New snacks on sale now for a limited time! Use code NEW for 15% off.

Fisho’s Weekly Fishing Report – 15th September, 2023

Adrian Knight's 106cm Mondy barra caught on a Molix Shad is a great fish, but not good enough to shut his son Caleb up, who caught a 107 same trip.


Trade Winds Hamper Recent Fishing Efforts

The south-easterly trade wind has impacted our part of the world all week, and continues to prevail. Fishing opportunities have certainly been limited, and it has been rather chilly too. A few nuisance-value showers crossed our coast a few days ago, but the days ahead should be dry. 

Today’s 20 knot south-easter is likely to maintain similar strength into Saturday. Winds should be a tad lighter early, but still around the 15-knot mark. Wind-against-tide scenarios will mean rougher seas during those times, ie; early in the morning. Crossing the bay in a 15 knot southerly mid flood tide could indeed be rougher than 20 knots later when the tide is lower and the wind and tide aren’t opposing. Keep this in mind perhaps.

Sunday is a much better day for boaties. 10-15 knots of south-easter is much more bearable, and offers very reasonable conditions in the eastern bay. Further improvements Monday and Tuesday will have those not working those days cheering, as they enjoy the lighter easterlies of barely 10 knots whilst other slug it out at work.

Come mid-week, the wind will start to tend more northerly as the standard springtime cycle continues and the next trough approaches from the west. A sustained spell of northerlies doesn’t look likely at this stage, given the fast approach of the next high tracking south of the continent. 

Today’s new moon heralds the start of yet another cycle. As the waxing moon gets slightly fatter and rises that bit later each day, tidal flow will diminish. The tides immediately after a new moon offer some of the best potential bite periods of the whole month for a host of species though, so make the most of the less-than-ideal weather if you get the opportunity – the fish should be on the chew!

Caleb Knight scored a PB 107cm Mondy barra last weekend. Daiwa's dynamite Steez Current Master did the damage once again. Well done son.
Kyle with a topwater-crunching GT from east of Breaksea Spit recently. Get out there when the weather improves and this can be you.


Join the Fun at the 7th Annual Woodgate Beach Hotel Fishing Classic

The Woodgate Beach Hotel Fishing Classic kicks off today and runs right through this weekend. This increasingly popular event is very much family orientated, yet caters well for the serious competition fisho as well. With in excess of $100,000 in prizes up for grabs, there will be plenty of competition amongst local and visiting fishos during this event.

Some of the best fish might get caught at the bar, but for those that actually enter the comp to hit the water, there is a swag of quality prizes you can vie for. Fisho’s Tackle World is a major sponsor, and we have worked closely with the crew from the Woodgate Hotel to offer you bigger and better prizes each year. This year there will be tremendous Shimano rod and reel prizes on offer across a large suite of eligible species. We also sponsor many other prizes in the event, bringing our involvement to more than $22,000!

Adults can target a long list of bay or estuarine species and will be well-rewarded for the best of each species. You can weigh in whiting, bream, flathead, dart, grunter, cod, mangrove jack, mud crabs, snapper, mackerel, cobia, tuskfish, sweetlip, coral trout or red emperor, and if yours is the best, then up you go to collect your prize at the finale on Sunday. There is also an “other species” prize for the best fish not catered for in the list above.

The kids aren’t left out in any way either, with another long list of specific prize-winning species that includes whiting, bream, flathead, dart, grunter, cod, mackerel and sweetlip, as well as an “other species” category once again. So many fish to target – so many prizes to win!

Heide Byrne was very happy with this chunky Moses Perch. Very common fish over reefy terrain  in the northern bay, and hyperactive at night.

Joel Tanner's young fella is fully stretched just getting this big blackall off the deck. When was the last time you had to stretch to hold a fish aloft.

And yet, that is not all. There is also a “Biggest Cadet Fish” prize of a $250 Fisho’s Tackle World Voucher for the juniors to win. And in addition, there is the “Fisho’s Photo Competition” wherein you could win a $500 Fisho’s Tackle World Voucher if Dane judges your fish photo the best of the comp. To qualify for this prize, you must be wearing some form of merchandise from Fisho’s Tackle World and/or the Woodgate Beach Hotel in the photo and post it online, tagging Fishos and the Hotel.

There will be raffles offering quality prizes, bundles of premium Yeti product in Lucky Door Prizes and much more for you and the family to win. Mossy’s Shimano Reef Science Super Tank will be onsite and there will be cooking demos from renowned celebrity chefs, Dan and Stef. Indeed, there will be more than enough onsite activities to keep you and the kids entertained between fishing trips.

