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Weekly Fishing Report - 11th July 2019

It seems Mother Nature still loves us after all, as she really turned it on for the second week of the Qld school holidays. Light winds, calm seas and balmy sunny days have been the order of the past few days and we are set for a few more glamour days to come.

Light westerlies and clear skies are forecast for much of the coming week. A cold change from the south will pass through on Sunday that will freshen the breezes for a day or two, but by mid next week we should see a return to lighter winds.

The tide chart and lunar synopsis looks great for the week ahead as well, with tides building towards July’s full moon next Wednesday.

Just briefly, before we get on with the fishing report, we mentioned Qld Fisheries’ review of the current fisheries legislation last week and the associated discussion paper that has been published for public comment. If you are at all interested in the future of our fisheries and want to have your say then you should download the Discussion Paper from

www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/sustainable/sustainable-fisheries-strategy/fisheries-reforms

and offer your comments on their proposals.

Completing the Online Survey has been a somewhat disappointing experience, with the survey seemingly geared to have respondents tick a few boxes to confirm the departments’ intentions. If you do complete the survey, then at least consider answering “Unsure” instead of “Yes” or “No” if the particular issue has no impact on you or your fishing activities. A positive or negative answer may inadvertently add weight to the alternative argument.

For those of you with something to say – and that should be every one of us that likes to collect his/her own bait – then perhaps an email to the Fisheries Minister could be a better response. You’ve only got till the 19th July to have your say.

Now, to the local fishing scene ....

Offshore

The swell offshore has eased off and the fishing is red hot for anyone lucky enough to get out over the bar while the seas are flat. Juvenile black marlin are still out there in numbers just south of the 4 Mile crossing. Get out before Sunday if you get the chance and set a spread after you clear the bar and then head south. The little billies are in close too, in water barely 10-15m deep.

Reef fishos will be spoilt for choice out wide this time of year whenever the weather allows. Hit the top lip of the shelf (100m) for pearlies, snapper, amberjack and jobbies or head deeper again if you have electric reels and bent-butt rods and you can score the same species plus bar cod and a huge array of various jobfishes.

The shoal country east of the Breaksea Spit will produce all manner of reefies if you can avoid the sharks. There is a ton of country out there so move elsewhere and put some miles behind you when they track you down.

The light westerlies offer great conditions for those venturing out over the Wide Bay Bar to the south of Fraser. Snapper have started to move in close offshore down that way, joining the sweetlip, cod and other reefies. Cobia, spanish and longtail tuna are all likely from the closer grounds, whilst pearlies, snapper, reds and amberjack will dominate out wider.

The Bay

Sub-surface pelagic activity far outweighs any of the surface action this time of year throughout the majority of the bay. You might find occasional longtail or mack tuna willing to scoff a plastic twitched through the water column around the bait schools, but are even more likely to encounter various trevally doing the same thing.

Big golden trevally are quite a common catch this time of year and can be a real handful on the light gear. You will find them around many of the reefs within Platypus Bay and further south around the Outer Banks. You can catch a long list of trevally species from Platypus Bay waters, the Gutters and off Rooneys that will often include diamonds, GTs, bludgers, brassies, long-nosed (tea leaf) and many more.

Snapper have finally put in an appearance up off Wathumba for those flicking plastics during daylight hours. Night sessions for bait fishos will also be productive from now on when the tides are right, aided by a light but consistent berley trail. The grounds off Arch Cliffs should produce a few knobbies over the coming full moon period if not already.

A few fishos got out to the Gutters this week and scored a mixed bag of reefies. The sharks weren’t too bad for those that targeted the non-red-coloured bottom dwellers, so that is somewhat encouraging. We dare not jinx it and claim that they have backed off just yet though. Big cobia are a real handful out there over the more prominent ledges of the gutters and long-nosed trevally are proving hard to avoid at some spots by those tea-bagging plastics meant for trout and snapper.

It will be interesting to see how the 25 Fathom Hole fishes over the coming full moon if we get the weather. Snapper should be a good chance so long as the yakkas turn up. The sinking of the HMAS Tobruk only a couple of miles NNE of the Fathom Hole may draw a lot of fish and baitfish away from their usual staging grounds in that part of the bay. It would be interesting to see footage from the privileged few that get to dive it over coming months.

Inshore

If the fish aren’t shell-shocked from the extraordinary amount of boat traffic over our inshore waters then the building tides this week should fish well. Snapper and squire will certainly be major targets, though their numbers have been disappointing so far this season. Spots worth a try still include the various artificial reefs, Moon Ledge and the Outer Banks, though if you sound around without seeing much bait then chances are that the daytime fishing will be slow.

Night sessions for snapper inshore will be much more productive for bait fishos. Concentrating your efforts around the turn of tide and keeping your sinker weights to a minimum will help. Fresh baits of herring, yakka and pike will score best on the cunning old snapper, but squid and pillies still account for their fair share if presented well and kept clear of the bottom.

