We’ve just enjoyed a fairly decent week of weather and can look forward to a couple more great days to come. This weekend looks great with light winds before things turn sour for a few days early next week. Combine such great conditions with the big tides of this week’s new moon and there’s plenty to be excited about this weekend.
The Bay & Offshore
Time & Tide Charters has had another good week of it over the bar, fishing northeast of Fraser and beyond for a great mix of shelf-dwelling species such as pearlies, jobbies and snapper. The sharks have given them a particularly hard time in some areas, but not everywhere. Big moses perch, large hussar and a mix of other reefies such as red throats and green jobbies have been on the chew in shallower waters offshore, plus some more big jacks taken float-lining at night. Their last crew had the somewhat odd experience of catching spanish mackerel in the dark after rigging with wire following constant bite-offs whilst float-lining. Those fishing from trailer boats offshore had to keep on the move constantly to avoid the noahs, which is a frustrating thing when the large reefies are chewing so well.
Back in on the Gutters and there have been plenty of cobia willing to smash a livie, large bait or a lure. The cobes can be found in schools in their smaller size class, with the bigger 30kg+ models more often loners or swimming with a couple of mates of similar size. They are great sport no matter the size, and are a great catch and release candidate due to their general all round toughness. Expect a few cobia to turn up off Rooneys as well, and keep an eye out for them in coming weeks as they filter further down into the bay.
Spanish mackerel are still active at the Gutters, and schools of small (10kg+) yellowfin tuna can be found out that way as well. Trout have been copping a hiding and aren’t at their usual numbers in some parts, but there are plenty of sweetlip and a mix of other reefies such as scarlets, spangled emperor, parrot, hussar and cod for variety. Snapper will start to increase in numbers out their now, particularly over bigger tide phases early in the morning and into the evening, with smaller squire an easy catch away from the main reefs in some areas.
Tri Ton of Fraser Guided Fishing has been having some fun both locally and up the island in Platypus Bay. He tells us that there have been some big schools of yakkas moving into the bay, along with plenty of bonito schools, which is great news for those looking to start targeting snapper up that way soon. Tri has been finding big golden trevally willing to take both micro jigs and plastics, along with a few scattered longtail tuna. The big longies have favoured a sub-surface presentation to a surface one quite consistently of late, so sinking stickbaits and plastics sound like the go at present. The best news from Tri has been that the dreaded sharks have started to back off in Platypus Bay, which is fantastic as trying to target snapper on light gear with sharks in the area would be just plain silly. If you would like to keep up to date with Tri’s antics and see what he’s been catching then you can look him up on Facebook.
Back inshore and there have been some large schools of mack tuna in the shipping channels and further down the Straits. These fish are fussy, flighty, nervous and downright spooky, making them almost a fly-only target at times, though stealth, persistence and tiny lures can win out if you’ve got the stamina. Broad-barred mackerel are a much easier target if you can find them, and some areas to start looking would be up on the flats around the bay islands and over the nearby reefs, along with the ledges down Kingfisher way.
Snapper numbers are still yet to impress, but if you were ever in with a more than even chance at a knobbie inshore at this time of year then it would be during the dark of the moon tides that we have right now. Well-known reefs such as the Roy Rufus arti and Moon Ledge will be popular, as will the Burrum 8 Mile and the Outer Banks. Bait fishos will need to time their assault around the turn of tide, or be prepared to anchor well upstream of their target area and float-line back to the snapper. A little berley can be quite effective, but only for the short period of slack water, or when sent to the bottom in a "berley bomb" during the tide.
Those chasing winter whiting have mainly been concentrating their efforts along the coastline from Gatakers Bay to Toogoom. Good catches have been a lot more regular this week, though it seems the whiting are moving about, so be prepared to check different areas each time you head out. Again, as is so often the case, those that get their quota of larger fish quickest are those that find their own little patch of fish away from the other boats.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
Large bream are the main catch out at River Heads at the moment, and plenty of them. By most reports, there is a current run of 35cm+ fish that are fairly ravenous and easy to catch. A couple of decent cod have been landed from the rocks out there along with the odd flattie. Jewies continue to be heavily targeted, and a few more have been landed again this week. It sounds like the tailor and mackerel have yet to show for shore-based fishos at the heads but they won’t be far off, so make sure you have some spoons in your kit if heading out that way.
Bull sharks are a serious threat to any hooked fish in the heads area at present, somewhat more-so that in the past. This could well be due to the increased fishing activity in the area, but whatever the case, take this into account when handling fish destined for release.
The schools of big bream certainly aren’t restricted to just the heads, with most large rocky areas in the rivers’ lower reaches and throughout the Straits producing some exceptional catches. Flathead numbers are also on the increase, and the drains and creek mouths of the Straits are the places to flick a lure during the run out and early flood tides.
Look for surface bust-ups within the confines of the creeks and these will usually be created by blue salmon, whilst those bust-ups over the flats and in the channels of the Straits could be blues, tailor or even broadies. You should always have squid jigs on board this time of year, and keep a constant vigil for any sign of the inky delights when boating throughout the Straits.
The crew at Fraser Island Retreat have reported some decent surf fishing from Fraser’s legendary beaches this week. It sounds like Yidney Rocks has been the place to be for a feed of bream, whilst the gutters in front of Happy Valley itself have produced some lovely whiting and a few decent jewies. Dart have been scattered along the island’s beaches in the better gutters. Those chasing sand worms are doing quite well, but eugaries (pippies) are quite scarce.
Back on the western side of Fraser, Kingfisher Bay Resort’s jetty has been producing bream, flathead and squid, with a few jewies, mackerel and mack tuna nearby for boaties.
Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier
Out at the Urangan Pier it is still all about the bream for the light line brigade. Some great fish can be expected out there both day and night. If fishing during the evening, then smaller baits can be productive, but during the day it can pay to use larger baits of whole butterflied herring or similar to withstand the constant attention of the smaller bream and other pickers.
Squid are a chance from the pier over winter, so take a squid jig or two with you if heading out there, and look for the squid adjacent to pylons or over the gravelly areas of the first channel on your way out or back. Similarly, if walking the rocky shores of Pt Vernon or the harbour walls then take a squid jig and keep an eye out.
Good luck out there y’all.