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Weekly Fishing Report - 20th May 2021

Staff member Dane and regular customer Wayne Parr with a nice feed of coral trout.

Windy Weekend, Blood Moon Mid-Week

It has been a bit breezy here on the Fraser Coast over the past week. The prevailing southeasterly trade wind will continue to blow around 15-20 knots for a few days yet, and will unfortunately make for less-than-ideal conditions for the coming long weekend.

Lighter southerly winds are often associated with a pattern such as this, so you might be able to sneak an early trip in, albeit close inshore in sheltered waters. Luckily, we are blessed with plenty of sheltered options, so those keen enough to brave the conditions can still scratch their fishy itches without too much discomfort.

Better conditions are forecast for the middle of next week, just in time for the blood moon on Wednesday night. By blood moon, we mean a total lunar eclipse, which you should be able to view between 9.11pm and 9.26pm. How the fish react to such an event you will only know if you are out there amongst them.

The full moon tides will be fairly large, particularly at night. These tides this time of year traditionally see significant movements of baitfish and their predators in the bay, so a great bite is anticipated for several species.

Christie with her first legal red, wahoo!

Sue with a nice cobia

Crabbers Continue to Score Big Numbers

The local sand crab population is on the march. Many keen crabbers have scored bag limits of succulent sandies in no time in numerous locations in the southern bay. This scene is unlikely to change much in coming weeks, with only the locations varying as the crabs move with the tides.
Great numbers of quality sandies have been reported not far from Gatakers Bay. Heading west towards Toogoom and setting pots out in around 6-8 metres of water has scored some great crabs. There has also been a feed on offer closer to Gatakers, but apparently the best numbers are a bit further out.

Launching from Burrum Heads and heading out off Woodgate has also been productive for many local crabbers. Being careful to avoid the green zone and placing pots in 12-14 metres out wide of that area has been the go recently. Similarly, the waters offshore of the river mouth, south to Toogoom has seen its fair share of quality sandies.

Those preferring to launch from Urangan and head up the island have also been enjoying a crabbing bonus recently. The waters of southern Platypus Bay have been alive with sandies in varying depths. Prospecting likely areas by scattering pots in differing depths has been fairly easy of late. Given the enhanced activity from the crabs, it hasn’t taken long for them to “pot”, so a soak for an hour or so is often all you need to get a sniff of their whereabouts.

Crabbers keen on a feed of muddies would also be well served slipping a few pots in over the coming week. The May full moon might be seen as potentially the last of the best of the mud crabbing for the season, though some years we still hear of a few being caught thereafter into winter.

Just in the interests of answering a question that comes up from time to time; no, you cannot have four pots set up a creek for muddies and also have your quota of pots out soaking in the bay for sandies. You are allowed four pots each in total, regardless of where they are set and what you are targeting.

There has also been whispers of a few prawns from the back reaches of some of our local creeks this week. It looks as though we missed out again this year as far as a proper prawn run is concerned, though if you are lucky you might find a feed over the big full moon tides. Try creeks down the straits that have a little “colour” or the Susan River, Bengstons Creek or the upper reaches of the Burrum. We make no promises of course, but if you are in the area, let’s just say that it would be a good idea to have a cast net on board.

We should start to see a few more snapper in our local waters. Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing getting it done.

Looks like dinner is sorted! Pic: Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing

Winter Species Appearing in Increasing Numbers

Our waters have continued to cool in recent weeks, bringing in increasing numbers of our typical winter species. Squire have become more common inshore, and are turning up in quite shallow waters. They are hardly trophy fish, but the smaller to middling squire that are happy to scoff small plastics or well-presented baits around the fringes of the bay islands are great fun on the light gear and taste an absolute treat.

The bonus to fishing shallow for squire, blackall, trout and the like is the general lack of shark predation. Stealth is mandatory, and it is certainly best to target these fringing reefs at dawn and dusk. A little berley can be a great aide in the right areas, though those annoying “happy moments” will often crash the party when berleying.

The odd larger knobby snapper has been reported from inshore waters in recent weeks, and this coming full moon should see an influx of mature fish into the southern bay. There has been a few scattered about the reefs of Platypus Bay as well, though still only very small numbers as yet.
Look at places such as the Outer Banks, Moon Ledge and the local artificial reefs when the weather improves and you might score a decent knobby or two. Remember to move on if the sharks turn up. Qld’s snapper population is in enough jeopardy already, without having us fishos contribute to the problem by feeding them to sharks.

