Glass Out This Weekend
Putting the past week of westerlies and moderate breezes behind us we can now look forward to a few days of sensational weather. Friday, Saturday and Sunday look outstanding, with light winds below 10 knots and sunny skies.
We can thank a weakening high pressure system for the pending glass out and once it passes we will see a few more days of moderate westerlies till the next high comes across from the west late next week.
The stable barometer and big tides courtesy of tonight’s full moon should see a great bite from a large range of fish species, with reef and beach fishos in particular likely to score well this weekend.
Reds on the Chew Offshore
Offshore waters will be popular for those with larger vessels. With the grounds both north and south of Fraser fishing extremely well of late and the swell dropping off we would expect most crews to do quite well in coming days. Watch out for humpbacks both day and night as there are big numbers offshore at present.
Going on recent catches, the close grounds off the Wide Bay Bar should fish well for snapper, pearlies, sweetlip, cod and scarlets. Look for aggregations of yakkas and slimeys over reef or rubble country and catch them and use live or butterflied for best results.
The wider grounds off D.I. and Fraser have been fishing well for red emperor in recent weeks and the moon above over coming nights should see them on the chew. Moon down in the mornings should be equally productive. Big baits kept right on the bottom is the go for reds, with whole mullet fillets, split-tailed hussar fillets, tiger squid heads and whole/live yakkas all being favourite baits for many red specialists.
The reds have been on the chew over the Breaksea Spit and further north towards Lady Elliot Island as well. Be disciplined and resist striking at the pickers and you will encourage the reds to take your bait. Depending upon where you fish and at what depths will dictate what you catch up that way at present.
An exhaustive list of reefies is possible from the shoal country and sub-100m grounds further north. Reds, scarlets, green jobfish, snapper, red throat, coronation trout, blue maori, brown maori, estuary cod, coronation trout, venus tuskfish, goldspot wrasse, moses perch and hussar are all possible amongst others.
Drift the 100m drop off at the top of the shelf and you can add some tasty pearlies, more snapper, rosy jobfish, ruby jobfish and iron jaw to the creel, with the odd big tusky, brown maori and soul-destroying amberjack also possible. Head even deeper and deploy the electric reels or winches and you may find the same jobfishes, bigger pearlies, snapper, bar cod or perhaps the photogenic flame snapper if you go deep enough.
Bay Snapper & Reefies
This full moon period would normally see a great run of snapper out at the Gutters and off Rooneys. The poor season so far has been tough, but hopefully we get a late run of fish to make up for the past couple of months. Night sessions or dawn assaults are best up that way for the knobbies, as they tend to roam during the day and feed over the reefs during low light periods. Plastics and jigs will both score snapper, but make sure you back off on the leader size compared to what you would use for trout.
The usual mix of reefies are possible from the above grounds that include scarlets, trout, cod, parrot, grassies, spangled emperor and perhaps a red or some cranky old reef jacks. Big oversized cobia can create a bit of chaos at times and you will find the trevally and small amberjack in big numbers in some places.
The 25 Fathom Hole has been disappointing so far this snapper season, but being ever-optimistic one would hope for some better knobbies turning up this moon. The lack of yakkas has been an issue till now, so if you rock up and the yakkas are scarce, chances are the snapper will be too. Other isolated sites within the central bay have produced a few snapper for those in the know, but even these carefully guarded secret spots are only productive when the baitfish are in the vicinity.
Over in Platypus Bay it has been a matter of sounding out your chosen locations looking for bait schools and attending snapper and trevally. The trevors won’t take too much tracking down, it is more a matter of identifying the species for those chasing goldies and diamonds versus the rest. Micro jigs and plastics will both produce, as will live baits and lightly weighted dead baits wafted slowly down a berley trail.
The big tides should see some action from big longtails deep in the water column around the bait schools. Large queenfish and even the odd school of yellowtail kings can be found up in Platypus this time of year. Some of the best fishing can often be in the shallower country quite close to the beach off Wathumba too, so don’t neglect the closer grounds particularly if fishing after dark.
Mackerel Arrive Inshore
Inshore snapper fishing continues to be quite tough. Having said this there have been a handful of decent knobbies pulled from local reefs recently. The westerlies this week gave them some reprieve from boating traffic and if the baitfish have moved inshore then the snapper shouldn’t be far behind. Try spots such as the Burrum 8 or 12 Mile, the Outer banks, Moon Ledge, Mickies or the Roy Rufus arti.
School mackerel have started to move down the west coast of the bay. Numbers of small schoolies can be found off the Burrum coastline all the way down to Gatakers Bay at present. There are a lot of undersized mackerel in the mix so take care to release the juvies unharmed. We can expect mackerel numbers to swell significantly over coming weeks and they offer great light tackle sport and an easy feed for many.
Trolling high speed minnows of various types can help you to track down the schools of mackerel. Smaller lures averaging 110-140mm in length seem to be best for schoolies, whereas the bigger 150-200mm models are preferred for the spanish. There have been a few spanish moving down with the schoolies too, quite often predating on the juvenile schoolies.
