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Fisho’s Weekly Fishing Report – 5th July, 2024

One of many picturesque and very tasty Alfonsinos caught on a recent Double Island Point Fishing Charter deep dropping trip.

Windy Conclusion to Qld School Holidays

The weather failed to match the forecasts last week, yet again. Light winds were a blessing during the weekend, though the so-called showers thereafter seemed much more like light rain, and this latest blow arrived with only a couple of days warning. In any case, last week was better than it is right now. You don’t need us to tell you that the south-east trade wind has kicked in, and it looks like it is here for a few days yet.

The wind has eased a little today, compared to yesterday. It is still blowing a solid 15-20 knots from the south-east though (and possibly up to 25 knots in the northern bay). That trend is set to continue right through the weekend with little change unfortunately. It is even worse offshore. 20-25 knot south-easters prevail, which may reach 30 knots at times. Such conditions often bring passing coastal showers. They should be quite light and fast-moving, of little more than nuisance value.

The start of the working week looks a little better, which will annoy plenty of kids as they return to school. There will still be enough breeze to keep boaties inshore in protected waters Monday, with moderating east-south-east winds of around 15 knots. Better conditions are possible from Tuesday, which could be the start of another glamour period that remains with us right into the following weekend. ‘Possible’ and ‘could’, I say, as BOM’s mid-range forecasting rarely seems to meet expectations these days.

It is a crying shame about the current weather, as the tides are outstanding for so many fisheries this weekend. Saturday’s new moon heralds the beginning of another cycle and brings with it considerable tidal movement. Nothing huge. Just manageable and potentially highly productive. Consider this, and take the opportunity to seek fish in sheltered inshore waters or up the island if it is safe and comfortable enough to do so. Timing will be everything.

Scott Welch got fully stretched by this thumping AJ. Hard work on a great day on the water.

Aiden and son with a bag limit of red emperor from a recent GBR trip.

Riley got amongst the red fish a week or so ago. Nice nannygai such as this chilled with the emperor for the long trip home.

Iron jaw are just one of the jobfish clan that you can catch deep dropping over the continental shelf.

Winter Whiting Fishing More Consistent

Those that sought a feed of winter whiting last week were mostly rewarded. The whiting even settled in to an area for more than just a brief stay too, which was a bonus. Until recently, many catches from one particular spot could not be repeated the next day. The whiting had moved on, and the search continued until another patch was found. This is not atypical of spawning fish species. They roam as they gather pre-spawn, then settle down and ‘enjoy each other’s company’ once spawning commences.

Recent reports suggest the western side of Woody Island, south of Round Island, has been the most consistent. Bag limits were attainable in quick time when the whiting were found, and the size was okay. Other catches came from off the Burrum, Toogoom, and River Heads. The fish outside the Mary being the most mobile and inconsistent. This blow will change the whiting scene once again, so it may actually be differing grounds that fire post-blow.

Whilst the Gatakers Bay - Point Vernon grounds have been the poorest performers this season so far, there is likely to be a few smaller boats trying their luck in that vicinity this weekend, purely due to the weather restrictions. At some time soon, the grounds out near the NU2, the Bait Grounds and the verges of Urangan Channel might come alive with whiting. Time will tell, and if time tells us, we will let you know.

Those that simply must fish this weekend, and find themselves wandering the sheltered waters off Gatakers Bay might do well to consider a spot of bream fishing should the whiting remain absent. Anchoring and berleying in a few metres of water over the reef is a successful tactic that can produce true cricket scores. Having said this, we are informed that some folks have failed to succeed on this front recently, but the bream are certainly due. A good berley trail will be mandatory.

The same fishos might even reconsider the ultra-light tackle approach altogether and go chase the pelagics that are working the bait schools not far from Gatakers Bay ramp. There have been school mackerel, small spaniards and some tailor working over the bait schools west of there in recent days. Look for the gannets dive-bombing the baitfish and they will lead you to the action.

Jack released this oversized 80cm flathead after a quick happy snap.

Large spaniards are keeping Hot Reels clients entertained and well-fed.

Riley McLeod caught this longtail tuna from up north on a Nashy's Custom stickbait

Wayne Parr headed wide in absolute glamour conditions. This RTE was just one fish from a good feed brought aboard.


