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Weekly Fishing Report - 19th September 2019

Classic Spring Weather And A Chance Of Rain

That cold blast a week or so back is easily forgotten with the onset of spring weather over the past week. The strong northerlies did little for offshore boaties but certainly got the dam fishos and the estuary anglers quite excited.

The next few days (including the weekend) look quite reasonable for our sheltered inshore waters and for the western extremities of Hervey Bay. Winds of less than 15 knots are forecast from mostly the east and northeast.

It actually looks like a trough approaching from the west could bring some rain in the form of storms and showers by about Wednesday. Don’t hold your breath, but here’s hoping for at least enough to settle the dust.

Offshore Crews Gearing Up For Billfish Season

Whilst opportunities for accessing offshore grounds were certainly limited last week, the bigger boats took on a bit of weather looking for early season billfish. Juvenile black marlin were found in reasonable numbers southeast of Sandy Cape.

The heavy tackle crews are gearing up for the upcoming blue marlin season wide of Fraser and if this year is anything like the last couple then they are in for a great time out there. We will keep you posted as the season progresses, but for now it is a matter of scanning the SST charts for the right water and waiting for a weather window for those fishing from smaller offshore vessels.

Pelagic activity will increase dramatically offshore as the northeasterlies become more dominant. Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi, sailfish and juvie blacks are all likely candidates for those trolling pushers and divers  north and east of Fraser.

Many years ago, sailfish numbers were astounding off the 13 Mile bar crossing this time of year but they haven’t seemed to gain much attention in recent years. Perhaps this year a return of the sails could see our ever-growing fleet of budding game fishos getting into these spectacular sport fish. Sails have been sighted free-swimming and herding up bait balls around the 13 Mile recently which suggests some are in the area. Stand by for updates in coming weeks.

Platypus Bay Offers Calmer Waters This Weekend

Reef fishos didn’t get much of an opportunity this past week due to the strong northerlies. The weather right now and throughout the weekend suggests the eastern bay waters and the grounds off Rooneys will be worth a look for those chasing a feed of reefies or some sub-surface sportsfishing.

Big golden and diamond trevally can be found around bait schools aggregated over certain reef country in Platypus Bay and are great fun on the spin gear. A mix of other "lesser" trevally species is highly likely from a large number of similar locations up that way, offering a great option for those looking to entertain the kids and teach them how to work plastics and jigs.

A late season snapper is definitely on the cards for those heading up the island, and although they are always a better option over the spring tides in lieu of the neaps, they usually respond well this time of year to all techniques as they feed up prior to their exodus from the bay. The new moon period in a week or so will offer us perhaps our last serious crack at the knobbies, though there will always be a few stragglers and squire that will stay on in the bay.

Schoolies Galore Inshore

Those that snuck out locally once the northerlies backed off found good numbers of school mackerel. The reefs off the Burrum, the rubble grounds off Gatakers/Dundowran, the local beacons and artificial reefs have all become home to schools of marauding mackerel.

If you are not an experienced mackerel fisho who can drive straight to a likely patch, then you might consider the trolling option to enable you to track down the schools. Dragging a couple of high-speed diving lures around at somewhere between 6 and 9 knots will see you cover plenty of country. So long as your lures are tracking straight and you concentrate your efforts in the shipping channels, along drop offs, around structures such as beacons or reefs then you are bound to get some hook-ups.

Flasha spoons and Mack Specials are the local favourites for the more energetic mackerel fishos, though a range of other metal lures will also work so long as you retrieve them fast enough. Sinking the spoons/slugs to the bottom and cranking back flat chat is the key and results in some heart-stopping strikes.

Reef fishos should find a feed fairly easily inshore in the spells between the northerly blows. Less boat traffic and angler effort caused by the northerlies, combined with the smaller number of sharks equates to more fish for those that put in the effort. Night sessions often give way to dawn sessions this time of year due to the increasingly common afternoon/evening sea breeze.

Snapper, squire, some surprisingly good quality sweetlip, blackall, cod and trout are all likely candidates for a fresh bait or appropriate lure this time of year. The neaps may not trigger their feeding response like the springs will in a week’s time, but if you concentrate your efforts around likely spots holding good bait sources then you are in with a chance.

Bread & Butter Species Abound

The strong northerlies restricted boating access; however, some serious catches of whiting were scored from local waters over the recent full moon. Those that ventured over to the flats and feeder creeks along the inside of Fraser did well both day and night, whilst catches from the gutters and mangrove fringes out from River Heads did not disappoint.

