It must be Ekka time. Westerly winds typically dominate the big smoke’s showtime in August. The eastward passage of a low-pressure system south of the continent will dictate our weather this week. Quite light winds are anticipated initially, followed by another brief burst of cold offshore westerlies.
A light east-northeasterly breeze will greet boaties tomorrow. Saturday will kick off with a light northerly that will tend northwesterly during the day. There should be no more than 10 knots each day. A light shower is a chance Friday, with the slim chance of a thunder storm Saturday evening as the next change passes through.
You can expect a light south/southwester Sunday morning, with a little stiffer westerly building late in the day. 10-15 knots of southwest-westerly winds are likely to dominate thereafter, spiking with a brief 20 knotter mid-week. Our air temperature will plummet once again, but at least the sun will be out.
Tomorrow’s full moon has increased the tidal flow dramatically in recent days. King tides at night will peak as high as 4.14m from low lows of only 0.35m. Keep this tidal flow in mind if new to our area, as what might seem like an innocuous period of light wind can turn sloppy when faced with wind-against-tide conditions in areas of high current flow.
Snapper & Pearl Perch Season Opens Tuesday
Local snapper fans won’t be terribly pleased with the wind direction for the snapper season opener on Tuesday. All the same, the winds will be light enough for forays out onto the bay or offshore, so we would expect busy boat ramps that day.
Officially, as of midnight on the night of the 15th August (Monday night), snapper and pearl perch can again be targeted in Qld waters. Normal bag limits apply. This month-long closure seems to be having an impact, reducing the fishing effort for these vulnerable species, and hopefully, we can all look forward to improved seasons in the future.
The fact that the season opens 4 days after the full moon is hardly encouraging for a rigorous bite. The fact that there are decent numbers of snapper and squire scattered throughout the bay is encouraging though, so make the most of the best bite periods and hopefully your season kicks off with a bang.
Reports of snapper bycatch in the bay during the closure suggest that all the usual inshore hotspots will be worth a try. Reefs such as the Burrum 8 and 12 Mile, the Outer Banks, Moon Ledge, the 6 Mile and the local Artificial Reefs are all potential snapper producers.
There are absolute masses of baitfish in the bay at present, so ensure you target reefs well-laden with yakkas, pike, herring and/or others. Catch these baitfish with jigs and deploy them alive or butterflied and you will enhance your chances dramatically. Take care not to exceed baitfish bag limits.
Heading a bit further north when the weather permits is likely to pay dividends for snapper hunters. The reefs, weed patches and massive bait schools of central and northern Platypus Bay attract a lot of snapper this time of year. Night sessions will favour the bait fishos, aided by light berley trails and lightly-weighted, locally-sourced baits.
The 25 Fathom Hole is a renowned snapper hotspot. The hordes of yakkas that frequent the hole, its fringes and the deep waters nearby often produce some of the bay’s largest snapper. No yakkas in the area will mean no snapper. From reports of folks traversing the area during the closure the bait is super thick, and widely-spread, covering acres and acres of ground to the south as well.
The fringes of the Gutters reefs and ledges are good snapper producers this time of year. Avoiding the dreaded sharks can be problematic, but there has been encouraging reports of fishos pulling a feed of other reefies from a few sites with less shark carnage this winter.
Night sessions will always produce the best snapper fishing up there for bait fishos, but those favouring lures can score well during daylight hours. Paying careful attention to quality sounders certainly aids in pinpointing the snapper schools and avoiding the trevally.
The above are but a few options for those seeking snapper. There are other reefs off Rooneys that are favoured by many locals, and plenty of other grounds inshore that produce quality squire if not the larger knobbies.
For a mix of both snapper and pearl perch, there are the abundant reefs offshore of the Breaksea Spit and of course the fantastic grounds out from the Wide Bay Bar to our south. Beach launching from the gutter north of Waddy Point on Fraser will soon see you floating above likely grounds east of there as well.
You have a plethora of different lure options to try on your snapper hunting expeditions these days. Soft plastics of many shapes and sizes will score, as will soft vibes, slow-pitch jigs and deep diving hardbodies for the fans of trolling.
