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Fisho’s Weekly Fishing Report – 20th October, 2023

Amanda Knight had a great trip last weekend. She caught 3 metre beaters and this was the smallest. Well done Amanda.


Standard Spring Weather Pattern Prevails


Recent weather patterns have been reminiscent of the standard fluctuations between trade winds and northerlies that we should enjoy each spring (yet storm-free so far). The north wind becomes more dominant and the trade winds briefer, as we will observe once again this week.

The onshore trade wind is easing today, but not before one last blast this afternoon. That 15-20 knot south-easter will ease dramatically overnight, leaving us with light winds for much of the weekend. A light onshore breeze of barely 10 knots is forecast for Saturday. A subtle north-easterly sea breeze will spring up late in the day, that heralds the beginning of a sustained spell of northerlies.

Get out early Sunday if heading for exposed waters, as up to 20 knots of northerly is expected by late afternoon. Northerlies of one form or another are going to dominate the whole working week, averaging 10-15 knots during the day and peaking around the 20-knot mark at nightfall. Another brisk south-east change is anticipated next Friday. It will be mostly sunny and quite warm, with minimal if any chance of rain. Perfect spring weather really.

Those with larger vessels might note that conditions offshore will be vastly improved on those inshore in the bay. As air travels from cool to warm, the north-east wind gains its strength from the cooler sea air being drawn in over the warming land mass (the opposite to winter). Get out wide enough to negate the effect of the warmer land and the north breeze is substantially lighter. 

You will see an example of this next week, with 10 knots offshore and closer to 20 knots inshore. The only problem is, you’ve got to get out there through all those waves inshore, to enjoy the better conditions out wide. Timing is everything in this event, so early starts belting your way up the bay can see you rewarded in better conditions offshore thereafter, but you will still have to time your assault.

The moon is waxing (getting bigger and brighter each day/night), and we will pass through the first quarter phase this Sunday. This means neap tides once again, and minimal tidal flow. Given the limited opportunities for most boaties to head for exposed waters (apart from during the weekend), the estuaries and lakes will be popular again this week.

Prawn imitations will fool grunter better than most presentations. Jacko has no trouble getting a feed when needed.

This young lass was stoked with a beaut grunter she caught earlier this month. Quality fish abound if you wish to seek them out.

The new range of TT Switch Prawns, Switch Blades and Quake Power Vibes is set to impress not only fishos but the fish as well.

 

Best Game Fishing is Offshore

 

Since last report, there has been some sensational marlin caught by experienced game fishing crews offshore of Fraser Island and Breaksea Spit. Word of a huge black marlin caught and released that was estimated to be 700-800lbs spread quickly along the grapevine, as did stories of solid blues rising to trolled lures with some regularity.

The heavy tackle action has been focussed over and along the continental shelf from about the 4 Mile to Waddy Point, but there is bound to be fish to the north thereof as well. There has been plenty of small blacks in closer offshore as well, entertaining crews on lighter tackle during the morning periods. Come afternoon, and tradition sees the game boats heading wide for the big fish bite.

Bycatch in the northern stretch has been mostly a few mahi mahi, whilst whispers of large yellowfin out really wide further south are doing the rounds. The EAC will likely strengthen in pace next week as the north wind dominates, bringing down more bait and pelagic predators into the main stream funnelling down wide of the island. The new moon period lived up to expectations offshore for the crews that made the effort, so it will be interesting to hear how they go this week.

A 700lb+ black marlin caught by the crew on Little Audrey wide of Fraser last week. An awesome fish, yet just a sample of what swims out there.

Blue marlin are considered the toughest of the billfish in the fight department. They are out there right now, so go get some.

The baby black marlin scene inside Hervey Bay is a lot more hit and miss. Still, the brief spell of decent weather before this latest blow did see reasonable numbers of fish turn up around Rooneys Point. Unfortunately for some, sightings and raised fish out-numbered fish caught by a fair margin.