Windy Weather Options in Our Estuaries

Leaving open waters for better times, some boaties might head for our well-protected estuaries. The Burrum has been giving up some big sand whiting in recent weeks, and the tides are once again very good. Evening sessions remain most productive at this time of year, yet some fishos can catch a feed in deeper water during the daylight. Come nightfall, and it is up onto the favoured sandbanks in stealth-mode as the tide rises and the whiting move up to feed.

There are some solid grunter moving well upriver too, so that yabby you are soaking in the skinny water after dark might just take off big time. Stay cool and ease into the fight and the prize will be yours. Bream are also still prevalent throughout much of the river system, so an evening session could be multi-faceted and a real mixed bag brought home to the family.

Flathead are becoming increasingly common in the Burrum system. Look for them in likely ambush points, where baitfish or prawns are forced from cover in relatively skinny water. Little drains, rock bars and shouldered muddy banks all have their appeal to flatties, as do the quieter backwaters behind the islands when the tide is high. Don’t be surprised if you stumble over schools of tailor in the Burrum this weekend. They are highly mobile, yet likely to remain in the lower reaches. Unlike the blue salmon, that you will find further upstream.

Andrew, Hudson & Benny having a ball in their backyard. Living their best lives.

The Koeppen clan with a brace of fine flatties caught locally.

The lower Mary has been disappointing on the flathead front this week. Better numbers are expected in the future. For now, it is the roaming schools of blue salmon, the chance of a jewie at slack tide, or a bream session around one of the many rocky features that will entertain River Heads fishos. 

Threadies are possible, particularly drain-bashing as they feast on jelly prawn flushed by the big ebb tides. You might have to do some searching to find them, and once you do, you had better have some small prawn imitation lures in your kit or you could go home frustrated. Barra fishos might struggle a bit due to the weather and time of year, but that won’t phase the diehards who will still seek them out regardless.

The Great Sandy Straits offers vastly more options at this time. The weather will deny access for most, yet some will give it a crack when safe to do so. Recent captures from the straits have included a few flatties, some grunter, golden trevally, queenfish, blue salmon and bream. Jewfish would also be on the cards should you be able to get to a sheltered deeper ledge for a tide change. 

Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty has been quite quiet this week apparently. You can imagine there has been plenty of effort during the school holidays. A few bream are still possible though, and the evidence of large flatties by way of their obvious ‘lays’ in the sand suggest they are worthy targets too. The tiger squid have been hammered, and are currently scarce, but more will cruise in at some stage so always ensure you have a squid jig with you over there.

Kingfisher is tucked out of the prevailing trade wind and makes for a great day out for a family fisho willing to pay for a barge fare, or get there via their boat. It can be a rough crossing at the wrong stage of tide (that being a rising tide towards high in a southerly). Things are due to pick up at Kingfisher. The jewies have been smashed and may not show again, yet the tailor are due to make an appearance, and mackerel will return at some stage. A big run of bream is in the making, when the spawning fish withdrawing from the western flats and creeks make their way past the jetty. 

Resort to prawn imitation plastics to tempt lethargic winter barra, as Logan did with this local specimen.

Tri from Fraser Guided Fishing spends a little time putting clients onto flathead this time of year. Old mate was chuffed with this horse.

Not Long to Go Until the Snapper Closure

Photos and stories of snapper captures continue to trickle in, yet no-one has bragged about any major catches from Hervey Bay waters yet this season. It has been mostly a feed of squire, or maybe even a limit of squire, with a random knobbie or two coming from quite a bit of effort. It is a real shame that the weather has stuffed this weekend up for snapper fishos, as the new moon period is a highly productive one, and the annual one-month closure is looming. You have one weekend after this one, and that will be neap tides. Once again, disappointing.

Some might take on the rough crossing to Moon Point and head for the sheltered waters of Platypus Bay to target snapper. There have been a few up that way early this season, and the baitfish are in big time. The ‘darks’ have always been productive off Wathumba and other sectors of Platypus, so those that make the effort are likely to be rewarded. So long as they spend time up there on dusk and into the evening that is, or at least make a dawn raid to better their chances.

Lure fishing can be very challenging in windy and rough conditions, so it will likely be a few bait fishos that ride out the weather on anchor that score the best. All the same, a savvy fisho favouring lures for snapper might hook a few on plastics when wind and tide oppose, or resort to heavy jigs, such as Nomad Squidtrex or a slow-pitch jig to present more vertically and avoid the wind effect on their line. Trollers could potentially excel. Slow-trolled super deep divers are just the ticket for snapper in such conditions, so long as your focus is within a few miles of Fraser and you aren’t being bashed about.