Couple these excellent offerings with the latest in tackle, sounder and GPS technology and a profusion of local information and You Tube clips and our snapper don’t stand a chance. For this reason, we suggest that consideration should be given to the future of this fishery and only fish destined for the table should be taken. Enjoy the hunt, and let’s all hope those darn sharks don’t turn up to crash the party.
Time & Tide Fishing Charters Smashing It Offshore
Legendary local charter boat skipper and former owner of Time & Tide Charters, Geoff Taylor, is back at the helm and they are absolutely smashing the fish offshore. Geoffrey has unrivalled knowledge of our offshore waters after many many years virtually living on the water out there.
These charters are for pretty serious fishos only. Their stomping grounds are the waters from Waddy Point to Lady Elliot Island. They run 3 day live aboard charters catering for 8 people. They provide everything. Tackle, food and drinks, just bring your own alcohol (and your personal tackle if you prefer). They even have deep dropping tackle on board.
They haven’t had to head for deeper waters recently, the fishing has just been that good in 50 metres. Doing the miles to avoid the snapper and pearlies during the closure has paid big dividends with a huge array of quality reef fish and pelagics filling iceboxes.
Big red emperor, ripper red throats, green jobbies, coronation trout, cod of all sorts and a run of the biggest venus tuskfish seen in years are just some of the prime tucker chilled on a regular basis. Of course, there are ample other species added for some variety, as anyone fishing those grounds would expect.
Big cobia have been frequent captures at some anchorages, and when the snapper and pearly closure concludes, then overnight hangs hovering above snapper and big red reef jacks can be a highlight. Pearl perch have always been a regular contributor to bag limits on these charters and will be a welcome catch on future trips.
The spaniards have been smashing lures trolled between grounds to the north recently, and have been so large at times that they have had to re-stock. Taking a couple of high-speed minnows is a good idea, and can add another flavour to a trip, not to mention some surprising “by-catch”. Mahi mahi have also featured in catches recently, and quite good-sized fish at that.
Their vessel, “Getaway” is a spacious old girl and offers plenty of room for various fishing techniques. Jigging is popular for those that bring their own jigs, and can see you hooked up to all manner of denizens of the deep. Green jobbies, amberjack, kingies and a huge range of reefies love the jigs, so stock up if heading out with this crew.
Bagging out on quality reef fish is quite common on Getaway. For this reason alone, the charters are very popular and need to be booked in advance as groups of 8. They occasionally have partially-filled charters due to cancellations and the like, so if you are a super keen offshore fisho looking for possibly the best experience off the Fraser Coast, then give Ross your number and make yourself available as a standby to fill-in should an opportunity arise.
Ross can be contacted on 0418 940 574, or you can look up Time & Tide Charters on social media.
Trevally Trumping All Other Pelagics
Back in the bay again, and it has been a trevally-fest for anyone keen to drop jigs amongst the lit-up shows on the sounder. Almost every conceivable species of trevally seems to make an appearance in Hervey Bay waters this time of year and this year is shaping up to be a doozy.
Hordes of yakkas and other baitfish have attracted masses of trevally. The Gutters are a standout for sheer numbers, variety and size, but the reefs off Rooneys and Wathumba aren’t far behind. Sure enough, there are a lot of smaller models in Platypus Bay, but there are still plenty of thumpers to stretch your line as well.
Many schools of golden trevally have moved inshore now, and are terrorising the baitfish gathered around our artificial reefs and ledges. Smaller fish are quite common on some sites, and up on the flats at the right time of tide, but it is the larger goldies that have featured in many happy snaps during the snapper closure.
Queenfish are making an appearance around current lines in the lower bay right on que. They are a worthy opponent on the right tackle over the bigger full moon tides and can pull some serious string. Obviously, their aerial antics are a major highlight of any encounter, though they can also slug it out down deep at times and have you second-guessing what you have hooked.
Queenies do not handle well. They fight to a stand still and are typically completely exhausted after a drawn-out battle. For this reason, and due to the very real shark issue, you might consider beefing up to 10kg tackle in lieu of the light gear in deeper waters.
