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Weekly Fishing Report - 22nd February 2018

Last weekend’s extreme heat has given way to a cool change with an embedded low and trough producing proper wet season showers and storms for the remainder of the week. The rains should clear by mid next week, with a few good days thereafter for boaties wishing to get out onto the bay.

In the meantime, it looks like the local rivers and creeks will again be the go, and with the quarter moon Friday and associated neap tides, this will mean easier conditions for fishos targeting the main river systems.

The Bay

The past week has seen a great increase in tuna numbers throughout the bay, right on time for our much anticipated annual migration. Of course longtails are the most sought after species locally, and good schools of medium sized fish have been found throughout Platypus Bay to past Rooneys, and in the central / northern bay areas. Metal slugs, stickbaits and 5 inch plastics will all produce longtails depending upon what baitfish each school is working, so it certainly pays to carry a good mix of presentations on a couple of ready-rigged outfits ready to cast.

Mack tuna are more prolific in the same areas, and are prone to eat the same lures, though tending towards the smaller slugs and plastics. Some nice school yellowfin were also reported wide of Rooneys, again taking surface stickbaits and plastics.

The increased tuna numbers have not gone un-noticed by our over-population of huge sharks. Beware of these toothies when landing and releasing fish, and move on and find another school of fish when the sharks move in.

A few trevally and school mackerel have been active over some Platypus Bay reefs, together with nice scarlets, the odd sweetlip and coral trout. Pencil squid have been prolific for those with well-lit boats up towards Rooneys.

Inshore Reefs

The neap tides will make our deeper inshore reefs and ledges "easier" to fish if you can put up with the rain and wind, though the "bite" will be better around dawn and dusk, and you can expect plenty of quiet periods for reefies due to the lack of run.

Coral trout and cod will take livies and tea-bagged plastics or vibes over the better reefs, whilst you can still expect a few sweetlip and blackall on baits during the low light periods just off the reef edges. The shallow reefs will fish better at night with such small tides, with blackall and sweetlip the main catches likely from around the islands.

A few mackerel can be found around the Roy Rufus Arti if you can get them past the sharks and over-sized GTs. Trollers have found mackerel out off the Burrum drop-off on diving minnows such as Laser pros and Scorpions.

Great Sandy Straits

Weather permitting, the Straits will be productive for those choosing to fish deeper ledges and holes with either live baits or vibes and plastics for our larger estuary predators. Barra, salmon and jewfish can all be targeted in this manner, though you will have to put up with a lot of estuary cod bycatch no matter how you approach it.

Some excellent mangrove jacks can be found in most of Fraser Island’s western creeks, and with the smaller high tides restricting access to the flooded mangroves, the jacks can be targeted over the high tide with relative ease. If flicking small hardbodies, plastics, prawn imitations or poppers is not your thing then simply anchor upstream from some good snags and drift in a livie or fresh mullet bait and hang on. The sandflies and mozzies will certainly welcome your visit so don’t think about heading over there without the Bushmans repellent.

If there is one major benefit of these seasonal rains it is the propagation of banana prawn, and with such a great early start to our prawn season, we can expect even better catches to come for those willing to brave the weather over the coming week. If the smaller creeks run hard with freshwater, then look for schooling prawn in the holes inside the creek mouths or adjacent banks outside. Many of the major channels leading in and out of the mazes of creek systems down the Straits will produce great prawning during the latter stage of the ebb tide and again during the early flood.

Mary & Susan River System

The lack of a decent boat ramp at River Heads continues to keep many people away. Again, if departing from this area then employ a deckie if possible to alleviate the hassles at the single-lane ramp and to help keep the ramp clear.

The small tides will allow fishos to head further upriver to target barra and salmon, be that with live baits or lures. Gathering bait can be a very simple exercise this time of year, though some of us can get a bit distracted by prawn when you are getting a kilo or more a throw.

The larger tributaries of this system, namely Turkey, Bengstons, the Bunya and the Little Susan will offer good snag-bashing opportunities for those with smaller boats with either good local knowledge or a willingness to risk a prop. Simply look for good quality water, structure, baitfish and/or prawns and remember to watch your sounder as you travel slowly over the deeper holes for tell-tale signs of larger fish.

Burrum River System

Reports of barra continue to flood in from those fishing the Burrum Heads area and further upstream to the mid-reaches. These barra are active but also often fickle, choosing to bite at the appropriate time/s, but certainly not always. Dawn and early evening sessions have been productive for many, though if heading up that way for a daytime session then you should choose to work the bottom of the tide.

Large schools of mixed-sized grunter from barely legal to 70cm were reported from the Burrum Heads area again this week. These fish tend to be highly mobile, but also tend to avoid water that is too fresh/dirty. Some excellent sized whiting have been reported from the mid reaches of the river, though locals from the heads suggest they are scarce in the lower reaches.

Some late mail at the time of writing is that Lenthalls Dam has again started to flow over the spillway, and with a forecast of heavy rain over the next day or two, the river could be in for another influx of freshwater.

Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier

You can expect very little from our local town beaches over neap tides, unless you target the areas just outside local creeks for flathead and a few whiting during the ebb tide. As far as the pier goes, when the locals are bragging about shovel-nosed sharks and reporting tiny school mackerel than you know it’s pretty quiet out there. 

The Wrap Up

This week’s wet weather could be a game-changer if we get any significant rainfall locally. Short-lived inconvenience for longer term gain is the best view to have regarding our Qld wet season. As this weather system passes and conditions improve next week over a period of building tides we can expect catches to improve not only from our creeks and rivers but also from our reef systems and from our surface-feeding pelagics.

As always, our highly experienced local staff can offer further advice on what’s biting and where, and on the best techniques for landing that fish of a lifetime. Alternatively, you can seek further information via our Facebook page or via our email info@fishostackleworld.com.au.

Good luck out there y’all.

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