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Weekly Fishing Report - 12th May 2022

Heavy Rain on the Way - Again

Even those living under a rock would know there is heavy rain on its way. Tomorrow, Friday, looks like delivering the big rains, with more rain and showers lingering over the weekend. Lighter showers are likely right throughout the working week. Chances are that Bundy and Rocky will cop the bigger falls this time around, though we will certainly get our fair share.

The Mary River catchment has already copped a soaking in its upper reaches, prompting BOM to issue a minor flood warning for the Mary. They have eased their initial forecast of intense rains for the Sunny Coast hinterland, which will be a relief for those residents of Gympie and Maryborough. By this time next week, we will all be able to reflect on the impact of this latest weather event, but for now, caution should prevail and flooded waters should be avoided.

Wind-wise, todays 20 knot northeaster will maintain similar strength as the heavens open tomorrow. The onshore flow will intensify Saturday as the wind tends first easterly, then southeasterly and strengthens to possibly 30 knots, before turning to the south. The wind will howl overnight and we will be greeted with a similar scene Sunday, with up to 30 knots of southerly tending southeasterly through the day.

If the forecasters have it right, then vastly better conditions can be expected Monday after the trough clears the district. Light winds of barely 10 knots are possible for the start of the working week. The wind will gradually ramp up from the southeast and reach 20 knots again by Thursday though, so make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

Please note that the weather suggested above is deciphered from the latest from the BOM and other weather sites. It can, and likely will, change frequently in coming days. As an example, the above text needed to be amended twice whilst writing this piece this morning. Its is needless to say that you should monitor the latest forecasts as well as radar, and take no chances with wild winds or flooded waters.

The timing of this latest weather event is somewhat frustrating. The May full moon, and indeed the days leading into it, offer prime tides for so many species and local fisheries. There will be significant tidal flow around Monday’s full moon, with highs peaking at pretty much 4m from lows bottoming out as low as 0.44m.

A Month of Maybes

Such a weather pattern in autumn is certainly a game changer for our district. Hopefully, any flooding is only minor and doesn’t adversely affect our estuaries which have recently recovered from the summer rains. It is highly likely that there will be plenty of localised run-off, so we might consider how this could impact our fisheries.

Our snapper and bream fisheries are due for their annual kick off with this moon. Our waters are still relatively warm, but the reduced hours of daylight and the moon and tides, will still trigger their migration in readiness for spawning in winter.

The new Ecogear Power Squid is going to be dynamie inshore. This one is rigged on a BKK Harpax 3/8oz 3/0 jighead

Mulloway jew will likely welcome this late rain as it will deliver their favourite fodder en-masse to locations where they are already situated. Threadies, barra and grunter will all relish the renewed abundance of tucker and shift their focus to take advantage of any prawn or baitfish flushed from our estuaries.

Mangrove jacks will react to the fresh differently depending on their size. The biggest fish are likely to exit the estuaries and head for their new lives out on the wide reefs (if they haven’t already done so). Their smaller brethren will shift within the creeks and rivers to find waters to their liking.

Pelagics that have been progressively moving closer and closer inshore of late will gorge themselves on the profusion of bait. Tuna and mackerel will seek clearer waters should floodwaters adversely affect the inshore scene, though GTs and queenies may well linger and feast along the verges of the current lines of the straits and the southern bay.

Our beaches might see a return of estuary predators due to local run-off or flooding. Grunter are the most obvious, though threadies and barra could pay a visit to the flats south of town, and jewies will continue to harass any baitfish or prawn swimming past the big man-made features at Urangan.

Our reef fish will be major beneficiaries of any further local run-off this autumn. The increased abundance of food might even keep the sweeties inshore a little longer this season. Snapper will thrive, as will scarlets in the deeper waters. Our shallow fringing reefs will benefit dramatically, if only due to dirty waters further limiting the potential impact of spearos.

The crabbing should go next level and prawning will be an option right into winter for those keen in the cold. Squidding has been adversely affected already, and any significant outflows of freshwater would likely have further negative impact for this season.

All the above is conjecture of course, as the rains haven’t fallen as yet and the degree of impact on our area is yet to be determined. Whilst we await this latest event, read on for what’s been happening around the traps.

