to catch a winter-time salty barra? If so, then here is your chance. The north wind, warmer days and nights, and building tides will all combine to improve your chances dramatically this weekend. Many will favour the Burrum River system for obvious reasons, whilst others will try their luck in the Mary or the straits. There should be some ripper fish caught too, by many means, so long as you time your efforts to tempt these sometimes-lazy critters when the tide is right.
Our local mangrove jack population has ben enjoying this exceptionally warm winter just as much as we have. The Burrum has given up a few on lures recently, and even more on baits. A spike in the heat and the wind direction this week is likely to see some of the best unseasonal jack fishing you might imagine. You can mix it up with the other river residents whilst you look for jack too, with plenty of variety on offer right now.
Jacko picked up a nice little jack in the Burrum last week. Expect a good out-of-season bite from the jacks this week again
This ripper threadfin salmon fell victim to the new Crush City 'Heavy Hitter'. This softy will become a must-have for all serious estuary fishos
Threadies are typically an easier option in the Burrum system in coming weeks than they are at any other time of year. It is hardly the same big numbers game, or the same mammoth fish of the Mary, but quality threadies can be found with enough effort (and local knowledge – or a good sounder). A few blues also frequent the rivers up that way too, tending to be quite mobile as they wander the mid reaches.
There is currently quite a bit of bait in the Burrum. This is an positive and quite notable, as in many recent years, there has been stuff all. Right now, herring are quite prolific in stretches, and reasonable prawns can be seen flicking along muddy banks, or spooking from your lures. Enough prawns to get excited about and warrant a serious session with the cast net? Maybe, maybe not. But don’t head up there without one!
Hot on the heels of many herring schools in the Burrum is packs of hungry tailor. These things are an absolute pest to many of us and worth avoiding at all costs, whilst others will rejoice in their presence and happily knock a few off for a feed. Word is that the tailor are averaging around the 40-50cm mark, so a feed is on offer if you are keen.
Some might troll the lower reaches, whilst others might spin with metals or dance stickbaits across their path. Others too, will opt to sit at anchor in likely passageways and berley whilst soaking pillies, herring or hardy heads out the back on sets of gang hooks. Like always, focus your attention where the baitfish are accumulated, or better still, nervous, and you will be rewarded.
Heading further upstream, you can add more flatties to your existing tally from the lower reaches by working the fringes of likely banks and muddy verges where the prawns are found. There are also quality grunter on offer within that system these days too, so soak baits of yabby, prawn or herring, or hop small plastics over likely terrain and you could be eating very well that night.
Whiting fans will likely be out and about as the new moon draws nearer. The Burrum is home to some very large models bettering the 40cm mark that make up for the smaller numbers than can often be caught elsewhere. Northerlies and strong westerlies will see a change in their behaviour as the wave action in some stretches of river add some “colour” to the water and they become more than just a night time target.
The proof's in the pudding. Mick Horne had a hand in designing the Crush City 'Heavy Hitter'. Aptly-named when you consider the species it will tempt
Rapala's new Crush City 4in Heavy Hitter is a hit with the jewies and every other large predator in the river
Flats Fishery Still Demands Attention
Just as the whiting come on the chew within our local streams closer to the new moon, so too will the same fish wandering the flats of the southern bay and the Great Sandy Straits. Night sessions have been most productive up until now (and still will be weather permitting), but this spell of northerly weather is a bit of a gamechanger.
Daytime sessions over the bigger tides should prove more productive in the near future, purely due to the turbulence created by the impending winds and the murkier waters such winds create in the shallows of the southern bay and straits. The Booral Flats, the areas east of River Heads, and the flats from there south will join Fraser’s western flats as home to many schools of whiting.
Dislodged weed can be a real nuisance in some waters, particularly after a stronger blow. Such algal “weed” is dislodged from rocks and gravel where it thrives in the clear waters of winter, and breaks away annually to frustrate many a local fisho. When it is bad, your bait and sinker etc will quickly become shrouded in weed and rendered useless. Lure fishing in such waters is a joke. Be prepared to move on and find better water, as the weed won’t be everywhere.
Bream fishing on the flats will still be an option for those seeking shelter from the wind down the straits. There are huge numbers in some areas, but there won’t be for much longer. A session chasing bream around the River Heads area, particularly over at South Head would have merit.
Flatties will get a spell this week in many exposed waters, but will become a major target within the rivers and creeks. The larger draining tides closer to the new moon will see them aggregate at many ambush points where water and prey must retreat from the flats, but in the meantime, any rocky or gravelly features are bound to host a few.
The blue salmon fishery is set to peak in coming weeks, as schooled-up blues gather on the flats. These tremendous sports fish are often overlooked in favour of their cooler cousins and other neighbours, but rest assured, they offer plenty of challenges for anyone keen to throw lures at them on light tackle. The season’s biggest blues are likely to be encountered over the coming month, and many of the very largest fish will leave some fishos wishing they had brought heavier tackle and leaders.
The same gear you might pursue our big flats queenies with is right up to the task when it comes to subduing large blue salmon. Scoring both species on a day out is quite common, so long as you are mobile. Metre beater queenies are common enough right now to warrant some effort with topwater, spin or fly. They will revel in the filthy weather, even if you and your crew don’t.