From what we hear, tuna are fairly scarce up the bay. No surprises there. Longtails will be still here in some number, spending their time deeper in the water column harassing yakkas and the like in lieu of chasing the surface baitfish of the warmer months.
You might find some random schools of mack tuna busting up on small herring in the western bay or down the straits, so it will still pay to have a spin outfit at the ready if that is your thing. Schools of bonito (of the Watson’s Leaping variety) are quite common at present. They are often the culprit when you see foamy white water with smaller than usual splashes, or when your bait jig takes off mid-jig (and you haul up a string of bonnies).
The run of school mackerel is largely undersized fish at present. They are harassing the winter whiting fishos out off Toogoom and Gatakers Bay and are proving to be a nuisance over many local reef sites and around some beacons. It is not uncommon to have a run of rat schoolies in August, as a precursor to a bigger run of much better-quality fish to follow. Something to look forward to there for mackerel fans.
Another fish worthy of a “nuisance” stamp are the schools of undersized tailor that frequent some of our local reefs at this time. They can turn up inside Rooneys and be in plague proportions at sites such as the Arch Cliffs 6 Mile and others. Drive away if you find such masses of small tailor, as they will take a swipe at anything that moves.
Big cobia don’t mind a feed of tailor it seems, but remember that a regulated species must be of legal size if you plan to put a hook in it. Indeed, any undersized, or oversized fish for that matter, must be returned to the water unharmed immediately – so live baiting with such a fish is simply not on. That goes for whiting as flathead baits and mackerel as GT baits too. Just saying …..
Anyway, have a crack at a big cobe while you still can. They are quite common in the northern bay and venture south some years late in the season. Don’t be surprised if a few turn up on our local artificial reefs. They certainly used to do so in the good old days.
Inshore Hard to Ignore in Westerlies
From Tuesday onwards, the major target species inshore will be snapper. We mentioned plenty of likely reefs to try above, but you can also knock off a good feed of squire by fishing our shallow reefs and local channels at the right time.
The bigger tides, particularly after a blow, bring a number of squire and the odd knobby in real close. You can try the fringes of the reefs at Pt Vernon, the sandy edges of the fringing reefs of the bay islands, or Urangan Channel, just to name a few. Squire also turn up out from Kingfisher and a few head right down into the straits some years. The dirty water in the Mary will likely keep them from entering the river mouth as they do in drought years.
Until then, or thereafter, you can still have a crack at tempting a trout of cod. They will be a little lethargic, so live baits will out-fish lures, but at least it won’t be hard catching your livies. Otherwise, it will be a mix of blackall and scarlets from our deeper local reefs for those willing to try a mixture of baits.
Keeping many entertained and well fed, is the run of grunter out in the bay. Quality grunter are still a feature around some reefs in the western bay and at the Fairway at the right time. Platypus Bay grunter are turning up even more frequently than usual. Perhaps that is due to the increased use of soft vibes, plastics and slow-pitch jigs these days, coupled with a great wet season.
Bream fans willing to slip the boat in could be in for a treat at Gatakers Bay. Anchoring and berleying can draw in great numbers of large spawn-run bream that are super feisty during the big full moon tides. Many will scoff at bream fishing in these parts, but even southerners might be impressed with the quality of fish that can be caught in a good session in a westerly wind this time of year.
Don’t be at all surprised to see big mobs of sea mullet milling about in our shallows this week. The mullet run is on and these fish are in spawning mode. They are eagerly targeted by local commercial fishers, but they are equally attractive to our biggest inshore predators.
Mulloway will be active in coming weeks, and particularly under a moon-lit sky at present. The bigger fish will be drawn to the mullet run in some areas, typically at the exit points of major estuaries.
Local summer whiting fishos have pulled bag limits of their favourite species from the local flats this week. The making tides preceding the full moon are always a drawcard for these fishos in August. The next couple of nights will likely see repeat catches from the skinny waters of the lower bay and the straits.
Crustaceans Back on the Menu
The big full moon ebb tides have got the local banana prawns on the trot. Bucket limits, or at least a few kilos of quality bananas is possible right now for anyone keen to put in the effort.