Our water temperature has finally crept below 20C, albeit barely. Coral trout and cod are still active around the turn of tide and will take a live bait or lure. The big sweetlip schools have moved on, but the remaining winter models are typically quite large for inshore. Plenty of blackall can be found around the reefs and shoaly country by those favouring soft baits.

There are still a few mackerel off Gatakers Bay around the winter whiting schools, and a few macks can also be found lurking around select shipping channel markers holding schools of herring. Given that tailor have started to turn up elsewhere, you should expect a few off Gatakers Bay / Pt Vernon any time from now on. Anchor up in 3-4m of water over the reef in those parts and kick off a berley trail and you should score some very nice bream.

Mary/Susan Rivers & the Great Sandy Straits

Bream are now in good numbers around many of the rocky outcrops in the River Heads area. Again, berley will bring the numbers; it is just a matter of presenting the best baits to gain the interest of the bigger blue-nosed models.

Those who favour the light flick rods and artificials will have a ball with the bream now that they have gathered for spawning. Cranka Crabs, micro poppers, mini minnows and an array of small plastics will all score their share of bream around the rocks and nearby flats.

Flatties are becoming increasingly common now that winter is in full swing. Look for flatties around the mouths of drains and small creeks during the last of the ebb tide and early flood. Small plastics, vibes and blades will score plenty and trollers can slow-troll a variety of hardbodies through the channels and around the edges of the rock bars adjoining the mudflats.

Blue salmon are now quite entrenched throughout the lower-mid Susan and Mary rivers as well as within the larger creek systems down the straits. A few threadies can also be found, reacting best to soft vibes in the holes or live baits.

Jewfish are still the main target for land-based fishos at River Heads. The poor old jewies cop a hammering on live baits at night and we hope that those catching multiple fish are releasing the majority unharmed. Boaties can score jewies with the same methods or by deploying soft vibes or plastics around the turn of tide. The ledges along the western side of Fraser offer some great fishing for jewies if you get your timing right.

Nocturnal whiting fishos will be donning the winter woollies again this coming week as they head over to the creeks and adjacent flats along the inside of Fraser or down the straits. Pumping yabbies and settling into your spot/s as the tide floods the shallows under cover of darkness will typically see good bags of quality whiting.

The Burrum System

Tailor and small school mackerel have been frequent captures around the Burrum Heads area this past week. Trolling the channel out along the line of leads can be productive for both species, with tailor also quite active along the black bank and a little further upstream.

Bream have been a fairly common catch from the boat ramps and pontoon, along with the odd flathead, tailor and even a couple of winter barra. Make sure you have squid jigs handy if wandering around in those parts as some nice tiger squid have been lurking in the clear waters recently. You may be surprised as to how far upstream these squid will venture during winter.

The mid-upper reaches of all four rivers of the Burrum system are home to a variety of “fun” fish this time of year. Queenies, mini GTs, giant herring, blue salmon and flathead all play their part in a day’s fun with the light gear. Till the next cold snap, you might even trip over a barra or two during the slack part of the tide.

Fraser Island Beaches

It is that time of year again when we can start to bring you reports from the eastern side of Fraser. The crew from Fraser Retreat have let us know that there are really good looking gutters along much of the eastern beach at present. Driving is definitely better at low tide (as always), but beware the rocks at Poyungan are exposed at present and you will need to use the bypass. Yidney Rocks are also a bit dodgy, with tide-related restrictions necessitating the use of the bypass there too.

The great news for those holidaying over there at present is the quality of the run of tailor on the beach right now. Whilst somewhat scattered, good quality tailor in the 50’s to low 60’s have been encountered in some of the better gutters.

On the other hand, dart have been surprisingly absent, though good quality sand whiting are making up for them for those fishing the melon holes and low tide gutters with the light rods.

Urangan Pier, Local Beaches and Creeks

The bream have kept plenty of holidaymakers busy out on the Urangan Pier, and apparently it has been almost shoulder to shoulder out there at times. Tailor also turned up a week ago, and whilst plenty of decent tailor are on offer you need to check the sizes on some of the more questionable models. Same story for the mackerel too, with reports suggesting there are more undersized than legal out there at present.

Spotting flathead in the clear water from the elevated pier can be a bit of fun for the family too, so long as you have polarised sunnies. If you want to catch the flattie you just spotted though, keep its whereabouts to yourself until you have secured a live pike or herring and placed it nearby. Otherwise your neighbouring fisho might just beat you to the fish.

Night sessions along our town beaches have turned up some good catches of sand whiting. A few can be found during the day too, but not the same number or quality. Once we get a bit closer to the full moon the bigger tides will stir them up and day sessions will again be more productive.

Good luck out there y’all.

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