Many will take the opportunity to head for the northern bay this weekend chasing marlin. Conditions are fantastic Saturday, but a bit challenging for smaller vessels Sunday. Neap tides and less tidal flow will play a part in marlin movements, so be prepared to head for Rooneys itself, or beyond, where currents are stronger than back in Platypus Bay.

Some seasons it is worth deploying your spread as far south as Arch Cliffs, but this season so far suggests traveling further north is advisable. Always remember though, that marlin are highly nomadic and can travel vast distances in relatively short periods. If the water quality is sound, then the baitfish will amass and this will draw the marlin and other predators.

Observations from the past week suggest there are increasing numbers of bonito in the bay in the 1-2 kilo range. Perfect fodder for a larger juvenile black. Keep a look out for garfish and flying fish taking to the air as you travel and investigate any significant surface commotions or diving birds. Little blacks are supposedly very inquisitive and drawn to all manner of potential feasts.

Spread set and the waiting game begins. Game fishing can be a mix of lengthy periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer chaos.

Tom with a nice little dolly, or mahi mahi, taken as bycatch whilst targeting marlin offshore last week.

 

Reef Fishing in the Northern Bay

 

Word from Bobby from Hot Reels Charters was that there were plenty of reef fish amassed over prime reef country preceding the recent Coral Reef Fin Fish Closure. These same fish were very hard to tempt, as are any pre-spawn fish with one thing on their mind. Any tempted, soon displayed their intentions, or should that be ‘sprayed their intentions’ (milt) over the unsuspecting angler hauling them aboard.

Post-spawn now and these same fish should be hungry and keen to rebuild their energy reserves in readiness for the next new moon spawning period. Go find some if you can, Saturday being the day to do so out wide. The usual candidates should be hot to trot, being coral tout, cod, sweeties, tuskies, scarlets and if you are lucky, reds. 

An evening session out wide Saturday night might appeal to some, but likely only those that can handle that 10-15 knots of sea breeze that can make a small vessel feel even smaller out there. Locals don’t typically bother in a northerly. 

However, nocturnal sessions are likely to produce a few squire and perhaps even a snapper or two. The tides are hardly exciting for experienced snapper fishos, but darkness and a setting moon can do wonders. Scarlets would be a special for those that know how to find them, and cranky big reef jacks a bonus, but otherwise it will be the usual fringe dwellers such as sweeties, spangos and perch that will keep those keen enough busy.

Cobia are still roaming the bay, turning up wherever there is a substantial food source. They will depart our waters very soon, and are already making their presence felt further south. One bonus of the restrictive weather of late is that the noahs won’t be as focussed on commonly fished reefs as they will be when boat traffic increases. Our “amnesty period” is coming to a close, sharks-wise, so expect encounters as summer approaches and make the most of the opportunities that arise beforehand.

Tuskies always look good in happy snaps. Hot Reels Charters puts clients onto these tasty critters regularly.

Deep dropping can result in a few varieties of cod, none better eating than comet cod. Declan hauled this one up a fortnight ago.

 

Quality Exceeds Quantity on the Mackerel Front

 

There is a good feed of school mackerel on offer out in the bay. They are widespread, but certainly not everywhere. The average size of the current run of schoolies is very good at least, so when you do find some, a feed is assured.

As always, find the bait to find the mackerel. Larger herring are the mainstay of many of the inshore reefs from the banks up to the central bay. Yakkas are still present also, but their numbers are gradually dwindling in many areas. Platypus Bay reefs are hosting schools of mackerel of late, as are many of the isolated reefs within the central bay. Closer inshore, any gravelly patches are worth a look, as are the more prominent artificial reefs.

This time next month we will be suggesting you keep an eye out for the first of the annual spotted mackerel run. Until then, it is schoolies, the odd spaniard and perhaps a few quality broadies if you can track them down. There has been enough close inshore recently to suggest a troll might suit some mackerel fans.