Carson Parker was stoked with this ripper snapper he caught last week. Well done young fella.

Fish for snapper while the vampires are out and improve your chances, just like Bryce did.

Bycatch from snapper sessions within Platypus Bay recently has included the likes of grunter, mackerel and trevally, yet we aren’t hearing of too many deep-caught longtails. There are still mac tuna schools wandering the bay by the way, which are largely ignored by the majority of snapper-centric fishos. Baitfish numbers have exploded in the bay, so future bycatch could include many other major predators; including spanish mackerel (like those lingering off Arch Cliffs recently), large cobia, and an increasing representation from the trevally clans.

Lutjanus malabaricus is another form of snapper bycatch, and very much a worthy target species in their own right. The fish I refer to is the large mouth nannygai. I have referred to them as scarlet sea perch for eons, and have done so in past fishing reports as either that or ‘scarlets’. These fish have many nicknames (including red jew or simply nannies). From this point onwards however, I will refer to them as nannygai or nannies, as those terms seem to be more commonly used these days. Our government is reviewing management strategies for this species, and their poorer-eating cousin, the small mouth nannygai, so they will, no doubt, be a lively topic of discussion at some stage in the future. 

Round up a big snapper like this young ringer and you too can be proud. Nice fish pardner.

The big knobbies are becoming more common off the Wide Bay bar and Double Island Point Fishing Charters are into them.

Fat nannies such as this model caught on a Double Island Point Fishing Charter are always welcomed aboard.

Fantastic Fishing Offshore Over the Wide Bay Bar

A rare opportunity arose to catch up with Greg Pearce from Double Island Point Fishing Charters a couple of days ago, as he was home for a change, resting up while the wind blows offshore. Listening to Greg recount the tales from recent charters was very interesting. He is booked well in advance for much of the time, and rightly so, yet he might have a few random spots on board for anyone keen to taste the pleasures of offshore fishing south-east of Fraser Island.

Weeks of great weather enabled Greg to head wide when appropriate, yet he still put together some impressive catches without doing the big miles when the wind was up a little. The current has been quite kind, yet variable. A shift of only a few miles can equate to a knot or more variation in current down there, so reading the water and prevailing conditions has been necessary. With the baitfish so abundant, and the water in close so incredibly clear, the fishing has been, at times, excellent.

Deep dropping forays to undisclosed depths produced amazing hauls of tasty deepwater species for his excited clients. Catching big numbers of flamies, incredible hauls of brightly-coloured and wickedly-tasty alfonsinos, ruby snapper and huge bar cod and bass groper lit the crew up as the electric reels whirred away hauling even more delights from the depths. Amazing fishing and a mountain of seafood for his lucky clientele.

Other trips focussed on snapper and pearl perch closer inshore. Both of which will be out of bounds for a month come July 15th. The pearlies have been on the chew big time too, and once Greg gets his crew fishing like they should, they are hauled in thick and fast. He has been catching some large knobbies at times, but it is the consistency of the snappery squire that has kept his clients happy every trip. 

When discussing the vagaries of catching larger knobbies at this time of year, Greg pointed out that the bigger fish tend to roam quite randomly, and don’t settle into an area until after they have spawned. This I found consistent with my observations in the bay, and offered an analogy that compared the pre-spawn snapper with us lads in our younger years roaming from pub to pub seeking the chance to ‘spawn’. Once the right mate/s were found, the roaming soon stopped and the same habitats were frequented regularly. 

Snapper and pearlies have featured in every trip of late, whilst solid tusk fish, red emperor, plenty of plump moses perch and a few fat nannies have rounded out some impressive charters. Greg hasn’t bothered chasing spanish mackerel of late, because the reef fishing has been that consistently good. Mac tuna are abundant he says, but they are just a distraction. The sharks have been largely avoidable, yet they are an issue on some of the common grounds.

A big bass grouper from an exceptional deep dropping mission aboard Double Island Point Fishing Charters.

Incredible deep dropping is an option aboard Double Island Point Fishing Charters.

Plump tomato cod such as this one caught with Double Island Point Charters are a bonus when fishing rarely-fished reefs.

Red emperor are regular captures from Double Island Point Fishing Charters when they head wide.

