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Weekly Fishing Report - 23rd August 2018

It has been another week of very mixed weather and accordingly reports from anglers throughout our region have been somewhat lean. The calm conditions last weekend gave way to a crazy late winter cold snap with almost record August minimums for parts of our area. Windy days early in the week kept boaties onshore, with a couple of decent days mid-week for those lucky few that didn’t have to work.

This weekend’s forecast is somewhat challenging to interpret, with the chance of a "rain bomb" to the south of us and a bit of wet and breezy weather on the cards for the Fraser Coast. The online weather sites are certainly conflicting, with Coastwatch offering the most positive forecasts, so check the latest before venturing out. In any case, it looks like the winds will be light enough for inshore activities, so plan around this and enjoy the good bite you would expect from the pre-full moon tides this time of year.

The Bay

This weekend’s weather should enable boaties to take advantage of the protection of Fraser Island and head up into Platypus Bay chasing snapper and trevally. Of course, the best snapper bites will occur during the low light periods, though if you are willing to sound around you may find some shadowing the bait schools at any time. Any of the grounds from Rooneys all the way south to Moon Point are capable of holding good knobbies this time of year, it is up to you to track them down and present them with a bait or artificial that they just cannot ignore. Any numbers of lures are up to the task, with the GULP, Zman and Madeyes ranges of plastics with the most scalps under their belt. Try not to over-weight your offering and keep it suspended above the bottom for best results, be that when bait fishing or with lures.

Scarlets can be expected when floatlining up Rooneys way at present, particularly after dark and at dawn. Similarly, you can get a good bite from the large grunter up there, but are better off getting your baits and lures right to the bottom for them. Throw in a few sweeties, parrot and the odd trout and you have the makings of a great feed.

Trevally are now prolific throughout much of Platypus Bay, with goldies and diamonds the most sought after for those keen on a good fight and a few happy snaps. The goldies are pretty tough, but try to keep the time out of water to a minimum for the diamonds as they don’t handle well at all. If you get around enough spots in a session up there and use a combination of plastics and micro jigs you may well be surprised at the number of trevally species you can tally in one day, albeit often only smaller models.

Big cobia will turn up at times just about anywhere holding a substantial bait source and can be a real handful on the light gear. Don’t be too surprised to tangle with large longtail tuna when dropping plastics around the bait schools, but without the shark menace of the warmer months you can stand a good chance of landing a trophy fish on lighter gear these days.


The full moon this weekend suggests snapper as a prime target for reef fishos, particularly those heading out late afternoon and into the evening. There seems to be plenty of baitfish on many of the inshore reefs at present, so secure some of those for livies and fresh dead baits and remember that it’s the presence of baitfish that will draw the snapper to any given area, so don’t waste time in areas devoid of bait.

With so many mackerel turning up at the Burrum and the Pier, it seems likely that they will make an appearance throughout much of the local shipping channels and around the reefs contained therein. Trolling with Laser Pros is a great way of tracking them down if you don’t know your way around the reefs. However, if you do know plenty of reefs holding baitfish then dropping Flasha spoons and Halco Twisties to the bottom and burning them back at full noise will soon see if any mackerel are in attendance.

Flicking small plastics, blades and mini metals around the Bay Islands should see you come into contact with some decent queenies and various trevally species. Bonito are quite prolific inshore right now, so keep an eye out for them and spin them up on small metals, plastics and even bait jigs for some fresh bait or a bit of fun for the kids.

You can always head over to Fraser’s western shores and target a feed of big summeries during the flood tide or a handful of flatties during the last of the ebb and early flood. Break out the mini topwater lures for a bit of extra fun up on the flats for whiting, bream, flatties and trevally. Don’t forget to pack some squid jigs too as they can turn up anywhere this time of year with such clear water.

Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers

The full moon tides will see a peak in activity from all bread ‘n’ butter species. Whiting will be on the chew up on the flats and in the small sandy creek systems during the flood tide. The most success will come to those anglers that venture out after dark. Daytime efforts will still be rewarded, but you will have to put up with many more pickers at times and less and smaller whiting. Bagging out on summeries from 30-40cm is quite common this time of year for the nocturnal fishos, with the daytime crews usually quite happy with half that score.

Flatties will be a dead-set easy target for those flicking plastics and blades around creek and drain mouths during the last of the ebb and first of the flood tide. Remember, these fish are gathering to spawn when conditions are right, so even though they may be legal to keep, think about throwing back those big girls in exchange for some mid-sized models for the table. If you are not sick of catching cricket score numbers of bream as yet then they are still on offer from many of the rocky outcrops and up on the flats both from the lower reaches of the rivers and throughout the straits.

