Well after a week of less than desirable weather, with a super cell rolling through last Thursday and ensuing rain and storms to follow up it’s good to finally see the weather gods have let up with conditions looking good for this coming weekend. Here in Hervey Bay we were quite lucky compared to some of our neighbouring towns when the super cell rolled through, mainly receiving heavy rainfalls and an impressive lightening show. The rain was certainly a welcome sight after such a dry winter and although a lot of the creeks and rivers are currently running dirty, the fishing in the coming weeks should go from strength to strength due to this much needed flush. Here’s hoping it’ll even bring on the prawns and muddies!
Due to the inclement weather over the past week, reports have been pretty limited from the offshore grounds. However with light winds and minimal swell predicted for this weekend, you can expect those with larger vessels to be out making the most of the good conditions. Due to the exceptional run of blue and striped marlin we’ve had over the last few weeks, heavy tackle crews will be trolling the grounds wide of Fraser Island working the continental shelf waters. If you want to have a look at some of this great action, check out the guys from Mistress Sportfishing they’ve been having some absolute cracker sessions.
For reef fisho’s heading out wider, the Gutters and beyond will be a possibility with everything from red emperor, coral trout and tuskies to sweetlip, cod and snapper on offer this time of year. You can also expect some big cobia and mackerel out that way, which can be a nuisance at times. Those fishing the shoals country over the Breaksea Spit can expect catches of red emperor, red throat, tuskies, maori cod, hussar and pearlies along with cobia and snapper.
As water temperatures continue to rise, sharks will become a big issue again on these grounds. Make sure if they do start to harass you to move on as there in no sense in feeding them and wasting fish, in turn doing damage to fish populations on the reef.
Juvenile black marlin will be on the minds of those with smaller vessels fishing light tackle, with a few more sightings around the Rooney’s area of late. It’s still early days for this year’s season but now is the time to start looking. Trolling a spread of lures/baits behind a teaser is the most productive method and will allow you to cover a large area. Smaller skirts in the 5-7” range are common place (Pakula Micro Sprockets, Micro Cockroaches etc) with rigged baits of skipping gar and swimming gar also extremely effective. As fish numbers increase, the chance of sight casting one of these little blacks on the gin clear flats will also increase. Have a circle hook rigged and ready to pitch a gar or livie or even a stickbait or 5-6” soft plastic in front of them and get ready for some line burning fun and a great acrobatic display. This can be done on a 7ft spin rod with a 4000 to 5000 size reel spooled with 20-30lb braid, typically what you’d use to chase tuna or spotties in the bay so there’s no need for specialised gear.
Mac tuna have been fairly prolific throughout the bay’s waters from Kingfisher Jetty up to Moon Point, throughout Platypus Bay and the central bay. Small schools of longtail tuna are becoming more common and can be found feeding on small bait at present. Small metal slugs like the Halco Outcast are a great option when the tuna are being finicky and feeding on such small bait, the jellybean like profile of the Outcast is often the perfect match and still allows you to maintain a long cast.
Inshore reefs such as the Roy Rufus Artificial Reef will benefit after the recent flush of our rivers and creeks. The slightly dirtied waters will allow predators such as coral trout to feed more aggressively and move around more freely. Pelagic fish such as queenfish and trevally will be a good target along the dirty water lines as they pick of bait that’d been washed out. Working soft plastics and stickbaits around these dirty water lines can be quite effective and great fun on lighter tackle.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
Flats adjacent to river and creek mouths that are running fresh after a decent rainfall are often a great option to target bigger predatory fish such as barramundi and threadfin salmon. Threadies and barra will congregate in these areas to take advantage of an easy feed as prawns and baitfish are flushed out. Species like grunter are also available as they will push out in search of waters with higher salinity levels. Building tides on the lead up to the full moon should see whiting fishing kick it up a notch. The flats around Moon Point and down towards Turkey Straits are popular haunts for ‘ting fishermen. Just take care at night (when you’ll often find the best whiting fishing) for any floating debris flushed out after the rain. Flathead should also be more active on the flats on the western side of Fraser so why not flick some soft plastics or troll a small hardbody. Mud crabs will be a good possibility so why not load up the pots and have a crack. There were a few whispers of prawn in the Mary before the rains, so hopefully numbers should only increase in the coming weeks.
Town Beaches & Urangan Pier
With the approaching full moon on Wednesday the bigger tides will see whiting school up along the town beaches. At present the water is a bit discoloured after the recent rains which see the whiting feeding more actively and are not as easily spooked. The last set of big tides saw some huge schools of whiting from Torquay to Urangan along with big schools of herring which also brought in some of the bigger predators like queenfish. If you’ve got a quality pair of polarised sunglasses, from the local jetties you can often see the queenies tearing around gorging themselves on the herring. It can be quite a spectacle watching 1m+ of queenfish making bait shower and scatter trying to avoid becoming a meal.
There have been some good reports over the last few days of quality grunter at the Urangan Pier. Due to the freshwater pushing through the Straits don’t be surprised if you come across a few out of the ordinary catches such as threadfin salmon as well.
The rocks at Gatakers Bay and Pt Vernon would also be worth a shot particularly after this recent rainfall. Bream and grunter become a good target and respond well to fresh strips of mullet, herring, whole prawns or even a well presented soft plastic.
A quick call to Rob Howell from Lake Monduran Guideline Fishing Charters revealed that last weekend was pretty tough fishing on Mondy, however things had really turned around over the last few days. At the time of writing, Robs boat had landed 13 fish this morning alone. Another couple staying at the park had landed 17 barra over the last few days. The fishing should continue to fire over the next week or so with the lead up to the full moon, this time last year really turned it on. It seems the best results have come from fishing the points around the first cut through with suspending hardbodies such as the Jackall Squirrel 79SP Hank Tune. Insane Bay, Heart Bay and Pig Trap have all been worth a look and have been consistently holding fish. Depending on which way the wind swings over the weekend, Bird Bay could be worth a look too.
Make sure you also check out the the Bundaberg Toyota Golden Barra Competition which is on from the 1st of November to 31st of January at Lake Monduran. This is a FREE entry competition with some seriously good prizes on offer. For the lucky angler that catches the golden barra there’s $15000 cash up for grabs, a Polycraft boat package for the angler who catches the white barra and a swag of great prizes for silver barra including a Viking kayak, a Humminbird sounder, $3000 worth of tackle from Wilson Fishing and much more.
Good luck out there y’all.