Weather-wise, it certainly isn’t ideal, buy hey, that is an equaliser in its own way. Rough conditions out wide will mean only the keenest crews in the most capable vessels will compete for the “offshore species” and everyone else will have a great chance at competing from the more sheltered inshore waters. The estuary species categories will certainly be hotly contested, and there is bound to be some quality fish brought to the weighmaster from the Burrum system and the local creeks.

Good luck to all competitors. Enjoy what is fast becoming one the very best fishing comps on our coastline. No doubt many will have a fat time regaling their yarns over a cold beverage or two. Dane will be there too, so say g’day and don’t be shy to ask him for some advice on where, when and how you can catch yourself a winner.

Standard fare from the northern bay and the GBR - coral trout on a Samaki Live Shrimp matched to a heavy jighead.

Hot Reels Charter client, Adam, with a nice coral trout from the northern bay. It is nice to be able to get them past the sharks at the moment.

Pier Popular for Pursuing Pelagics

Given that this weekend is the start of the September school holidays, we thought we should share a few tips for the holidaying family fisho. Those without boats are in with a good chance of getting amongst the action without even leaving town this week. The winds that will upset the boaties won’t affect the landlubbers nearly as much, and no doubt there will be a few crews leaving the boat on the trailer during spells of windy weather too.

The Urangan Pier will be a prime destination for many, in particular those looking to tangle with larger pelagic species land-based. If the past week is anything to go by, then there could well be plenty of action on the pier. The making tides this week brought in the school mackerel, some mack tuna and longtail tuna as well. There has even been a couple of (very) early season GTs terrorising the baitfish and lesser mackerel out at the deep end.

Some big flathead have been caught once again this week, and whilst the neaps offered perhaps the better crack at the flatties, there is still every chance that a well-placed live bait will tempt any nearby. There is plenty of baitfish out there, so newcomers should ensure they are armed with appropriate bait jigs so that they can secure the baitfish the predators are there to feast on.

If lighter tackle and smaller fish appeal more to you and the kids, then there is still enough bream lurking between the pylons out towards the deep end to justify some effort. If entertaining the littlies is your thing, then simple sturdy baits of squid, mullet fillet or fowl gut will be all you will need. But if you are keener to tempt any bigger late season bream, then best you secure some herring, and perhaps try evening sessions for best results.

Many family fishos will favour an even easier option (and a much shorter walk), and will target whiting from the beach end of the pier. Larger new moon tides are some of the best for targeting these tasty little critters this time of year. Best times being the last couple of hours of the flood (incoming) tide, and the first hour or so of the ebb (outgoing). Night sessions may well produce better catches, but that may not suit everyone.

Adrian Wheeler has been into the Urangan Pier longtails again this week. Expect a crowd out there over the school holidays.

Brendon Peters was stoked with a quality bream he caught this week. They are headed back to the estuaries, so intercept them if you wish.


Stretch Your Legs Along Our Beaches


As stated last week, our beach and pier whiting run should be well under way and really firing right now. For some reason however, the fish just haven’t arrived in big numbers as yet, and the average size is smaller than expected. A modest feed is still very possible; you will just have to sift through the smaller throwbacks. The beaches of Torquay and Urangan are typically alive with whiting fishos catching their share at this time, so here’s hoping the schools start to amass this weekend.

Whilst whiting will be the main target species on our town beaches, there is always the chance of a few stray flathead around rocky structure dotted along the beach. When the tide is right out, you will notice just how close the inner edges of Torquay and Scarness reefs are to the beach – well within casting distance of anyone seeking a flathead or some bream. Small dart also wander the beachscape swiping yabbies and worms meant for whiting – much to the delight of the smaller kids.

It would be of no surprise to hear of a few quality grunter being caught from the Pialba end of the beach, and even back down at Urangan after dark. Anyone keen to actively target these tasty and sporty strays from our estuaries need only hop small soft plastics (or soak prawns or a bunch of yabbies) in the subtle beach gutters or adjacent to the rocky shores of Pialba. Early in the flood tide is often best, and even better when such a time and tide coincides with dusk (ie; in coming days).

The bigger kids might want to tangle with our local shark population, and they can do so from virtually any stretch of beach after dark. Small sharks of many species can be encountered, as well as sting rays and shovel-nosed sharks that will certainly pull the stretch out of the kids’ lines. 