You can still find a feed of grass sweetlip inshore at present, though their numbers are dwindling. Some of the biggest of the inshore sweeties will hang around into winter, but the masses of smaller models will move on soon and return in spring. The better-quality sweeties can be found around the fringes of the reefs in our shipping channels this time of year. Good luck getting them past the sharks in some spots though.

Blackall can be common catches inshore from now, right into winter. Scorned by most fishos, there are many that like to catch and eat them locally. There is no denying their fighting prowess, leading you to believe you have a substantial reefy, snapper or even a mangrove jack in some locations, which is such a let down when a dirty big blackall surfaces boat-side. Fly fishos should be looking to tangle with these ghosts of the flats around rubbly / reefy / weedy flats and the like over coming months.

There has been a few decent scarlet sea perch (nannygai) found around reefs in Platypus Bay and the central bay. Both large mouth and small mouth have been encountered, but of course it is only the large mouthed variety that local fishos find appealing. The small mouths have been called “pink blackall” by some in the past, so you get the picture.

You can still pick up the odd coral trout and a few estuary cod by tea-bagging plastics or soft vibes over our deeper inshore reefs for now, but they will get a bit harder to tempt when the waters cool in winter. Live baits will often tempt the bigger, more wary fish, but please do your best to avoid feeding these great fish to the local sharks.

Bob from Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters has been finding a few kingfish of late.

Father and son team Lee and Eli Winger with a nice spanish mackerel and golden trevally caught on a recent charter with Bobby from Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters.

New Pelagic Players on the Scene

The weather has been a bit ordinary for tuna chasers for much of the past week, but it is fair to say that there are still plenty of trophy longtails in the bay. Some big barrels have also been sighted well down into the straits recently, so perhaps having a high-speed spin outfit at the ready, rigged with an appropriate tuna lolly, is a good idea if you enjoy a bit of line burning fun.

Bobby Jeynes, from Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters has been scoring a heap of variety on recent charters in the bay and the straits. Not only has he been into a swag of great-eating reefies such as scarlets, squire and sweeties, but has been putting clients onto a mix of pelagics as well. Often baits float-lined back in the current aiming for snapper are snaffled by passing longtail tuna, whilst at other times, large cobia, spanish mackerel, yellowtail kingfish and various trevally species have been getting in on the act.

Bobby says there are school mackerel all over the place inshore of late, and the cobia are becoming increasingly common. He has found big golden trevally around the closer reefs in recent trips and says that the brassy trevally have started to move inshore as well. Jigs and plastics are producing all manner of pelagics depending upon location, and Bobby will customise his trips to target certain species (such as queenies and squire) on super light gear at times.

This man is a very popular charter operator and offers a real mix of fishing styles on any given day to suit his clients and what is biting. Perhaps the only problem with fishing with Bobby is getting a spot on his boat, as he can be booked well in advance at times. Get in early and put your name down if you are keen on a reef/sport fishing charter in Hervey Bay.

Ben Stubbings and his sons Isaak and Noah have been getting into the mackerel on live baits, good work lads.

Full Moon Likely to Bring the Bream and Whiting

For those keen on a little light tackle fun, you will soon be spoiled for choice. Hervey Bay’s famous winter whiting run is about to ramp up, with the coming full moon likely to see an influx of winteries to the bay’s shallows.

Our latest reports suggest that small numbers of good quality winteries have been found off Gatakers Bay. We haven’t heard of any bag limits as yet, but a decent feed has been managed by those keen enough to put in the hours. Try the grounds between Pt Vernon and Toogoom in the near future and be prepared to drift varying grounds until you find a decent patch of whiting.

Of course, a bonus of whiting fishing in that area lately has been the ability to drop in a few crab pots and score a feed of sandies. You probably won’t find a better bait for sand crabs than your whiting frames either, so you are doing your bit for the recycling effort.

There have been schools of quality “summer” whiting poking about in the shallows of the Burrum and Gregory rivers in recent weeks. The full moon tides should see their activity peak, so those up that way could bust out the tiny topwater lures and finesse rods and have some fun over the sandflats this week. The whiting may not be in great numbers everywhere, but their size is about as good as you will get locally if you trip over the better fish.