Pelagics Plunder Urangan Pier Baitfish

Late last week, a plethora of pelagics turned up to plunder the Urangan Pier’s baitfish population. School mackerel were abundant and easy to catch on spoons spun at speed or on livies rigged on gangs.

On Friday alone, there were some 50 or more schoolies landed apparently, and plenty of other fish adding to the excitement. Some big GTs turned up, along with the odd cobia. Tuna rushed the baitfish huddled beneath the pier in schools and fell to livies ballooned out wider or dangled in front of them with pinpoint timing.

There has been a couple of flatties caught between the pylons on live baits both in the first channel and out towards the end. Jewies have been worth pursuing after dark on either livies or prawn imitation plastics lately, and they should be worth a crack over the full moon in particular.

Bream fishos have kicked the season off out towards the deep end with a few decent bream in the mid-thirties. The May full moon would typically see local bream fans out in force after dark as well as during daylight hours. The weather won’t make this activity much fun for a few days though.

For those unfamiliar with fishing for bream from our pier, here is a few tips:
Firstly, bait fishos can try the likes of mullet fillets, mullet gut and even prawns and the like at night, but the pickers will annoy the crap out of you during the day. Any daytime bream fishing session should start with some bait gathering. A bait jig will soon secure a quantity of herring that can be strip-baited or butterflied and presented beneath the pylons for a bream.

Presentation is everything when it comes to tricking a wary old breambo, so spinning baits poorly presented on a hook are a no-no. Big bream are a predator in their own right, a bit like a mini version of a snapper. They will attack live baits such as herring or hardiheads - the smaller the better. As well as this may work, fresh dead baits are vastly more popular.

A butterflied herring’s flapping fillets will soon entice several fish, and whilst the smaller models will pick at the trailing fillets, the bigger bream will stand off waiting for the morsel to be trimmed down to bite-size before moving in and smashing the head of the herring. This is where you need your hook to be.

You should be standing above and slightly adjacent to a pylon facing into the tide. This will enable you to drop your offering between the pylons and give you enough room to allow a little line to slip from time to time to keep your bait looking natural without snagging the diagonally opposite pylons. Once you feel the take from a proper bream, get stuck into it as the bigger fish will soon trash you if given a chance.

There should be plenty of bream over the one kilo (42cm) mark hauled over the pier’s railing this season. These fish won’t fall to bad presentations, so replicate the above with other baits or try lures for a crack at the bigger brutes.

Small plastics of various types can be deployed and will soon draw the breams’ attention. Unfortunately, these lures will also be appealing to the local pike population. Ecogear ZX43 blades and TT Switchblades are lures worth hopping between the pylons, and in recent years the nifty little Cranka Crabs have developed a dedicated local following.

Landlubbers keen to tangle with a few bream can also try River Heads. Quality breambos have been hauled onto the pontoon or the rocks out there for several weeks now, and the fishing should improve even further over this full moon. You could also take a bit heavier tackle and try for a jewie on a soft vibe, plastic or live bait.

Movers and Shakers Out in the Bay

Longtail tuna are widely dispersed throughout the bay. There is still longtails up the island, but they are quite scattered. Mack tuna schools have made their way down into the Great Sandy Straits, and can be found in the local shipping channels between the bay islands as well as further south in the straits. They are super flighty, as they always seem to be this close inshore. East coast lows tend to flood big numbers of tuna into Hervey Bay late summer into autumn. Chances are that tuna fans will have more to cheer about in the near future.

Golden trevally continue to scoff jigs or various kinds out wide of the banks, and will soon be a feature around inshore wrecks and other artificial reefs as they follow the baitfish schools inshore. Queenies are a chance around the current lines of the bay islands or along the fringes of some flats and along ledges on Fraser’s western side.

School mackerel have been turning up in good numbers inshore over the past week. The Fairway and the reefs off the Burrum coast have seen big numbers some days, but not every day. There has even been a few schoolies and the odd broadie spun up from the shore within the mouth of the Burrum River at Burrum Heads.