When the onshore breeze eases, the Booral Flats will be worth a look for keener fishos that don’t mind getting their feet dirty. Sturdy footwear is a must down there, so that you can wander the mudflats, sticking to the gravelly bits. Whiting and flathead are the main targets, though other fish such as salmon and grunter are possible. Little bull sharks can be a nuisance and will probably have the kids exiting the water quick smart, so keep a good look out.

Our local creeks offer great opportunities for shore-based family fishos to get amongst a range of species. Donning some Bushmans, you can wander the creek banks catching a better class of whiting, or flick lures for the flathead that lurk at likely ambush points. Mangrove jacks are possible for those venturing further upstream, where small estuary cod bycatch is hard to avoid.

You might even get connected to a barramundi if you are lucky (or tuned in) and queenfish are certainly on the cards. Beelbi Creek at Toogoom offers the best options, whilst Eli Creek, O’Regans and even Pulgul are worth a crack at various stages of the tide. It will be busy, and you won’t have the banks to yourself for very long, so be mobile and willing to try alternatives as the tides demand.

Creek queenies are a ton of fun land-based, as Maxwell found out this week.

Wandering the banks of our local creeks can be quite productive. Low tide improves access. Nice flatty Maxwell.


Timing is Everything at River Heads


Wandering the rocky foreshores of the River Heads peninsula is a popular activity for the more serious land-based fisho this time of year. Flicking and twitching, or slow-rolling a number of varying lure types can see you connecting to anything from barra, salmon and jewies to flathead, bream and cod. Just how well you fare will be determined by many factors – timing being the main one. Low tide is prime time for the bigger predators, whilst the latter three are possible at alternative times.

You could also spin for mackerel from the rocks at the heads if you like. Mackerel have been falling victim to gang hooked pillies and live herring recently, and are just as likely to take a swipe at a metal spoon spun at speed. Tailor are a chance too, though undersized fish are just as likely as keepers. This is a higher tide activity in clearer waters, yet the predators will respond to baitfish movements at any time.

Boaties wishing to ply those waters over the new moon tides have many options. A feed of whiting is on offer from within the rivers themselves or out the front. Flathead can be found in the lower reaches of both the Mary and Susan, as can the odd jewfish in the deeper waters.

South Head often gets plenty of attention from budding barra fans this time of year, and bigger tides such as these offer prime opportunities to get amongst them. Bycatch whilst working the rocky outcrops for barra might include anything from cod, small jewies and flatties to pelagics and stray salmon.

Heading further upstream will bring you into the domain of the barra and king salmon that move with the tides up that way. Blue salmon are also possible, and those waters will be home to some of the best grunter on offer at this time.

Steering out of the river and working the mangrove-lined verges at high tide could see you tangling with schools of quality whiting, grunter of all sizes and schools of blue salmon. In years gone by, the sheer size of some of the blues within cooee of the heads at this time of year can leave you wanting in the leader department, so be prepared for such encounters.

Toby with a nice shot of a local flathead he caught recently. They are spawning right now, so best we let the big girls go eh.

Dane with a healthy bream tricked by the flash new Rapala Imposter softy. Look for them as they head back up our rivers.


The Great Sandy Straits Beckons


Venturing further down the Great Sandy Straits is a good choice at this time. The big tides right now are draining the vast flats and making it easier for predators to knock off a feed. The many creeks are flowing clean and looking quite healthy, but how fishy they may be will be determined by the availability of baitfish. Not all areas are flush with bait, so be observant and keep mobile if your first creek selection is a dud.

The main targets are, and always have been, grunter, king salmon, barra and flathead in the mainland creeks, whilst jacks join the fray in Fraser’s western creeks. It is a good time of year to pursue jewfish along the deeper rocky ledges of the straits, or over sunken structure in deeper waters during the tide turns. Cod bycatch can be frustrating, but they are just a part of that scene.

Some folks will favour a sneaky whiting session up on the flats of the straits, whilst others will soak yabbies in their favourite creek with the same targets in mind. Small grunter can be a real nuisance in many stretches of course, so once again, be prepared to move on.

We have had a pathetic squid season here this winter. There has been way more squid in the southern straits than up this end. Too much pressure, a lack of sea grass beds, no baitfish – all bad news on the squid front. Having said this though, it would be a very good idea to make sure you have squid jigs of various sizes on board, just in case you trip over a few whilst wandering the straits. Pencil squid are more likely than tigers, though don’t expect either in any numbers.

If it is mud crabs that you seek, then the straits could be your best bet. The average size of keepers down that way has been good, and it offers seemingly a much better return for effort than the rivers at present.