Beacon-bashing isn’t always productive, and largely depends on baitfish amassing around those structures consistently to draw the usual predators. Someone suggested there is tailor galore at the Fairway at present. Probably more nuisance value than real targets, but bound to be fun for the kids if they hang around.

Sound out some trevally over the wrecks and artis or over bait-laden reefs, and jig some lures for a bit of fun if you wish. Apparently, there are still schools of goldies inshore and mixed schools up the island. You might even trip over a few snapper or squire in the process, or favour time spent chasing them and avoiding the trevors altogether. We won’t see too many snapper inshore after this month at all, so if you are keen, then pursue them on the approach of the next full moon (weather permitting).

You can try jigging the usual trout lollies over deeper reefs inshore and might score them amongst the cod bycatch. Live baiting being the other alternative for those willing to procure livies. Catching pike inshore will soon be a thing of the past as they disappear this time of year. Those in the know will still collect small numbers with enough effort, but it will be challenging. Alternative live baits will have to suffice, being herring or yakkas jigged up over the reefs or what you can catch in a cast net in the shallows.

There isn’t enough tidal flow to excite any of the experienced shallow reef trollers, but many will take their lures for a wander all the same. The first of the grassy sweetlip schools are due to return to our inshore shallows very soon. It may be that they will hitch a ride with the making tides preceding the next full moon. Send baits back along the fringes of our shallow reefs such as at Gatakers or at Woody Island and they will let you know if they are back.

Spaniards are still possible from the northern bay. Warming waters will see some move closer inshore too. This one was caught by a Hot Reels Charter client.

Hot Reels clients catch trevally quite regularly. Larger goldies such as this are easy as if the sharks aren't about.

 

Fishing Our Beaches in the Northerlies

 

Whiting fans will have to wait until the full moon draws nearer for their next fix, although they might get an early shot along our beaches if the north wind stirs up the shallow verges whilst whiting schools are in the vicinity. By mid-week, the northerly should have our town beach waters churned up nicely, and any lull in the breeze will offer a shore-based fisho a crack at the whiting.

Our late August- September prime whiting season was a dud, but catches reported around the new moon a week ago were vastly more encouraging. Pump some yabbies and have a crack when the time is right and see how you go. Try the beach end of the pier throughout the latter part of the flood tide if the beach scene is too rough. You won’t have to go at night this time of year. The daytime bite can be just as good.

Heading out of town proper has been productive for many whiting fishos of late. Toogoom beach and Beelbi Creek have fed many families. There has been whiting riding the flood tides over the flats from Eli to Dundowran, offering prime topwater opportunities for those lucky enough to be there when the tides and weather are favourable.

The Urangan Pier fished okay for a few regulars and visitors occasionally over the past fortnight. School mackerel arrived, then vacated, then returned once again. Broadies also made an appearance apparently, and there was even a large barracuda caught. Consistency has been lacking, but the action has been peaking whenever the mackerel turn it on.

Calypso Charters can brag about yet another bait-caught bonefish from inshore Hervey Bay waters. Joel, was quite chuffed, as anyone would be.

A sensational photo of a quality flatty on TT's new Switch Prawn blade. We are fully stocked if you wish to put some to the test.

Jacko scored this lean salty a couple of weeks ago. Totally different profile to the chunky dam barra.

 

Fraser Island Surf Beaches Messed Up

 

The surf fishing scene over on Fraser Island is very challenging at the moment. Big seas, whipped up by strong trade winds recently, have shifted a lot of sand and created washouts in places, making beach travel a little precarious as well. The beach is quite lumpy again, and not nearly as wide as it has been recently, so give yourself extra time to travel. Extra care should be taken when traversing the southern extremities too, with washouts down that way some of the worst.