The Crush City 'Creeper' slayed the bream during testing. Get some and get into the best of the last of this year's bream season
You simply won't be able to keep the flatties away from the new Crush City 'Imposter'. It is prime flatty time right now, so get some and get into 'em
Urangan Pier Fishery is Ever-Changing
You get reports of minimal action from despondent fishos one day, and the next day a spot comes alive. That was the case with the Urangan Pier last week. Word of a few mack tuna and bream and the odd passing mackerel or undersized tailor turned into a mackerel bonanza and fish galore last weekend.
There were 20 mackerel a day being caught from the first channel for a couple of days, whilst schools of bonito made brief visits replicating the antics of their bigger cousins, the mack tuna, out the end. A random longtail or two came within casting distance of the end of the pier, but we are unaware of any actual captures.
Over the subsequent days there was even the odd golden trevally caught, along with a rather unseasonal grunter. A few bream fans have continued to seek their quarry amongst the pylons out the end, and will likely do so until their numbers taper right off soon. Apparently, a couple of decent squid made the fatal mistake of showing up, proving once again that you go nowhere around here without at least one squid jig amongst your arsenal this time of year.
Young Mason Armstrong with a mack tuna he caught from the pier recently. Well done young fella
Chris picked up this beaut grunter from the Urangan Pier recently. Unseasonal perhaps, but a great bonus all the same
Landlubbers – Get Your Whiting Gear Ready
This weather pattern that we’ve been ranting on about this week is set to change the local land-based fishery very shortly. Remember how we suggest targeting whiting after dark in the clear waters of winter as they aren’t silly enough to expose themselves and also lack real foraging opportunities in such clear waters in daylight? Well, that is all set to change.
Wave action caused by the north wind pumping onto our north-facing town beaches will soon see schools of quality “summer” whiting turning up in droves. Monitor the effect of said wave action this week, and you might be one of the first on the scene when the whiting arrive. Exactly when that will be is yet to be determined, but you will hear about it here after the fact.
The stretch of beach fronting Torquay and Urangan is where the majority of the action typically occurs. The pipes, the groynes, and sandy stretches of beach all draw hopefuls when the whiting are on, though many favour the planks of the Urangan Pier and line up along the beach end seeking their ‘ting day and night. Something to look forward to there in the very near future.
Amanda with an example of the great-eating sized squire we can expect in coming weeks
HBAFC’s Junior Whiting Fishing Comp is on Again
Hervey bay Amateur Fishing Club’s annual Junior Whiting Fishing Competition is on Sunday week, the 20th August. It will be held at the beach behind Pialba’s Wetside waterpark. Timed well to take advantage of the abovementioned initial whiting run, this event is a real hit with the kids and their parents alike.
Entry is free, and there are stacks of cool prizes for the kids to win. There were around 80 kids involved last year, and this year is set to bigger and better again. See the flyer hereabouts for details and get on down there and join the fun. The kids will learn plenty (as might some parents) and a good time is guaranteed.
Grab the kids and get along to the HBAFC's Junior Whiting Fishing Comp Sunday week. Fun times for the whole family
The Tailor are On the Chew Over on Fraser
Many tailor fans are already amongst the action over on Fraser Island, and many more are heading over soon. Whilst some have set up camp in places and caught stuff all for minimal effort, others have wandered the beaches, found the fish and scored decent numbers of choppers.
The option is still there to chase tarwhine in any gutters containing rocks, and these fish have now been joined by schools of bream. The odd flathead still lurks in the rocky gutters or at the exit points of some low tide gutters. Whiting will again reach peak activity over the new moon, but their numbers are declining along many stretches. We’re not sure how the dart are going, but will let you know when we hear.
Word from a local truck driver over there is that beach travel is a bit “average” this week. The truckies are never keen on a lumpy beach, but tailor fans might be. Those lumps are the makings of high tide gutters that many tailor fishos will be hoping will be holding schools of tailor come high tides on dawn or dusk.
There are a few washouts to be wary of too, but not many. Sadly, we can confirm that there is a degree of weed gathered in a few gutters between Poyungan and Happy Valley. The weed is still fairly patchy though and there are fishos pulling tailor nearby. The beach is clear of weed to the south and clear north of the Maheno.
This week’s north-westerly winds are bound to alter the beach scene somewhat. Hopefully, it will help to push any weed back offshore, whilst drawing in baitfish and tailor in hot pursuit. Some of our regulars are over their right now, so we will have updates for you this time next week.
Big snapper will be highly sought after in weeks to come. They are well scattered across the bay right now
Rapala’s New Crush City Soft Plastics are Sure to Impress
The annual AFTA Trade Show was run last week and you can rest assured that there will be many new and exciting products brought to you in-store as soon as they are available. Pre-empting the official release, we already are fully stocked with the fantastic new range of soft plastics from Rapala.
Never a company to do anything by halves, Rapala have a dead-set champion offering in the hotly-contested soft plastic arena that is already rushing out the door. They call the range “Crush City” and have masterfully designed and produced some of the most impressive plastics we’ve seen.
There will be many options in the Crush City range that will appeal to all inshore fishos. Be it snapper, trevally, queenies, whiting, bream, flatties, grunter, jacks, barra or salmon - these exciting new plastics have all the bases covered. They are super tough too, and great value for money.
We will let the pictures hereabouts do the rest of the talking, and see you in-store when you drop in for your share.
Good luck out there y’all …… Jase
Effectively a grub with swimming legs, the new Crush City 'Creeper' will be too tempting for many inshore and estuary species
'The Imposter' from the new Rapala Crush City range is an absolute winner. An incredible yabbie or prawn imitation that will not be ignored
We are fully stocked with every model of the new Crush City plastics, in all the best colours. Get in and get your favourites before they disappear