Small schools of very large queenfish can be found harassing baitfish down the straits, quite often along the fringes of the many channels that dissect the sandflats. They are often spotted whilst traveling, so keep a good lookout when scooting through the shallows. You can throw all manner of topwater lures or softies at them, or even fast-twitch small shallow diving hardbodies to get a reaction. Big queenies in clear water in the shallows can be fussy buggers, so be prepared to mix it up to get the bite. Once you do, hang on for the ride.

It sounds as though there has been a few queenfish and trevally lurking around the bay islands (Woody, Little Woody, Picnic and Duck) just recently too. The current weather will keep most folks away, so Sunday would seem like a good day to go and see if you can track them down. Take the heavy casting tackle for the ride too if you like and see if there is any bigger GTs willing to take a swipe at a stickbait or blooping popper. Low tide will be the go for those activities.

Matty Gray's young lads, Dallas & Roman, with a great haul of solid whiting and muddies they picked up last week. Well done boys!

Matt & his mate with two of Qld's best from offshore. Reds are on the hit list for anyone heading out wide in the near future.


Time to Dust Off the Shallow Reef Trolling Gear


Some folks tend not to even rest their shallow reef trolling tackle out of season these days, so they should enjoy a good workout in coming months. Right now heralds the start of the new season if you like, though even now it is still early days. The tides of the dark of the moon offer some of the best, and weather constraints will restrict access to more exposed waters, so an early morning trolling session would likely appeal to quite a few this weekend.

Of course, coral trout are the main targets, and their desirability as a readily accessible table fish might prove to be their demise. The popularity of this pastime has exploded in recent years, even though we were doing it decades ago when trout numbers were high. Back then the only thing that slowed you down in achieving a quick bag limit of tasty trout was the bigger models constantly busting you off. These days, truly large models in the shallows are a rare beast indeed (like bag limits), though the smaller trout from barely legal to a couple of kilos or so still have many fans.

Be there at dawn and have your deep diving lures finely tuned so that you can gain the maximum speed these otherwise slow-retrieve-designed lures will allow. Speed is a bite trigger to a wary trout. These inquisitive fish can suss out a slow-moving lure and reject it if it appears unnatural, but if passing at speed they must react or miss out and many are fooled into striking. 

Trolling speeds of 4-7 knots are possible with different lures. Faster trolls often mean trout are dragged unceremoniously from their lairs under heavy drag pressure. Slower trolls might still tempt a bite, but a bigger trout then has the chance to steer sideways in a hurry and trash you in the reef. Many will simply plunge for the reef and wedge themselves there though by the way, so reverse back over them and quite often you can extract them when they are spooked by your boat above.

You can target coral trout along the reefy foreshores of Gatakers Bay, Pt Vernon and Pialba when it is too windy to venture elsewhere. Weather permitting, the drop-offs of the reefs fringing the bay islands can be productive, as can the reef flats themselves when the tide is high. Urangan Channel, Fraser’s western ledges and even down the straits; coral trout are more widespread than many might think.

Bycatch can be quite interesting. Cod will snatch slower-moving lures, whilst little stripies, moses perch and pike can be a real nuisance over some patches. Mackerel can be hard to avoid, or worth specifically targeting, depending on your view. Squire and big grunter are cool bycatch at dawn and always make you wonder whether you would catch even more of them pre-dawn in the darkness.

Luke has spent a lot of time trolling the shallow reefs now, and is rarely unsuccessful. This activity will be very popular from now on.

Logan with snapper bycatch caught recently. Longtails are still feeding deep, so if your snapper hits the afterburners, these guys might be the culprit.


Bay Snapper Should Bite Well


The dark of the moon in September is traditionally snapper prime time for many reef systems and general areas of the bay. That cold snap last week wouldn’t have hurt the cause either, reversing the warming trend of weeks before. Once the weather improves enough, certainly by Sunday, many hopefuls will be out chasing snapper, and they should be doing so with a degree of confidence.

Platypus Bay will be the chosen happy hunting grounds for many, and rightly so. Find the bigger bait aggregations up that way and chances are the snapper won’t be far away. Evening sessions will favour the bait fisho (as always), whilst those more attuned to softies and jigs should score well in the daytime. Dawn and dusk will be prime times, as will moon down and moon above.

The 25 Fathom Hole is a potential hotspot for snapper right now. If there are big schools of yakkas there, then the snapper will be there too. Sure enough, the sunken hulk of the HMAS Tobruk very likely draws many fish away from the Fathom Hole these days, but snapper are roaming predators than wander widely following the bait schools and the hole will be on the to-visit list for any larger fish with genetic memory of such.

