Well, there goes yet another summer. And what a hot one it was! The cool change last week was certainly a welcome one, as were the good rains locally which will do wonders for our fisheries heading into autumn and winter.
It looks like we are in for some great weather this week, with light winds, generally from the east, dominating the next few days and the weekend ahead. Couple these conditions with Friday’s full moon and we have a recipe for some potentially great fishing here on the Fraser Coast.
The full moon is going to cause some serious tidal run, so bust out the high speed spinning gear and head for Platypus Bay if sportsfishing for pelagics is your thing. Tuna numbers have been on the increase throughout the central, eastern and northern bay over the past couple of weeks, and the big tides will get them on the chew.
Those choosing to spend the night up the island or out in the central bay can expect some good scarlets during the evening and very early morning. Be mindful of the "minor" and "major" bite times in particular and take good quality squid, herring and/or banana prawn baits for these tasty reefies. Fish as light as you can and try a suspended, or slowly-sinking bait, for the bigger models.
No doubt a few crews will head for the Gutters due to the good weather. Reports from here lately suggest the area has been heavily pressured, particularly for coral trout, but you can still expect a brief but intense bite from a mix of reefies from this area. Unfortunately those dreaded sharks have had a devastating impact on some of the more popular reefs, and you can expect them to be at their worst with the stronger tidal flow.
As freshwater from recent minor flooding pushes its way into our lower bay area, you can expect a range of species to become very active on our local reefs as they move in to feast on the prawns and baitfish pushed out by the fresh. Sweetlip and squire will be found in the channels fringing the bay islands, but you will have to time your fishing to contend with the large tidal flow.
Grunter will escape the dirty water and will settle onto many inshore reefs and rubble patches including the Burrum 8 Mile, the Burrum Drop-Off, the Fairway grounds, and the ledges along the inside of Fraser south of Kingfisher.
Coral trout and estuary cod will take live bait, a tea-bagged plastic or micro-jig over a number of the better inshore reefs and ledges. Again, you will have to time your assault for the turn of tide to access these species.
Huge GTs continue to stretch your heaviest tackle on the arti shipwrecks. It sounds like there are just enough mackerel around inshore to annoy the reef fishos, so either troll a suitable hardbody or fish livies, pillies or fresh squid mid-water over your favourite reef if it is holding baitfish. Queenfish have been active inshore recently and will patrol the deeper drop-offs and bay islands, as well as some flats along the inside of Fraser where the dirty and clean water intersperse.
Decent GTs will be active on these big tides, so for those with big bloopers, stickbaits and the tackle to toss them, try the current lines running off the bay islands and the ledges along the inside of Fraser. Flood tides late in the day will likely produce the best.
Trolling diving hardbodies along the reefs fringing Woody Island or near Round Island and the Pt Vernon - Pialba reefs will be worth a try for those getting out early in the morning. Coral trout will of course be the main target, but if you slow down you will get the odd estuary cod, and don’t be surprised if you hook a barra, jack or grunter off the mainland reefs.
Great Sandy Straits
Estuary-wise, the Straits will be the go for anglers at present due to the dirty water spewing out of our river systems. Many of the mainland creeks are only affected by local rainfall, so look for shorter systems that don’t get a lot of run-off if you plan to fish a creek. Otherwise, fish the lower reaches of the larger systems and the adjacent feeder channels for threadies, grunter and barra, and look for areas holding small prawns and baitfish.
Queenies and smallish GTs will be found at places such as Ungowa and along similar ledges. In fact, many of Fraser’s western creeks will be flowing fresh, so look to target the ledge systems out the front of these creeks for species such as cod, grunter, salmon, barra and queenies. Threadies will be particularly active where the jelly prawns are amassed, although they may be frustratingly difficult to tempt as is usually the case when they are feasting on jelly.
Whiting anglers will find good quality fish along the banks outside the creeks of the Turkey Straits, where again they will be revelling in the jelly prawn feast. Bream will be another option for light tackle enthusiasts around the rocky areas.
This latest rainfall is bound to produce a bonanza of banana prawns for our traditional autumn season. Many will have washed out of the rivers and creeks, so make sure you take the cast net and look for prawns coming off the flats and near creek mouths, as well as in the holes off large drains in the creeks themselves.
Crabs will be on the move due to the fresh as well. Sandies could turn up in the main channels of the Straits, or off Urangan, but will be even better out in the bay. Look for muddies in the lower reaches of any system that is not pure fresh, or along the banks outside these creek systems.
Mary & Susan River System
Minor flooding in the Mary River catchment is coming down the river at present, suggesting that it will be best left until the waters settle. The Susan, Bunya and Little Susan could be worth a look for threadies, though even these systems will be very fresh. Try the big gutters in the River Heads area for now, or simply venture into the Straits.
If crabbing in the Mary/Susan, ensure your pots are well-weighted and/or attached to structure so they don’t wash away with the big current expected with the full moon ebb tide and extra floodwaters.
Burrum River System
The Burrum system has also received a reasonable fresh from very minor flooding. You may find active fish such as barra and jacks as they move with the baitfish and seek out best water quality, as reports prior to the latest rains were good from the mid reaches. The Burrum Heads area itself will be most popular, and from reports since the rains you can expect queenfish, barra and prawns from that area.
Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier
GTs are the only consistent large predator reported from the Urangan Pier lately, though there is a substantial amount of herring schooled up there at present due to a line of cleaner water holding along Dayman Spit. Undoubtedly this will change given time. Don’t be too surprised to catch large grunter, threadies or jewies from the pier at present, or from Urangan beaches at night.
Whiting anglers could try the beaches from Urangan to Scarness, or the flats out the front of Eli Creek over the higher stages of the tide using yabbies, worms or small prawns. The lower tide period would be the time for those armed with whiting poppers to hit the beach flats outside our local creeks.
So, great weather, huge tides and localised floodwater run-off. Plenty of opportunities for all, just choose your timing appropriately. By all means feel free to let us know of your latest and greatest captures, or if you would like any other information from our weekly fishing reports.
Good luck out there y’all.