Big Swells Re-Shaping Fraser’s Surf Beach

Seas whipped up to 2.5m riding ocean swells to 2.5m are bashing onto Fraser Island’s exposed surf beaches. These conditions have put the kybosh on fishing activities for those over on the east side for the time being, but there is a major upside to this weather event. The churned-up surf is gouging sand away from numerous stretches of beach, potentially creating a new beach-scape much more to the liking of tailor (and tailor fishos) for the upcoming season.

The beach has been wide and flat until now. Great for whiting, some dart and so on, but largely unappealing to other predatory species. So, the good news is the potential new beach scene. The bad news is that the trade wind has blown weed back into the surf gutters. Latest reports from the Poyungan – Cathedrals area is that the weed is significant and as far as the eye can see. Let’s hope that it is only a temporary phenomenon.

One of our regulars is camped over on the surf side, yet when contacted today, he and his crew were all over on the west side escaping the prevailing wind. They were catching a few decent bream for their efforts, but the disappointment was tangible. When asked about the surf fishing prior to the blow, some interesting comments were made.

A feed of whiting was manageable, but their catches weren’t of the larger fish they so often enjoy this time of year. The dart made up for that though, being big, fat and with plenty of go. Great sport on super light whiting surf rods. Plenty of tarwhine were being caught, as well as a random trevally or two. These scrappers don’t need to be overly large to put a full working curve into the light rods, so the lads had plenty of fun day to day. 

They only managed a couple of chopper tailor, and believe it or not, they were caught on worm baits. Those fresh beach worms out-fished the pippies quite consistently most days, even though the pippies were in huge numbers. Maybe the pippies knew this blow was coming and were making their way to the right stretches of sand.

Driving conditions on the island are quite good. Enough rain fell to keep the sand tracks from getting powdery. There are rocks becoming exposed with the heavy weather, but for now the passage along the beach has been good. This could change over coming days, so if we can get an update next week, we will share that with you.

Riley caught this brace of trout on a recent trip up north. You need a Fisho's cap to go with that fine sticker mate. Drop in and it's yours.

There are plenty of spaniards in the bay at present. A lot of large fish too.

Brett Bartlett pulled this fine bar-cheeked trout in glorious conditions earlier this week.

Trollers beware. The gannets are dive bombing the baitfish close inshore. This one was released unharmed by Luke V after plenty of commotion.

Action Picks Up on Urangan Pier

Urangan Pier has remained popular throughout the school holidays. The dreaded green toads made their presence felt many days, carving up baits, chewing on hooked fish and making a right nuisance of themselves. These pests inundate the winter whiting grounds this time of year too, and can be hard to avoid. 

Some folks wander into the shop intent on buying heavier leader, or worse still, wire traces, as they are peeved off with all the toadfish biting through their lines. These folks might get advised to just fish elsewhere and avoid the extra hardware for toadfish, as not only will it put off their preferred target species, but the flaming toadies will only chew up and kink their wire, and even bite straight through their light-gauge hooks. Moving on is the best advice when it comes to toads.

Anyway, toads aside, there has been a little pelagic action out along the pier this week. Mac tuna have been making passing raids, and school mackerel have been caught too. A few flathead have fallen victim to well-placed live baits, and plenty more will suffer a similar fate if they turn up this winter. Otherwise, it has been the fairly consistent run of bream that has kept many pier fishos entertained. There has been enough bigger bream amongst the schools to challenge your reflexes and find any weakness in your leader or terminal tackle. So, be prepared when targeting pier bream. The new moon should be productive for those that can handle the breeze.

On a final note, there were a few beach-goers that witnessed a large shark acting strangely in the shallow waters of our town beach this week. This shark made the news, and was mistakenly identified as a hammerhead by at least one report on the TV. You can see from an image hereabouts, that the shark was clearly a mako. 

Not a common species in Qld, though far from unheard of. Being a species more at home in oceanic waters, its lunging movements, head clear of the water, were very weird, and indicative of a sick animal in distress. As sad as the scene was, it is also not the sort of creature you want cruising in the shallows of a popular swimming beach.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

This mako shark was all over social media this week, dipping its head in and out of the water. It must be sick, as well as lost.

Not the sort of thing you want to see just metres off our local swimming beach.

Big venus tusk fish are common captures from offshore over the Wide Bay bar.

When you both gave it your all, and you just need a moment. An exhausted Double Island Point Fishing Charter client and a huge AJ.

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