It was great to see island regulars scoring quality tailor a week ago. Fish in the 55-60cm size range made up for their lesser numbers. Waiting 10 minutes for a bite from a big tailor is quite welcome, versus catching small fish one after the other as soon as your bait hits the water – for some of us at least anyway.

The dreaded weed has been an intermittent nuisance along Fraser’s surf beaches over the past fortnight. It comes and it goes with the varying winds, yet continues to linger in the “second gutter”, poised to return once the wind blows it back onshore. Those spending a week on the island have been lucky to have days weed-free to fish, or the opportunity to travel beyond the infestations. Short stayers may not all been so lucky.

Here’s hoping the weed stays out wide and the beach conditions improve. We are heading into that late period of the tailor season that so often sees the arrival of the biggest and best greenbacks the island will see. Some regulars time visits over the coming peak moon periods just to mix it with Fraser’s best tailor. Time will tell how they fare this year.

Pyrographic art master,Tony Gaunt, picked up quality tailor to 60cm along the southern stretch of Fraser last week. Nicely framed shot Tony.

Being rigged and ready to go reaps rewards, as Jacko proved when the queenies busted up nearby recently.

 

Lake Monduran Family Fishing Classic

 

Our compadres at Tackle World Bundy are the major sponsors of the annual Lake Monduran Family Fishing Classic. It is being held this weekend, the 21st and 22nd October. This very popular event is well-patronised and the already hectic scene on and around the waters of Mondy will go next level.

If you are keen, then sign up and enter the comp for a chance at winning cash prizes for the best barra, bass or various catfish-based prizes. You can find the details and more about the event via good old Google, or via social media.

Heading for Mondy whilst this event is on will not appeal to the casual non-competing barra fisho at all however. The limited ramp facilities are already overwhelmed with the amount of traffic on the lake of late, so you can well imagine the scene with hundreds of entrants keen to hit the water. Best you consider staying clear for your own sanity, and for the betterment of those in the comp.

The barra have been on the chew of late, and the weather is perfect this weekend. The comp results should reflect this, and it will be interesting to see how many hundred (dare I say thousand) barra will be caught. The comp organisers have been unlucky many times in the past and copped bad weather all too often. No such issue this year, so expectations are very high.

Jacko's 113cm PB barra was caught at Mondy at 1am - and plenty of people's phones went ballistic, even at that hour. He was a little excited!

Kyle got away for a freshwater fix and scored a couple of fine Mondy barra.

A continuation of northerly wind after the comp, with sunny skies and peaking heat will certainly see the big Mondy barra smashing lures once again. The weather might not hold out for the full moon, but that won’t bother many folks. The ramps will be chaos and the parking overflowing once again.

Take your swimbaits, take your big paddle-tailed softies, pack plenty of suspending hardbodies, and if you reckon you are up to it, tie on a popper, fizzer or sticky for the evening sesh. Mondy barra are climbing all over lures of all kinds, large and small these days. You don’t need to be anything flash in the fishing department either – just look at you tube – if you don’t have the confidence to fish hardbodies or topwater, then stick to the simple art of slow rolling Molix Shads, Berkley Shimma Shads or Squidgy Slick Rigs.

Whatever you do, with whatever lures you tie on, get the finer details down pat. Fine tune your softies so that they swim straight and they don’t lean over. Learn when to slow roll, and when to pick up the pace. The changing moods of the barra will dictate whether you should twitch erratically or be subtle with extended pauses when using hardbodies. Watch your sounder. Don’t just see the fish – see what they are doing. Monitor the bait, and question why you are there if you are not catching fish.

Being prepared to fish at night will improve your odds dramatically. You don’t even need to be way off in the far flung reaches of the lake either. Barra bite voraciously as darkness approaches and thereafter. Waters deemed unfit during the daylight can come alive at night. Accuracy becomes irrelevant during the evening too, as the fish will find your lure and not visa versa. You just need to keep it out of the trees/weed etc.

