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

Fisho’s Weekly Fishing Report – 31st May, 2024

Cassie with a cool weather threadie. You can catch them all winter if you learn where to look.

Brilliant Weather Next Week

The past week wasn’t overly flash wind-wise, but you couldn’t call it rough either. 15-knot winds on a big tide can tend to exaggerate the sea somewhat, but keen enough fishos made the most of it. As they will this week, with the wind direction swinging from all points of the compass as a rain band passes through, leaving us with the first major cold snap of winter in its wake.

It is supposedly going to rain today, and very likely to be even wetter tomorrow. They call this weather event a “north west rain band” and as it passes over us the winds will tend northerly prior to a complete about-face thereafter. It will be rather crappy out on the bay late today and throughout tomorrow, with rain and 15 knot winds from the north or north-east, and possibly more.

As the change passes by Saturday night, the wind will swing to the south-west and be rather calm initially Sunday. The cold change will be exaggerated Monday as the south-west breeze stiffens to 15 knots, but at least it will be dry and sunny. From Tuesday onwards, the wind drops right out to next to nothing for a few days, so plenty of crews will be sneaking offshore in glassed-out conditions.

As we pass the last quarter moon phase today, our tides will start to ‘make’ again and get a little larger day by day. The moon will continue to wane. The next new moon is in a week’s time, and that period will herald a significant spike in activity from our winter species.

Harry Railz's monster barra on the Fisho's Brag Mat. Big, fat and released in good nick to challenge the next fisho.
If you have ever caught a barra this big, then you will know why Harry looks like he is struggling to hold it up.

A Few More Facts to Consider Regarding the New GSMP Regulations

A week or so on from the introduction of the new regulations for our Great Sandy Marine Park, and it sounds as though people are making the effort to comprehend the changes. Uptake of the new App has been positive. Navigating through the regs, whilst daunting at first, is proving somewhat manageable. Naturally, there are concerns, and frequently asked questions, so here is an attempt to clarify a couple of the latest.

Firstly, the App will only tell you when you enter a ‘zone’ if the App is open. Pretty obvious really, but worth confirming. Do your homework prior to your next fishing trip and familiarise yourself with the new zone boundaries and then the App will only be relied upon to confirm what you already know.

A change of rules within our Go-Slow Zones is a big one to be aware of. The rule used to be that you had to stay below planning speed. That is still the case, but nowadays, your speed must not exceed 6 knots either. So, no longer can you cruise through a go-slow zone at 8-9 knots just off the plane. All those zones - which have dramatically expanded in some cases – now carry an effective 6 knot speed limit. This is to reduce the risk of collision with wildlife.

The Urangan Pier has been excluded from the GSMP, given that it is a designated fishing platform. Its rules come within the Fisheries portfolio and are effectively unchanged. That is, you can still use up to three lines with up to six hooks, even though the surrounding waters are “yellow” and limited to two rods and two hooks. If you are in a boat immediately adjacent to the pier (which you shouldn’t be) then the GSMP Conservation (Yellow) Zone rules apply.

Confusion still reigns regarding the “Notes” that appear when you tap on the centrally-located Info tab within the App. After tapping the tab for our marine park, the “Notes” appear, below four coloured tabs for the various zones. The “Notes” refer to the regulations contained within each of the zones, so you should open the relative zones first, then refer to the “Notes” list of numbered exceptions and so on when reading the zone rules. 

If you don’t, then like so many before you (me included), you will have alarm bells going off when you read such things as “Limited to no more than 2 specimens of the same species ….” or “Taking of bream, flathead or whiting is prohibited”. Open the coloured tabs and read on, and all will become quite clear.

So, hopefully the above clarifies a couple of the latest issues raised. Get the App if you haven’t already done so. Grab a brochure containing the map and other info from our store if you believe that will help. We still have a few. Do yourself a favour and spend some time overlaying the zone data on Google Earth and zooming right in to check out areas you are unsure about. If it helps, start downloading the GPS coordinates pending release of updated mapping from the marine electronics giants in the future. See last week’s report for tips in that regard.

A double on average size local squid. Size 2.5 squid jigs is all that is required to tempt them.
What you want to see when you haul your sand crab pots over the side.
Bag limits of succulent sandies is just a matter of placing your pots in the right parts of the bay, as Muzz did recently.

Latest Action from Urangan Pier

Whilst last week’s tides failed to maintain the rage from the passing pelagics, the making tides this week should see a return in time. Over the past week, there has still been a few school mackerel caught, along with mac tuna. There is still ample baitfish gathered beneath the pier, so pier-goers can look forward to further action again soon.