The neap tides this weekend are probably better spent chasing species other than whiting till the approach of the new moon. However, if you simply must use the ultra light gear over the neaps then you are more likely to get a positive reponse from the whiting working poppers and mini stickies than bait fishing, as this sort of technique appeals more to the whiting’s aggressive nature than its need to feed.

Don’t write-off the bream fishing just yet either. Stacks of bream can still be found milling around the rocky outcrops down the straits and around our local rocky foreshores. A bit of berley will bring big numbers to the back of the boat and lightly-weighted baits will be their undoing. Pikey bream will also be on the chew for those favouring the mangrove-lined feeder creeks of the Mary and Susan rivers.

It is prime flathead time right now and you can enjoy some sensational sight-fishing for these sneaky critters for a few weeks to come. Focus your efforts inside the creeks along the western shores of Fraser or the many creeks and feeder channels down the straits over the smaller neap tides for best results. Do not forget the Bushmans! The sandflies and mozzies welcome the spring with a vengeance and any sign of rain will take them to the next level.

Time To Seek Out The Big Estuary Predators

These spring-time northerlies that bay and offshore boaties despise so much are the very thing the local estuary fishos have been looking forward to. Longer sunny days and northerlies mean warmer conditions and that means the big river trio is back on the play list. Barra, threadies and mangrove jacks all respond very positively to the first warming rays of spring.

The jacks won’t be nearly as keen as the barra or salmon till it warms a little further, though they are certainly a viable target from now on. For those unfamiliar with chasing jacks in these parts, it is the four rivers of the Burrum system and the creeks inside Fraser or down the straits that you need to focus on. Forget the Mary/Susan, as although a few are caught each year, the catches from these rivers are insignificant in comparison.

Barra and salmon are likely from the Mary or Susan or their tributaries. They are also likely from within the creek systems down the straits so long as the water thereabouts is not too clear. A few salmon can be found within the Burrum system, but only small numbers, whilst the barra up that way can dominate certain stretches of river at times.

Schools of small GTs and queenies can be found in the mid reaches of the Burrum River and its feeder rivers. Small plastics are the easiest way to catch these guys and offer the least harmful release. Surface-feeding schools of large tarpon are quite obvious at times in the Burrum system and offer a ton of fun for the kids.

Whiting On The Beaches And Mackerel At The Pier

The full moon run of whiting along the local town beaches failed to disappoint. Many a good feed is still being enjoyed, though they may be a bit harder to tempt till the tides build again. Night sessions produced at times, whilst it was early morning sessions that turned up the better fish on other occasions. The approach of the new moon net week should see them stir into action again. Till then, try poppers and mini stickies over the shallow flats off Eli, Urangan or the Booral Flats.

Latest reports from the Urangan Pier have been of school mackerel, bonito and the odd bluefin tuna. A stray grunter is on the cards for whiting fishos using yabbies at night in the shallows, though they are fairly uncommon. Keep an eye out for flatties lurking near the pylons on your way out the pier and drop a live bait nearby and watch them eat it.

Great Barra Fishing At Monduran

Lake Monduran turned it on for barra fishos over the full moon. The days prior were a little slow courtesy of a change of weather, but once the winds settled in to a consistent northeasterly it was on. Suspending hardbodies are doing the most damage up there at present and will continue to do so. Don’t let anyone tell you that they won’t take a surface lure either as the bigger Mondy barra are quite partial to a slow-blooped popper or walking stickie.

The size of the barra is on the improve also, with a few fish in the 90’s caught this week. It will only be a matter of time before metre+ barra are gracing brag mats up that way. Schools of barra in the 60-75cm range are most common, though there are stacks of tiny rats in the mix and enough over 80 to test your reflexes in the timber.

Mondy is set to produce some exciting barra fishing this spring, so have your gear ready to head up there any time the weather looks favourable. By this we mean consistent wind direction and sunny skies. Stormy weather can produce incredible bites but can have its issues too with cooling effects of rain and wild wind swings. Avoid cooler cloudy weather and major wind changes.

This weekend should be a blinder. Northeasterlies for much of the past week giving way to easterlies is a recipe Mondy barra should relish. Head up the back of the dam by all means, but you are likely to find that the smaller bays and their points in the mid section from Bird to C Bay will produce the bigger numbers. The upper reaches will fire up as the water gets a bit warmer.

Good luck out there y’all.

 

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