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Weekly Fishing Report - 1st October 2020

Oct 1, 2020

A solid Hervey Bay longtail caught on a charter with Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing

Light-Moderate Onshore Breezes for the Week Ahead

Light northerly sea breezes today and tomorrow will give way to a spell of light to moderate easterly winds for much of the week ahead. The forecast looks great for those heading up the inside of Fraser or down the Great sandy Straits.

Friday night’s full moon means spring tides, but the full moon tides this time of year are not overly large. Good tidal flow will see plenty of action on the flats and on the local reefs, as well as stirring up the bay’s pelagics.

Holiday-Makers Having a Ball Out on Urangan Pier

As reported last week, the Urangan Pier has been the local hotspot for shore-based fishos chasing pelagics. The action has been thick and fast some days, but quieter during spells of stiffer northerly winds. The pier should continue to fish well for the remainder of the school holidays and through the coming long weekend.

A mix of pelagics are turning up most days to wreak havoc upon the hapless herring schools. Packs of mack tuna continue to rush the tightly-packed herring, whilst plenty of school mackerel are in attendance to pick off the wounded stragglers. A few spanish mackerel have turned up at times out the end, and queenfish have been making feeding forays along the full length of the pier at differing stages of the tide.

The odd golden trevally has fallen victim to a live bait over the past week. Those big bruising giant trevally are a constant menace / challenge beneath the pylons for those with the gear to extract them, and big longtail tuna are a distinct possibility in the afternoons this week coming.

So much action on an almost daily basis has drawn quite a crowd, so contending with tangles and hot-running fish can be entertaining or perhaps frustrating to some. A little patience and co-operation from pier-goers generally sees most fish landed without too much fuss, but you can expect the odd lost fish in such a crowded environment.

Those spinning spoons have been scoring well on the mackerel and the odd queenie, whilst live baiters have managed to catch all species at times. This melee of pelagic activity offers those without a boat an opportunity to test their skills with a range of other artificial presentations such as stick baits, plastics or vibes, on a range of large fish rarely encountered whilst standing on terra-firma (or at least an extension thereof).

The full moon tides have also got the whiting fishos out and about, with many opting for the short walk option along the beach-end of the pier during the evenings. Word of late is that there is a lot of smaller whiting about at present, though a feed is still easily managed if you are prepared to put in the effort. Weed is a bit of an issue at times, so be prepared to up and move if it gets too bad in your chosen location.

It is a similar scene along our local town beaches, with plenty of keen youngsters and their folks stretching their legs looking for feeding whiting along the Torquay – Urangan strip. The last couple of hours of the flood tide and, often even better, the first hour or so of the ebb, sees the most action from our whiting. The local creeks and flats also offer a crack at the whiting for those that can handle a few midgies and mozzies.

Full Moon Fun for Adrenalin Junkies Up the Inside of Fraser

As everybody now knows, the waters up inside the northern parts of Fraser Island offer us a crack at baby black marlin this time of year. Reports have been few so far, but we would certainly expect anyone finding fish this early to keep it to themselves. Light northerlies, followed by a stint of easterlies on the back side of the full moon would suggest it is worth a look for a billy up towards Rooneys.

Choose to scout the skinny water of the flats or the fringes thereof, or take a more traditional path and cruise the contours and bait highways out a bit wider and you just might trip over a couple of feisty little blacks. Flats fishing is about stealth and sneaking up on fish sighted free-swimming up in the shallows, whilst the waters out wider are the domain of the trollers dragging teasers and a spread of small skirted lures.

In either case, have a spin rod handy with an appropriate large plastic at the ready. Alternatively, a single circle hook attached to a leader ready to pin in a live bait or perhaps a dead garfish is also a good idea. If you have such a set up at the ready, then when young stick-face pokes his nose in your direction you will be armed and ready for fun and games.

David with a quality longtail tuna caught on a recent trip with HBFS

Should the billies not show, or you favour battling black barrels instead, then there has been a reasonable run of quite large longtail tuna up in Platypus Bay and beyond Rooneys Point recently. These fish are typically either loners or in very small pods, so expect them to be highly mobile and flighty. A stealthy approach, long casts and a good selection of lures is a must if you want to tangle with these guys.

School mackerel are making their presence felt over some of the reef systems in Platypus Bay. Bite-offs of softies meant for snapper, scarlets or trevally are becoming increasingly common. Speaking of trevally, they are still up there in droves over some reefs, but they will start to taper off as our waters warm further. At the moment, finding big golden trevally is reasonably easy, so long as you don’t get too distracted by the schools of smaller fish on the sounder.

This full moon and the next new moon will probably squeeze the best out of what is left of our snapper season. Find the bait aggregations in the vicinity of weedy or reefy bottom within Platypus Bay or off Rooneys and hang in there around dawn or dusk for your best crack at a few knobbies. Squire are more likely at times these days, but the guys flicking plastics during the day will still score a few proper knobbies if they persist and keep scouting out fresh fish.