The lower reaches of the Mary and Susan rivers are a good starting point for those launching from River Heads. Prawns abound in some of Fraser’s western creeks as well, but you might find a lot of smaller prawn in the systems spewing tannin-stained freshwater.
That last fresh that came down the Mary was all water from the upper reaches and impacted primarily on that system and its immediate influence alone. Those lucky enough to be at the heads at the right time scored buckets of large bananas from the ramp, once again.
The Burrum system has also given up good prawn this winter. It was deep holes in the lower reaches some time back, but searching further upstream is the go now.
The full moon sees a spike in mud crab activity. The crabbing in the Mary/Susan system has been very good lately, and should continue and even improve in coming days. The recent fresh down the Mary flushed out a few muddies, but being a relatively minimal flow, many stayed in the river and sought out the deeper holes.
Sand crabs are readily available out in the bay when the weather permits access. The big full moon tides will see them marching in closer as well, so a feed is on offer within striking distance of local ramps in average weather.
Last week we reported on the lack of tailor on Fraser’s surf beaches. We also suggested the hint of northerly breeze might trigger a positive response. Well, a week on and we can report that the choppers turned up in some gutters in great numbers.
Local fishos spinning with metal lures and stickbaits had a blast, catching good hauls of tailor around the 50cm mark or so. Bait fishos are also enjoying the renewed tailor bite, sending gang-rigged pillies into the gutters and winding in slowly.
The recent run of mulloway continues. There are still a lot of undersized fish, but enough keepers to make a serious jewie session worth considering. The full moon will again see a peak in their activity.
The same full moon will see the best of the whiting fishing for the time being. Fraser’s surf whiting can be quite sizeable too, so even though bag limits can be rare, a good feed is often assured with less fish.
Mix it up with the light gear over there and you can tangle with bream, tarwhine, flathead and other species around the exposed rocky outcrops. Remember to keep away from the headlands for the time being with your fishing gear though, as they are closed to all forms of fishing until 30th September.
Latest from Our Pier and Beaches
A few big flatties were caught from the Urangan Pier over the past week. Neap tides and flatties go hand in hand out there this time of year. You can chase a flathead or two around our local creeks otherwise, or perhaps the rocky features along our town beaches. The Booral Flats will also give up a few fish for those working the tides.
Bream fishos can count this full moon as possibly the last peak moon of the season for Urangan Pier bream. There has been quality fish caught again this week, with a lot of the better fish caught at night.
School mackerel have been making raiding forays into the masses of herring lately. The majority of these fish have been undersized, but a couple have made the minimum measure. Don’t be tempted to keep the little ones. Apparently, a kid had three baby schoolies in a bucket and copped a visit from the boys in blue this week.
Along with the little macks, has been a few tailor. Only small numbers of quite modest-sized fish at this point. Tailor are an August feature of the pier fishery, so tailor fans might consider a wander out there casting spoons in the near future.
Good luck out there y’all …… Jase
Hervey Bay Amateur Fishing Club -
Junior Whiting Fishing Competition
FC Custom Marine Flooring
We'd like to Introduce you to our friends at FC Custom Marine Flooring, who are the
dedicated Distributors & Installers of Deck Armour, quality marine flooring for this region.
Deck Armour is a new innovative Non Skid Marine Flooring product that can be tailored to fit nearly any type of boat !
Heres a quick rundown of the main details of the product and services they provide:
* Closed Cell Premium EVA foam- no water absorption
* Non-Slip - Even when wet
* Unique 8mm Thickness for anti- fatigue support for your back and feet
* UV stable - cooling underfoot - specifically formulated with Australian Climate in mind
* Stain Resistant - Fish blood and Squid ink wash straight off!
* Protection - against scratches, chips, dents & provides noise reduction
* High Grade Adhesive - even grips to checker plate flooring
* In House Design Team to customise your boat with logos , fish rulers etc
* Long Lasting easy to care for and All Quotes are fully Inclusive - no hidden costs
If the above features tick all your boxes , get in touch with Eddie and Ruth now!
They'll be happy to answer any questions you might have and provide a no obligation quote call them today on 0421664009.
AFTA 2022 Happy Snaps