Please drive appropriately at night on our lakes too. Regular impoundment fishos have fixed spotlights on their boats. Others have the hand-held variety. When another vessel is approaching, youmust turn off your spotlight. We all rely on nav lights to understand the movements of other vessels at night. Simply slow down if you are not confident to continue on without the spotty. It’s kind of like passing another car on the highway. Drop to low beam on the highway or no beam on the water. Flick it back on after you pass.

It is ridiculous how many boat drivers leave their spotlight on when approaching other boats on our lakes these days (somewhat akin to leaving high beam on whilst passing on the highway, but worse). It is dangerous and also totally illegal! Why do you think boats don’t have headlights like cars. This little subject became personal at Mondy last Saturday night, when two, not just one, flash big boats both refused to douse their lights on approach. Even when “given a red light” they still thought it appropriate to pass on the starboard side, green on green. Struth!

Brett's 99cm Mondy barra is an example of the 'average' fish in the lake at the moment.

 

Callide Barra Average a Metre

 

One option to avoid the congestion at Monduran is to spend another 2.5 hours in the car and head out to Lake Callide at Biloela. At just under 19% capacity right now, Callide is low, and a tad off colour, but is once again fishing quite well.

Barra are being caught, both trolling and casting, and the average size is quite impressive. A small fish is 90cm, whilst most caught are typically from there to 110cm. Much larger fish also share its waters, some with girths that would blow your mind (and stuff your back too if you have to hoist them aloft). The very same lures you might use on Mondy or Awoonga will catch Callide barra, though some regulars favour soft swimbaits over all others.

Weed took hold in Callide a year or two ago (likely transferred via trailers of fishos visiting after pulling out of other lakes). It was starting to restrict shore access around Callide, (which is unique in that you can fish from so much of its shoreline without a boat). However, mother nature intervened once again, dropping the water level at the same time that the resident red claw went to town on the weed, stripping it bear in most areas.

You can now once again fish much of its shoreline on foot, parking nearby and going for a wander. Applying the same principles as boaties do and fishing wind-blown shores, points and bays, with a few rocky outcrops thrown in, often sees shore-based fishos mixing it with horse fish they then need to wrangle ashore.

A classic shot of a 121cm Callide beast trolled up by Paul back in Feb 2022. Foreground fish look oversized to reality, but very cool all the same..

Callide’s yellowbelly population is very abundant, fat and often ravenous. Known to take a swipe at a barra lure at times, they are far better targeted with small vibes, or with bait. Serious numbers can be caught in a session when the yellas are on. Red claw fans are catching a feed at present, but no large numbers.

Right now, there is a smoke issue at the lake. Nearby fires are impacting air quality, so anyone prone to respiratory issues might want to seek local advice before visiting. Lake Callide Retreat is a great little van park adjacent to the lake that normally has cabins and plenty of powered and unpowered sites. However, miners from the nearby mine have all cabins booked until at least early November. There are limited powered sites available, but quite a few unpowered.

The local fish stocking association runs its annual fishing competition the week after Monduran’s. Saturday-Sunday 28th and 29th October are the dates. So, if you are keen to join the fun and festivities and pit yourself against the locals, then book ahead and get on out there. You can look up the comp details via Callide Valley Native Fish Stocking Association on social media.

You can drop in and try your luck at Awoonga whilst on the road if you have the time. It is 1.5 hours back from Callide, or 3.5 hours from here. Results over the past week have been mixed. Some have failed to tempt a barra for some reason. At the same time, one crew alone managed 11 quality fish for an overnighter.

The week ahead will be telling for Awoonga. Perfect weather preceding the full moon in October – a recipe for success if ever there was one.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

We have just installed a more extensive range of all the popular Garmins so you can have a play before you buy. Remember that we match online prices too.

A nice bass on TT's new Switch Prawn. A versatile lure for so many fish species.

The new range of TT Switch Prawns, Switch Blades and Quake Power Vibes is set to impress not only fishos but the fish as well.



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