It's always good to see kids getting in on the action. Pic: HBFS

Joep with a queenfish caught on a half day charter. Pic: HBFS

Golden trevally are always a welcomed catch for sports fishos. Pic: HBFS

Fast Forward for Fantastic Flats Fishing for Fly Fishos

With our waters warming, our inshore flats are fast becoming a more viable option for fly fishos and “normal” fishos alike. Big golden trevally were once a major drawcard for visiting fly fishers in Hervey Bay, though in recent years, with such heavy netting pressure, these larger fish are a much rarer find. It is still possible to sight-fish to large goldens cruising the flats, but small schools of much more modest-sized fish are typically the norm nowadays.

Large queenfish are possibly a more reliable target for flats fishos, though you will need to be mobile and seek out waters with garfish, hardiheads or herring for best success. There are vast flats and feeder channels down the straits that fit the bill for those chasing queenies, and these waters offer a crack at a mix of other flats-dwellers as well.

Small GT’s, flathead, blue salmon, grunter and blackall are all fairly common sights up on the flats this time of year, if, and only if, you are fishing an area that hasn’t been commercially harvested recently. Venture onto the mudflats in some areas down that way and you can add barra and threadies to that list, not to mention schools of whiting, bream and the odd tiger squid.

Standard flats fishing equipment for the swoffers in our waters is an 8 or 9 weight outfit, presenting a mix of clousers and shrimp patterns. The white-coloured clouser is a local favorite, whilst tan or olive-coloured shrimp on size 2-1/0 hooks will work well in many scenarios.

Morsie with a little Hervey Bay flats goldie.

Estuaries Proving Tough So Far This Spring

A month into spring and our estuary scene is quite concerning. It appears as though the culmination of years of drought, increased harvesting (particularly from non-local operators), and ever-increasing effort from the recreational sector has taken its toll. Many local fishos that typically score quite well in our rivers and down the straits have been coming up with blanks far too often.

Barramundi and threadfin salmon should be readily available in decent numbers with the warmer waters, but so far this year, they have been conspicuous by their absence. Recent netting efforts have put a real dent in local stocks, that were potentially in low numbers anyway. Let’s just hope that there are enough mature fish left in our systems to propagate progeny for the future should the big wet the weather boffins are spruiking about come to fruition this summer.

Many of us love to target big estuary predators for fun and practice catch and release whenever we can. With only a month to go before the barra season closure, barra will be popular targets. You will likely have to do a lot more searching than normal this season by the looks of things, but there are still a few fish on offer. So far, targeting snag-dwellers has proven most fruitful.

Let’s all hope the threadies turn up out of nowhere soon, as they should be already moving through local creeks and rivers in numbers and they too are proving way to hard to find so far this spring. Surely, we won’t be left wondering where they all went, like we have done for the jewfish and flathead during winter. Small threadies have been more common that the larger models so far, so let’s hope that scene changes and we get back to scoring metre-plus fish sometime soon.

Grunter are a reasonable target down the straits or within our rivers at present. Night sessions will favour the bait fishos, but those that have learnt the art of soft plastic fishing can pick up some nice grunter quite easily if they can find the larger fish. Expect a few flatties as bycatch, or target them outright around creek mouths and the channels draining the local flats.

One fish that thrives in our warming waters and is quite abundant locally is the mighty mangrove jack. The Burrum system, including any of its feeder rivers, is a great place to start if you are new to our region. A few jack were caught from the Mary last season, but they are a rare species in the muddy old Mary. Jacks are quite prolific within most of the numerous creeks dotted along the inside of Fraser Island. Some of the mainland creeks down the straits, and even our own local creek systems all hold good quality jack during the warmer months.

Great Week to Target Mondy Barra

Warmer weather, a stint of light northerlies and a string of several days of easterlies suggests this will be a week to remember for a few fishos hitting our local barra lakes. Mondy has been fishing quite well for several days and looks set to continue producing. The consistency in wind direction should maintain the bite long into next week, so if you get the chance, get up there and join in the fun.

Be warned however, Mondy is very busy right now. All accommodation is booked out, and only unpowered sites are available at the local van park. Worrying about crowds on the water is rarely an issue at good old Mondy though, as the seemingly endless array of potential hotspots scattered around its vast shores offer plenty of opportunity to avoid the masses. Sure enough, some of your favourite hotspots may be occupied, but this will only trigger you to venture elsewhere exploring and who knows – you just may find the motherlode.

Luke Fallon with a nice chrome coloured Lake Monduran barra

The Mondy barra are certainly well fed!

North-facing bays and points will fish well till the wind swings to the east. Once this happens, it brings online so many areas along the western side of the lake. Bird Bay and Wiggle Bay will suit the less adventurous, but the vast expanse of the north and south arms of “B”, Insane, Heart and the upper reaches of the Kolan will draw those willing to do the miles.

Lures-wise, suspending hardbodies will score well during the daylight, particularly when twitched or ripped and paused for varying lengths of time. Slow-rolled plastics will also pull plenty of fish when rhythmically rolled through the right depths just off the edge. Come night-time, the plastics will often stand out, drawing bites as the barra track them down in the blackness of night by their continuous pulsating, humming swimming action. Take your evening sessions to the next level by busting out the topwater lures and the scene is set for some extreme Mondy action.

Good luck out there y’all.

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