Schools of blue salmon are common enough in the Susan and the larger creek systems and adjacent feeder channels down the straits. If you don’t know how to find them then deploy a 100mm lure that dives to say 2 metres and go for a troll. Often enough they will find you, as may a mackerel, tailor, flathead or cod depending upon your chosen area. There are still a few squid to be found down the straits and at night at River Heads, so take the squid jigs with you if heading down that way.

Burrum River System

Finally some better reports from the Burrum system this week with some good catches of big whiting coming from the lower reaches of the river, along with a decent run of bream. How the Burrum escaped the massive run of bream that we enjoyed down here in the bay and the straits this winter is a real mystery, but at least there are a few on offer now. Flatties have been a mainstay for much of the river’s length of late and will continue to provide a few feeds and plenty of fun for those live baiting, trolling hardbodies or flicking plastics and blades along the muddy banks, drain mouths and around the many rockbars. Queenfish have been the other fun fish featuring in the mid reaches, along with small numbers of mini-GTs.

Boaties have been concentrating on mackerel from the river mouth out past the leads to the drop off when the weather has allowed lately. Stories abound of which lures were the "only" lure to work that day, yet usually it is the lure that is tied to the end of your line that works best. Every lure has an optimum speed for triggering a bite and in many cases must be "tuned" for handling higher speeds. There is no doubting the effectiveness of the local favourites though, so try Halco Barra Spoons, Laser Pros and RMG Scorpions if trolling or Flasha Spoons and Halco Twisties if high speed spinning is more your thing. Heading out to the Burrum 8 Mile or 12 Mile could score you a feed of snapper, but don’t bother with the middle of the day, as dawn dusk and evening sessions are the go in those parts.

Fraser Island’s Eastern Beach

The Fraser Island Retreat crew at Happy Valley have reported the return of favourable conditions along the beach, with good gutters to be found along much of its length. The water remains gin clear though, so take this into account when timing your efforts. Some of the better tailor catches this week have come from the stretch from Yidney Rocks to the Maheno, with some very nice fish coming at night for those that can handle the cold. Big whiting continue to be a regular catch from the better melon holes and shallow low tide gutters on beach worms and pippies. The same baits, along with whitebait and frogmouth pillies will score plenty of good sized dart with the dart often easily spotted surfing in the clear waters.

Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier

The building tides towards this weekend’s full moon will see good catches of whiting coming from our town beaches, particularly the Shelley Beach to Urangan Pier stretch. Fish light, with minimal lead to keep your bait moving with the tide and target the latter half of the flood tide and early ebb for best results. Whilst our waters remain so clear you can expect the better catches and certainly the bigger whiting to come from night sessions and periods of low light.

Bait-wise, yabbies and beach worms are the two main choices, though you can choose to use small peeled prawns if you prefer. Plenty of boating anglers have discovered the undeniable effectiveness of GULP Sandworms for winter whiting, but are yet to realise their potential for summeries. In this case, use the 2 inch version either laid straight on a suitable long-shanked hook or attached to a super light and tiny jighead, and hop it or drift it subtly with the tide. Unfortunately, nowadays, yabbies are very scarce from our traditional yabbie grounds like South Beach and Eli Creek, with many saying there is not much left but tiddlers. Keep this in mind, and hitch a ride with a mate with a boat to secure a supply of yabbies from the numerous and productive grounds within the Mary/Susan Rivers or The Straits if you must use yabbies.

The Urangan Pier has fished very well over the past two weeks with both pelagic and bread ‘n‘ butter species featuring heavily. A solid run of school mackerel saw a peak in activity last week, with stacks of schoolies either spun up on spoons or live baited on gang-rigged herring. The bonito came to the fray as well and have been a feature for over a week, with commercial numbers of bonnies being spun up on all manner of spoons and slugs. The odd spanish mackerel has also joined the party, and the August special, the big longtail tuna have arrived this week to unload some line and test drags for those floating livies out under balloons.

Perhaps a little less adrenalin inducing yet far tastier have been the catches of whiting from the beach end of the pier at night and early morning. Flatties have been easy to spot in the clear shallows and a live bait of pike or herring is the choice local bait for these sneaky fellows. There is still a feed of bream on offer for those fishing at night between the pylons, and the odd legal tailor or jewfish is also a possibility.

If the pier and beaches don’t appeal to you and you prefer the rocks underfoot, then try the Pt Vernon area for bream in a berley trail, or The Gables for small trevally and queenies on mini topwater lures, small slugs or plastics. The presence of baitfish is a must to draw the trevors and queenies, so be prepared to move elsewhere if there is no bait in your chosen area. Those fishing from the Urangan Harbour rockwalls can expect to catch plenty of big bream on baits and lightly weighted plastics, or tailor on small spoons and slugs from the outer walls. Shore-based anglers can also expect a mix of flatties, whiting, bream, mini-GTs and queenies from our local creeks and adjacent flats.

Good luck out there y’all.



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