In the meantime, the neap tides are quite productive for flathead fans. Live baiting with pike or herring will soon tempt a flattie lurking beneath. Fish the early flood tide in the first channel or out along the slope where the sandbank shelves into deeper water. Learn to look for the flatties, and at the same time learn to keep your sightings to yourself. Otherwise, you will just alert another fisho who may well beat you to the jump and land their live bait right where yours should have landed. 

Flatties spotted in the first channel can be challenging to temp if you haven’t worked out how to catch pike yet. When the tide is still low, the herring are still out beyond the sandbank in deeper water where they retreated hours earlier. The early flood will trigger a feeding response from the flatties, and the only bait on hand is often the pike. Whilst they are the best bait regardless, they can also be frustrating to catch for the uninitiated. 

Bait jigs will work when the tide is in far enough, but until then you will need to default to other techniques. As stated last week, a 3-ball sinker riding onto a swivel 45cm from a tiny minnow lure will do the trick, as will a suitable small soft plastic twitched between the pylons. A belly strip from a herring worked in the same manner as the minnow lure, just pinned once on the end with a small hook, will work a treat too. Flatties will be a major target over the neaps in coming months, so time to master your shallow water pike gathering skills.

There have been a few small jewfish caught from the pier this week, and plenty more legal or undersized from elsewhere in town too. Jewie fans are typically willing to forego sleep in pursuit of their target species, and successful ones have likely either put in the hours or been shown by those that did. 

Bream fishos can look to the pier for some entertainment this week. One chap fished the shallow end after dark one night for whiting and struggled to keep the large bream from trashing him around the pylons. Even when he could subdue these wily big bream, he then had trouble lifting the girthy critters on his ultra-light whiting tackle. Others have reported smaller bream from out towards the deep end.

The challenge of fishing for larger bream from Urangan Pier can mean that pier bream tackle can manifest itself quite differently to convention. Super-light finesse tackle is outstanding for standard flats or estuarine bream fishing scenarios, but the pier is different, and for two reasons. First being the need to steer the larger bream away from the pylons from so far above, and the second being capable of swinging or lifting the bream up onto the pier itself once subdued. Think a little heavier than the norm and your pier bream fishing will be more successful.

Your chances of encountering a stray squid or two whilst wandering the planks of the pier are increasing weekly at present. You will have to beat your neighbours to any sighted of course, so either dedicate a light rod to the task pre-rigged and ready, or at least have some appropriate squid jigs handy. Look for them lurking near the pylons anywhere there is water or lingering over the gravelly stuff in the first channel.

Beau Bourke was fully froffed when he caught this fine flatty on his spanky new Miller rod.
It is bream time, so get out there and catch the run of big bream such as this one of Jack's.
Jewfish are quite common captures right now. Here is Jedd Hardy with a fine specimen.
Jack's jewie is larger than the average for many popular inshore haunts. Even bigger fish exist for those keen to seek them out.

No Major Change to the Bay’s Target Species

There are still thousands of tuna out in the bay for anyone who wants to go chase them. The weather this weekend might be a bit harsh for many, particularly up the island, so consider a foray into the western bay next week.

Having said this, reports have been streaming in all week of longtails in numbers up the island; some as close as off Coongul Point. The waters off Wathumba Creek also teemed with longtails some days, and a few crews managed to avoid the mac tuna virtually altogether. They didn’t all manage to avoid the noahs altogether though, so no matter where you head next, keep that it mind.

Mac tuna have been quite abundant too of course, it is just that the longtails are so thick and obvious that the macs have been avoidable. There is tons of ‘tuna bait’ up the island, and plenty down as far as the banks too. After a few days of making tides, chances are there will be tuna cruising our inshore shipping channels and the straits once again. Bonito schools are foaming the waters off Coongul of late too, so go get stuck into them with the kids if you wish.

Golden trevally have been frequent visitors to major structure in close of late. However, getting them to the boat before the taxman takes his toll has been very challenging. As is so often the case, goldies are caught by accident by those targeting snapper that are tempted to waft their favourite snapper lolly past the arches appearing on their sounder screen. The two species can indeed mix and feed in the same waters, so a little goldie bycatch is hard to avoid around major inshore structure.

As alluded to in past fishing reports, broad-barred mackerel move into our shallow margins this time of year and are a very easy target species on relatively light tackle. Broadies of all sizes can be sight-fished as they cruise the clear waters fringing the bay islands and elsewhere. They are active predators right up on the local flats too. They are also responsible for the loss of many squid jigs, so keep an eye out for them zooming in and stall your jig so they don’t inhale it.