Make it to the Gutters and snapper are a worthy target, particularly at dawn, dusk or during the evening. Plenty of alternative reef fish are on offer out there too of course, including trout, cod, scarlets, sweeties, tuskies and potentially reds. Trevally and large cobia are just as likely to join the party if you are dropping live baits or jigging lures, so be prepared for anything.

Back inshore, the popular grounds so commonly frequented by those chasing snapper these days have had a rest due to the weather this week. Anywhere from the Burrum 8 Mile to Moon Ledge and all the artificial reefs in between could possibly be hosting quality snapper again now. Once again, it will be first in best dressed, as the popularity of many of these sites soon sees warier older fish spooking and seeking refuge elsewhere when the traffic gets excessive.

Now is the time to get into some snapper before it gets too warm. Fat squire like this one of Dane's are great eating and a ton of fun if the sharks aren't around.

Hot Reels Charters continue to catch spaniards from the northern bay. The bag limit is one per person these days, so their stocks won't be in jeopardy here in the bay.

You won’t have the same issues with the golden trevally that lurk around the same artis and shipwrecks. You just have to be there when they are keen to feed and they are much easier to tempt. Mackerel might be hard to avoid though, so keep an eye on that sounder and avoid those shallow arches if you don’t want to donate too many lures.

Seek out the herring schools on the other hand if you are indeed a mackerel fan and you shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring a feed. School mackerel are definitely not fussy feeders and for that reason alone make for a great target species for the kids. Get them spinning spoons as fast as they can vertically if they are old enough, or get them to hang onto a rod whilst you troll likely grounds if not. They will soon be hooting and hollering as line peels off under light drag behind a schoolie ripping line off at speed.

The mackerel are turning up all over the southern bay at the moment. Urangan Channel, the Bait Grounds, the shipping channel beacons including the Fairway, the rubble grounds of the western bay and many deeper reefs within the shipping channels are all worth a look. They may well even be over in Christie’s Gutter at present, but we cannot confirm that one.

Damo and Lucas with a Hervey Bay pelagic double. Catching spaniards and longtails from bait schools in the bay is not a rarity.

A Fraser Guided Fishing client with a typical Hervey Bay longtail. Tri Ton is a specialist in catching these speedsters, so look him up if keen on a charter.

Loads of new Pakula skirts that just arrived in time for our inshore marlin season.

More flash gear from Pakula, including the fancy new 'No Brainer' hooked teasers on the left. These things will sort out the cheeky little teaser-grabbing blacks.

Prime Time for Fraser Island Tailor Fans

Word from Fraser Island this week has been interesting. Gary Howard, renowned rod builder and all-round beach fishing guru spent a few days over there as the south-easter arrived and had some observations to share.

Gary said there were good high tide gutters south of Indian Head in the No Camping Zone, with good low tide and mid-tide gutters just north of the Maheno. He found the fishing a little challenging when the south-easter really cranked-up but still managed decent school tailor from the shallower low tide gutters and better-quality fish in the high tide gutters.

There were small amounts of weed drifting into many gutters with the last of the northerlies preceding the south-east change, but thankfully the weed was washed back out when the wind changed. The weed was observed from the southern stretch of beach up to the Cathedrals. It was only ever quite minimal and gutters could still be fished. 

There are well-formed gutters of all types along the southern stretch of beach. Tailor and dart have been possible from various areas, though the whiting were scarce down south last week. It was interesting that Gary noticed baitfish scattering out of the way of predators a few times – a similar comment heard from locals returning recently. Apparently, queenfish are sometimes the culprit when the baitfish eruptions are only small – not just tailor as many might assume.

All-in-all Fraser’s tailor season is shaping up quite well. Many have scored bag limits with ease when conditions favoured recently, so the drop in winds and swell will soon see beach fishos back out in force. Fraser will be insanely busy throughout the school holidays, so a little patience, consideration for your fellow drivers, and ensuring you give yourself ample time to make your designated barge should keep the peace and make for a stress-free time on the island.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

Aussie rod builder, Gary Howard, had a good time on Fraser Island last week. He picked up this nice tailor on a GT Ice Cream. We have these lures arriving soon.

This crew certainly scored a big feed of Fraser Island tailor and must have eaten well. It is fair to say that the tailor fishery is not about catch and release.

A great haul of decent sized dart from Fraser Island. They are surprisingly good eating when fresh, and many would suggest far better than tailor.

Night time is big barra time on the stocked impoundments. Dane with what is just an average fish from Mondy these days.

Logan with another average Mondy barra. Happy days when fish of this calibre are only average.


Search our shop