The more active fisho will usually chase the local mackerel species with metal spoons spun from the depths at speed. Flashas and the like are the most popular, but Halco Twisties and other slug styled patterns also work if you have a dedicated high speed spin reel. Bait fishos typically favour the humble old pillie dressed with a set of gangs, though herring, pike, yakkas and white squid are all deadly in the right spots. Live baits will beat dead baits hands down.
Winter whiting are still an option for those chasing a feed of these sweet little scrappers. The recent westerlies changed the game a little and likely moved the whiting schools. Grounds worth trying include the channel within the go-slow zone south of the harbour, the fringes of the shipping channel out from Torquay, the entrances to the big gutters south of Moon, the Bait Grounds and the grounds off Toogoom and O’Reagans. The handy 2x3 bait jigs we told you about recently certainly make the task of catching a bag of winteries a whole lot easier, especially if spiked with a slither of squid or GULP worm.
Gin Clear Water Down The Straits – Night Sessions Best
The gin clear waters throughout the straits has made for fairly tough fishing for many. The bigger tides of the full moon period will help to improve this situation. Night sessions are also more productive at present, especially for those chasing summer whiting, bream and jew. There are also quite a few pencil squid and the odd tiger squid down the straits that are drawn to the lights of your boat, so make sure you have some squid jigs on board at all times.
Night sessions chasing "summer" whiting will be productive for those sneaking up onto the flats over the full moon tides. Yabbies, worms and even GULP Neris Sandworms will all score you a feed. How successful your session will be will depend upon the movements of local commercial netters in your chosen area. If you are getting no action then move, and move elsewhere if necessary.
Jewfish should make an appearance at River Heads over the full moon tides. As you know, live baits will entice them over the turn of tide, as will soft vibes or soft plastics hopped of the bottom. Nocturnal anglers can pick up the odd jewie on shallow running hardbodies or paddle-tailed plastics from the shore at night.
Flathead are a primary target down the straits and in the lower reaches of the rivers. The bigger draining tides auger well for those chasing lizards around the many creek mouths, drains and shallow rock bars. The last of the ebb and the early flood offer the best ambush opportunities for the lizards and should be when you seek them out.
Blue salmon numbers are quite healthy in the deeper holes within the lower-mid reaches of the rivers. Soft vibes score the best numbers, worked erratically up from the bottom all the way to the surface. Use your sounder to find them and the rest is dead easy. Expect the odd jewie, threadie, mini GTs, flathead and dirty old catties whilst vibing the holes.
Big Burrum Whiting & Fun Sized Pelagics
Big summer whiting are being caught with some regularity within the Burrum system. The area from the Gregory to the Isis is certainly worth a look. Night sessions up on the flats will be most productive but you can also score a few in the deeper channels during the day.
Fun sized queenies and GTs in the mid reaches are there in small schools offering a bit of fun for you and the kids. Flatties are a chance along the edges adjacent to drains or along the muddy banks draining the flats. Don’t be surprised if you spot a few squid in the rivers either as they tend to roam well upstream when the conditions are so clear.
Fraser’s Tailor Season In Full Swing
Fraser Island Retreat at Happy Valley has their annual "Fraser Island Tailor Season Weigh-In" in full swing at present. For a minimal $5 entry (that supports the Lifeline charity) you can weigh in your best tailor for a crack at the major prizes and get an entry for the lucky draw prizes as well. This local charity fundraiser concludes 4th October, so give them your support if you are in the area.
Word from the crew at Fraser Island Retreat is that the great run of tailor continues, but has slowed in places over the past few days. The late mail is that the stretch of beach from north of the Maheno to The Cathedrals is the place to be in the mornings, whilst the evening bite has been better between Happy Valley and Yidney Rocks. Those that ventured further north (yet still south of the headlands) failed to produce this week.
The hooks were pulled on a couple of good jewies in the vicinity of Yidney Rocks recently, suggesting that area might be worth a look over the full moon nights. A spanish mackerel was landed in the Happy Valley area this week, most likely slide-baiting. Bream and tarwhine have been regular captures from any exposed rocks along the beach of late and some nice sand whiting are possible from the low tide gutters and melon holes.
Beach travel is good for the most part, but Yidney and Poyungan Rocks are only passable at low tide. Worming is still tough, but pippies are becoming easier to collect.
A few small tailor were caught again this week from the low tide gutters in the Eurong area. A feed of whiting has also been possible from the shallow gutters along that strip of beach.
Crews that ventured north to Sandy Cape drone-fishing found the fishing extremely quiet. Baits were being retrieved untouched in the gin clear waters, and not even the sharks wanted to play the game. The only good news from that northern sector of the island was that Nkgala Rocks can be passed at low tide (which is a rarity) and the whale watching was spectacular.
A couple of crews have ventured through the island to the western side and have found good numbers of whiting and flathead around the Awinya Creek area and down around Moon Creek.
Good luck out there y’all.