Cheyne hitched a ride and went chasing tuna, and spent hours catching longtails. Stickbaiting is a gun technique this time of year.
Nigel with a beaut spaniard from a recent bay trip.

In close, it has been grassy sweetlip and the odd squire that have kept some families well-fed. Not as many sweeties as a month or so ago, but a better class of late season fish. Trout and cod are possible for those who put in the effort, though they will become fairly lethargic and take extra patience and persistence to tempt in the near future. 

Snapper have been fairly challenging to find by most accounts. Failed outings at this time of year are par for the course in the greater scheme of things. Early captures are very much reliant on existing and past shark depredation, whilst the arrival of migrating snapper schools can often be delayed or diminished for many reasons. Some purists might claim it is too warm as yet. If they are right, then next week’s weather will leave us with less excuses. 

Time of year and the duration of daylight are significant factors that dictate migratory movements of fish such as snapper. It might only be 20 or 21C at this time this year, whereas another year may have seen lower temperatures by now due to differing weather patterns. Every year is different temperature-wise, but the number of hours of daylight versus darkness at a given time of year remain constant. 

In a nutshell; colder earlier meansbonus snapper earlier, whereas prolonged warmth means snapper later. At a given time though; a number of snapper arrive regardless. The weather boffins are talking up a warm winter for these parts, so maybe Hervey Bay’s fish bowl will only appeal to a lesser number of snapper again this year. Only time will tell.

Water temperature dictates the migration of baitfish species, and as we all know, the snapper predate on them. Ensuring you focus your efforts in the vicinity of ample baitfish or other food sources will aide you in your future snapper pursuits. The usual hotspots will have their moments at some time; it just seems belated so far this season. A cold snap preceding a new moon in June ….. hmmmm ….. now that sounds snappery!

Staff member, Dane, with a nice local broad-barred mackerel. They are prolific throughout our local waters at present.
Staff member, Scotty, with a solid broadie spun up on an Arma Twist 60gm metal slug.

Grounds East of Wide Bay Bar Fishing Well

Whilst we here in Hervey Bay are experiencing a virtual snapper/squire drought, the waters not that far offshore from the Wide Bay Bar are lousy with them. Greg from Double Island Point Fishing Charters has been battling the onshore weather over the past week, but the fishing in close has not disappointed.

Squire are thick, and everywhere! Regardless of the depth, there are squire lining up to devour all manner of baits and lures. The larger snapper are yet to show, but plenty achieve the ‘squirey-snapper’ status, so punters are happy. Greg hasn’t been even 10 miles beyond the bar all week and has managed to catch squire galore, some very nice pearlies, scarlets (nannies) and cod. The longtails are abundant in those waters too, and a spaniard is only a troll away from being caught.

Losing the Pinnacles grounds wide of Wolf Rock to an extended green zone has been rather devastating for Greg and no doubt many others. Those waters would have been a prime choice in the weather experienced this past week. All the same, Greg has many others hotspots to cycle through, and his punters can enjoy A-grade fishing in waters deemed too rough in places such as Hervey Bay when the south-westers take hold.

Amberjack from 10-20 kilos have been frequent captures in the same waters as the squire etc of late. The undeniable arches of these brutes are easy to differentiate on any decent sounder, so you can then decide whether you want to tangle with them or make the effort to avoid them. Great fun for the sports fisho and just as much fun for a skipper whose crew need an arm-stretching.

The offshore waters south of Fraser are still largely current-free (in close anyway). The waters look great and are teeming with baitfish. Snapper move in very close off the Wide Bay Bar as they do elsewhere, so no doubt there will be an ever-growing fleet of smaller vessels plying those waters as any spells of prevailing offshore weather flatten the bar and winter wears on. 

How's this for a double on bait jigs, caught on a recent charter with Greg from Double Island Point Fishing Charters.
A typical double header from the close grounds for Double Island Point Fishing Charter clients.
Amberjack have been common over any bait-laden reefs east of Wide Bay Bar of late. Another for Double Island Point Fishing Charters.
When the seas are too big to head wide, Double Island Point Fishing Charters still catch plenty of fish, including large cod such as this.

The annual Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Competition kicks off this weekend and runs for a full week. They have cracked the weather once again, with very favourable winds or a lack thereof for the duration of the comp. This event will be hotly contested again this year, particularly in the reef fish categories. Poor weather of late means the vast grounds offshore have been unpressured, so there are bound to be some thumping reds brought to the scales, along with plenty of sizeable snapper, pearlies and others.

