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Weekly Fishing Report - 22nd August 2019

Another Spectacular Weekend On The Way

Last weekend was a pearler weather-wise and turned it on fishing-wise too apparently. But that depended upon who you were talking to as some crews smashed it and others struggled in the “nor-west glass-out”. Unfortunately the calm conditions were short-lived, as a stiff westerly spoiled the party for much of the week thereafter and is still blowing at the time of writing.

The good news is that the southwester will turn to the southeast tomorrow and blow itself out just in time for the weekend. Saturday morning is likely to have a little leftover breeze early but it will drop out as the day progresses. Sunday looks sensational.

The blow this week was courtesy of a strong high pressure system just off the central SA coastline that will decay in coming days as it drifts eastward. Looking ahead, we are in for another spell of light winds for much of next week which will see this winter out. The quarter moon Saturday and its associated neap tides should certainly be considered when planning your next fishing adventure.

Fantastic Reef Fishing Offshore

The continental shelf waters north east of Fraser Island turned it on for a number of crews that made their way up there last weekend. Good numbers of snapper were found by some, taking a mix of baits, soft plastics and jigs. Pearlies got in on the act too for those that drifted over the wire weed and responded to the same baits, lures and techniques as the snapper.

Big amberjack proved to be a handful for anyone brave enough to drop big slow pitch jigs or live baits over the ledges and pinnacles along the top of the shelf line. A lot of skippers will spot these critters on the sounder and avoid them if they can whilst others seek them out. Big banana-shaped arches 10-20 metres off the bottom are what you are looking for – what you do when you spot them is up to you.

Quality rosy jobfish were also found just over the lip of the shelf and those that ventured deeper found some big bar cod and other jobfish varieties. Sharks were an issue for some crews, but not all, indicating that they are likely hanging around either the more commonly known grounds or the bigger fish aggregations.

The sharks were a bigger issue back in over the shoal country centring around the 50 metre ridge lines. Avoiding the noahs resulted in a few more decent red emperor, snapper, cobia, red throat, green jobfish, parrot, maori cod and coronation trout. A stack of other species can be found along the bottom in those waters at this time of year that can have even seasoned skippers checking their fish ID guides when the odd balls come up.

We haven’t heard much from the waters off the Wide Bay Bar this week, apart from word from crews from the Noosa area that bombed out. Perhaps last weekend’s nor-west glass out contributed to poor fishing for some, but there is no repeat of that event on the charts at this time. In fact the week ahead looks exceptional for offshore waters off Double Island Point so we would expect some good reef fishing reports to filter back next week.

For those heading down that way it has been a matter of finding the bait schools (yakkas and slimies) to find the snapper, pearlies and scarlets in close, with the chance of jewies, sweetlip, moses and cod from the same bait schools if they are holding over the right country. Out wider, it has been the big red emperor that has everyone excited down that way, with plenty of parrot, snapper, pearlies and amberjack on offer as well.

Yakka Schools Have Finally Arrived Out Wide

Crews fishing the southern and northern gutters struggled with the sharks in some cases and an otherwise fairly slow bite courtesy of the post-moon tides and glassy conditions. Having said that there were pictures of a couple of reds doing the rounds but trout numbers are at an all-time low.

At least a few schools of snapper have finally arrived out that way, following hot on the heels (tails) of the belated yakka schools. Live yakkas will account for some quality fish right now if you can get them past the sharks. Move around and target different spots for a mix of snapper, scarlets, sweeties, trout and even big old cranky reef jacks for the insomniacs.

The yakka schools have attracted a vast array of sub-surface-feeding pelagics. Small amberjack, almost every type of trevally known to man, cobia and the odd small pod of tuna have all been shadowing the yakkas or otherwise hanging out along the ledges awaiting their turn to feed. Huge longtoms are schooling on the surface in places, making a nuisance of themselves to bait and lure fishos alike.

If you want to take the kids for a run out wide and wear them out on some pelagics then the gutters and their big prominent ledges are the place to head. Gear up with a mix of micro jigs or suitably weighted plastics and you will have their arms aching in no time.

If the gutters country is a little too exposed for the family, then you can always take them up into Platypus Bay and seek out similar bait schools and their attending pelagics for a similar mix of species. You might find a few decent snapper around the reefs and/or bait schools if you are up there early or late enough in the day.