Schoolies and spanish mackerel are still abundant out wide in the bay. They are giving the reef fishos hell out off Rooneys and at the Gutters. The odd out-of-season cobia has fronted up recently too, and bust ups of tuna can be seen whilst traveling out wide on some days.

As mentioned, this moon phase sees the local snapper fishos dusting off the snapper tackle. Our inshore hotspots are all pretty much shark infested, yet many will still pursue snapper when the weather and tides combine. Places such as the Sh#% Hole, the many reefs off Arch Cliffs, the Outer Banks, Moon Ledge, the Simpson and Roy Rufus Arti’s, the Burrum 8 and 12 Mile and even the Fairway Beacon can all see a run of snapper at some stage in the near future.

Our snapper move inshore and initially disperse in the hunt for food and suitable spawning grounds. Come winter, they will do their thing for the future of the species, and we should be doing our little bit as well. As we keep raving on about, our shark population is out of control (thanks Greens), and we need to do what we can to avoid them.

An increasingly popular option for some fishos is trolling. Dr Evil deep divers are now well proven on snapper and many other species such as trout, cod and trevally. It is time to tie on your deep divers and go slow-troll the ledges, gutters and rubble grounds out away from the known reefs. You can troll the reef systems as well of course, but this sort of defeats the purpose if you hook up in the vicinity of numbers of noahs.

Full Moon Rains a Boom for Crabbers

The wind and rain will undoubtedly frustrate plenty of keen crabbers this week. The full moon is prime time for both sand and mud crabs. There will be a tad too much breeze for sand crabbers to get out before the moon, and mud crabbers will be a little anxious about too much water flow should we get localised flooding in our creeks or rivers.

All the same, when conditions allow, the crabbing should be great. The muddies have made their way back into our estuaries and a flush of freshwater will see them back out in the main stream and mobile once again. Even without any fresh, the muddies will be hyperactive over the moon and should pot readily.

The latest word from sand crabbers out in the bay suggests that the eastern side of the bay is worth a crack. Pots chockas with fat sandies have been hauled up off Coongul and grounds further north. The central and western bay are also likely to continue producing sandies, so take your pick when the weather settles.

Prawners Anxious About Excess Rainfall

Whilst some may have failed to find the prawn in certain waters this week, on a whole, the great banana prawn run continues. Mobile prawn heading upstream may well be flushed back out if we get excessive rainfall, but if it is only minor flooding and localised run-off, then we will be reaping the benefits straight away.

Prawn burying when it throws its shell soon re-emerges bigger and juicier than ever. The recent neap tides left too much skinny water up on the mudflats and in drains in the lower reaches for the prawn to shelter. These bigger full moon tides will flush them out and they will be a vastly easier proposition for creek prawners.

With or without heavy rains, time spent seeking out mobile schools of prawn in the channels off our flats or just off certain beaches could pay dividends. Woodgate is the obvious example, though we will be waiting for the offshore winds before heading back up that way.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

The Australian Fly Fishing Podcast
Episode 3 - Rod "Harro" Harrison - Out Now!!

Harro with a ferociuos black bass from PNG. Pound for pound, one of the toughest fighting fish on the planet.

Episode Summary

Recently I got to talk with Rod Harrison, or "Harro" as he is affectionately known in the fishing community. Harro is one of Australia's true fishing legends. A man that has accomplished so much in the sport and given back just as much, inspiring countless anglers and putting Australia on the map for fly fishing. We delve into the early history of saltwater fly fishing and some of the pioneers involved such as Max Garth and Ron Pearson, the tackle that was being used, fisheries that were developed and the species caught and heard some great stories to fill in the dots and carbon date events between then and now.

Over the years he has written for publications such as Fishing World, Modern Fishing and FlyLife Magazine, published books and hosted television shows, all in the search of new exotic species and friendships to be forged. One of those friendships came in the form of the late great Lefty Kreh, one of the most influential anglers in modern fly fishing. Rod's relationship with Lefty opened a lot of doors in the US and around the world, where he was able to fish with and become mates with the likes of Dan Blanton, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics and many more iconic anglers.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it. Fly fishing in Australia wouldn't be the same without Harro's contributions and I feel privileged to be able to share some of these stories with you. Cheers - Josh Power

Click the link above to listen.
Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music etc

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