Bream fans will be dusting off the finesse tackle this week with a view to targeting bream over the full moon. The Urangan Pier is likely to see an influx of better-quality bream over this moon, with some of the best fishing on offer after dark. Strip baits from locally-caught herring are super popular for many pier regulars, though other baits such as mullet gut, mullet fillets and other “soft” baits can work well during the evening.

Many pier regulars are well-versed in dancing Cranka Crabs up and down the pylons searching for big blue-nosed bream and from now on is the time to bring these nifty little lures back into play. If you need some, drop in and grab some whilst we still have plenty of stocks, as they can be hard to keep on the shelves when the bream get going.

Kurt from Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing has been pinning some solid queenfish on his new Scott Sector fly rod, drop in store if you'd like to have a cast of one of the nicest fly rods on the planet.

Full Moon Jews and Blues

Mulloway jew have been on the chew, as mentioned each week for a while now. This week’s full moon offers landlubbers a great crack at jewies, be it from River Heads, Urangan Pier, Kingfisher Jetty or Urangan Harbour. Obviously, night time sessions will be most productive in these locations, particularly over the turn of tide.

Boaties can look for jewies along several ledges down the straits. Soft vibes worked slowly off the bottom, along with prawn imitation plastics will soon gain their attention. Trolling deep divers can pull a few jew at times, but you will be pulling up and sorting out cod after cod in many locations.
Big jewies have been pulled from many of our local shipwrecks in the past. However, these days it would seem a little foolish even targeting them around these structures, given the ever-present shark menace on these popular sites. River fishos can target jewies in the deeper holes and around deep rock bars and other structure where eddies are formed. Again, soft vibes often pick them up the best, but a hungry jew isn’t all that fussy when the tide is right.

Blue salmon numbers continue to increase locally. There are some bigger specimens tearing around on some of the flats down the straits. They are only in small numbers as yet, but their population is set to explode after this moon. Look for blues anywhere south of Urangan Harbour. The Booral Flats or the Shoulder Point flats offer great starting places out the front, whilst the Mary and Susan Rivers will soon be inundated with swags of blues.

Tri from Fraser Guided Fishing getting clients onto the goods as usual.

Last Hoorah for Lenthalls Barra

Lake Lenthalls fans should be making the most of any warmer weather this time of year. May has often produced a fantastic barra bite when the weather plays the game in the past, and with the lake’s water in such good condition, we would expect a good bite over this moon.

Bass fishos out at Lenthalls have been scoring big bass fairly consistently, as they school up in deeper waters. Trolling deep divers, hopping vibes, and even trolling hard vibes has been highly productive.

The weather forecast is less than ideal for dam fishos, but given that the showers look like being mostly coastal this week, there might be just enough sunshine to keep the big Lake Monduran barra active. The full moon period certainly enhances their tendency to bite, so if you are frustrated with the prospects of 20 knots of southeaster and showers here locally, then perhaps a quick trip to Mondy is on the cards.

Most reports from recent weeks from Mondy have been less than encouraging. However, those big fat barra up there didn’t get fat by starving themselves, and if they are going to bite, then there’s no better chance than the lead into this next full moon.

Looking for Fraser Island Fishing Report Contributors

Each year at this time, we start mentioning Fraser Island in our fishing reports due to the increased interest in surf fishing. In the past we have had a couple of locals over on the island that could give us the latest on beach conditions, availability of bait and what’s biting.

Our contacts have moved on, so this year we are left a little in the dark – so to speak. If there is anyone out there in reader land that would like to offer any insight into the fantastic Fraser Island surf fishery this winter, then please feel free to contact us. Similarly, if any fishos visiting the island wish to share their observations from recent trips, then we are all ears.

As plenty of regular readers can attest, we aren’t about giving away anyone’s favourite hotspots, more-so looking for general information to guide prospective fishos in the right direction.
By the way, this time of year, there should be quality whiting along the beach, along with a few dart and a smattering of bream. The only report we’ve heard lately is that there is a serious weed issue along parts of the beach – which we hope is only a temporary phenomenon. If anyone can enlighten us to the latest conditions, then we would love to hear from you.

Good luck out there y’all.


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