Find The Bait Inshore To Find The Fish

The inshore reef scene has been a bit quiet for daytime anglers of late. Gin clear waters and a lack of baitfish are two contributing factors, though word is that more baitfish are schooled on the banks and along much of the lower western bay, so hopefully these schools will make their way onto the reefs and bring on the predators.

There were plenty of school mackerel moving down the western bay prior to this latest blow. The majority of these schoolies have been undersized in some areas so take care to release them unharmed and look elsewhere if no better sized models are found. Trolling can be a great way to locate scattered mackerel schools, and once found they can then be targeted with a range of baits and metal spoons.

Snapper numbers inshore are still quite poor, though you stand a better chance nowadays than you did back at the start of winter. It seems that nearly everything piscatorial is a little late this year, so let’s see how long our snapper season lasts coming into spring. As we’ve said plenty of times, find the bait to find the fish, and offer them what they came to eat.

Spend an evening session or two over our local reefs this week and you will likely score a mixed feed of reefies. Any bigger knobby snapper will be more likely mid-late next week when the tides build towards the new moon, but a bit of berley at the right time with the right baits and you are in with a chance any night this time of year. Drop squid or large prawn baits to the bottom and you will likely encounter some blackall, the odd straggler sweetlip, estuary cod or perhaps a scarlet.

Sounding around local reefs, wrecks  and other artificials and dropping plastics or micro jigs to the bottom might see you connect with some of the big golden trevally that hang around the bait schools and reefs inshore this time of year. Try the Outer Banks and ledges such as Sammies and Moon as well as the wrecks on the Roy Rufus. If luck is on your side then that tail-thumping fight of the goldie might even change to a mix of head-shaking and darting runs and a big old knobby might appear from the depths.

It’s Flathead Time

Late winter and early spring is flathead time in these parts and this means lots of fun for the whole family and an easy feed for those who enjoy a meal of these under-rated table fish. Local creeks produce a few, as do the local jetties and edges of the rocky margins, but it is the Great Sandy Straits and Fraser Island’s western shoreline that give up the big numbers.

You can score a few big flatties around the coffee rock outcrops along Platypus Bay beaches and little ones around the odd little creek up that way, but with the exception of Wathumba Creek it is the creeks and gutters from Coongul south that really produce.

Bigger tides mean the flats and shallow margins are exposed as the tide recedes so these bigger tidal periods are better for the larger flats, their draining gutters and some creek systems. Other creeks on the other hand actually fish well over the neaps, generally within the creek itself and can provide a mix of other species such as grunter, trevally and bream.

The clear waters in the straits and the lower reaches of our rivers offer a sensational opportunity for sight-fishing flathead in water so shallow you could get out and walk it. Seek out drains, small creek mouths and shallow rocky/gravelly areas and time your efforts around the bottom half of the ebb and early flood for best results.

Many will choose to use small plastics for flatties (and others) as not only are these single-hooked weapons great producers but they cause less injury to the flatties than trebles do and offer healthier releases in most cases. Having said this, floating or suspending hard-bodies are often the go-to over some terrain due to its snaggy nature, and vibes and blades are hard to beat in deeper holes.

Many of the lures used to target flatties can be thrown at passing pelagics such as trevally and queenies or even blue and threadfin salmon, grunter or a barra. Remember to go easy on the raspy-mouthed models (barra and threadies) though as your lighter flathead leader won’t handle a tight drag on these fish. Plenty of big predators have been spotted cruising the flats and clear shallow margins of late, so keep your eyes peeled and don’t panic and spook them, as they will be shy if you can see them.

Tailor Still Going Strong On Fraser

We haven’t had a lot of reports back from Fraser this week, however, word from the eastern beaches is that the tailor run is still solid and fish are scattered along much of the southern and central beach. At present, the beaches are quite flat at high tide, with really good low tide gutters being more productive.

There are still tailor on offer down around Eurong, albeit smaller than the better run of fish up around Happy Valley. Tarwhine are a fairly common catch of late, often found in the same gutters as the tailor (if not around the rocky outcrops), though the tarwhine will usually favour eugaries as bait.

Some very nice bags of sand whiting have been taken from the shallows down towards Hook Point at the southern extremity of the island. Eugaries are now fairly easy to find along the beach, but worming is still very tough.

Good luck out there y’all.

 

 

 

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