Beach fishos will enjoy the glorious conditions too, and given the great fishing on Fraser of late, there should be plenty of beach dwellers brought to the weighmaster. Estuary fishos aren’t left out either, so anyone with a desire to compete in a comp such as this has many categories in which to compete. The prizes are sensational, and a great family atmosphere with plenty of activities will ensure all family members have a great time. Good luck to all competitors.

Solid pearlies can be caught not far from Wide Bay Bar, such as this fine specimen from a Double Island Point Fishing Charter.
The AJs have been giving punters a solid arm-stretching aboard Double Island Point Fishing Charters this week.

Rivers Getting Clearer as Water Temps Drop

Whilst it is still dirty fresh water well upstream in our rivers, the lower and to some extent mid reaches are flushed with much cleaner and more saline water. The Mary in particular is absolutely alive with baitfish. This means more upstream movement of many of our estuarine target species. Those making the most of this relatively warm weather this week might be seeking some of the big barra lurking amongst the snags and rock bars, whilst others are content to chase other species.

Grunter and flathead have featured amongst catches in the Burrum. The new moon in a week’s time might see an increase in their activity, and also get the whiting on the move. Now that the Burrum system is largely gillnet-free, we might expect the return of queenfish and the river GTs to the mid reaches of those rivers this winter. If so, then they will likely share stretches with ladyfish (giant herring), blue salmon, threadies and barra. 

The straits fishery just gets better by the week, so long as you adapt to the change of seasons and target those fish whose activity level is enhanced by cooler water. Flathead are once such species, as are blue salmon and queenfish. Maybe it is just the visual option of targeting species such as these on the clearing flats, but the straits winter fishery is very appealing.

Some will be happy to chase the ever-growing biomass of bream that have commenced their winter migration, whilst others will seek a simple feed of whiting. Grunter hunters will enjoy the fruits of their pastime until cold winter waters make them a little harder to tempt. 

Warming up on a school of tuna whilst traversing the main shipping channels of the straits appeals to some on a cold winter’s day too apparently. Add the chance of encounters with jewfish of all sizes, some fun with squid and a feed of prawns and crab and the Great Sandy Straits has it all. 

The bay’s sand crabs have showed no sign of slowing as yet either by the way, and nor have the muddies. Prawners have more options than they did in recent weeks, with the maze of creeks that make up the straits now due to give up a good feed, and plenty still being caught from our rivers. We haven’t heard anything from Woodgate this week (due to the onshore weather most likely), but next week could be very interesting up that way.

Andrew with a solid late season jack. Although they are slowing down it is not impossible to tempt them with a well-presented bait.
Blue salmon can be fantastic sport on light soft plastic tackle and are abundant this time of year.
Grunter will scoff many small soft plastics. The 2.5in grub is just one of them.
The new custom-made Fisho's Brag Mat is a handy backdrop for solo fishos.

Fraser Island’s Surf Beaches Looking Sensational

We’ve mentioned the great whiting fishing over on Fraser’s surf beach in recent reports. Those fishing the vast array of well-formed gutters are still enjoying ongoing whiting catches, and some quality dart too. The surf waters have cleared up nicely and are awash with many light tackle targets. 

Low tide gutters are abundant, yet there are still a few very nice high tide gutters and even a few you might call mid-tide. You can effectively fish all day right now due to the neaps and expect to travel the beach with ease. Whiting and dart remain the mainstays, yet a flattie or two is possible and there are also schools of choppers for those inclined to chase tailor ‘out of season’. 

Extended battles with manageable-sized GTs in the deeper gutters have become somewhat common. It won’t be long and tarwhine and bream will join the fray in the rocky gutters. Weed is not an issue along the main beach north to the headlands either as far as we know, but there is talk of weed north of the headlands at present. Fraser’s surf fishing is brilliant right now, so get over there if you get the chance.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

Tuna in the surf on Fraser's east coast. Photo cred for this fine shot goes to Greg Barnett.
Ado managed a freshy from Monduran recently. The 80cm+ barra are very common and the most aggressive right now.
NEW arrivals! FCL Labo rods, a hand-crafted Japanese range of the utmost quality.
Hotly sought-after Zenaq rods are now in stock. Superb hand-crafted Japanese rods for the discerning angler.


Make sure you get MORE fishing updates by scanning the QR code below:

Search our shop