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Reasonable weather over the past week saw plenty of fishos out enjoying our local waterways. Looking at the forecast we can look forward to yet another week of light/moderate winds either side of easterly, with still no sign of any rain. At least the lawn mowing isn’t interrupting your fishing time eh.
The Australia Day long weekend is looking good with mostly 10 knots of easterly (perhaps peaking a little higher) with stronger winds forecast for offshore waters. Next Monday’s quarter moon means we are entering another neap tide phase, so the currents will abate from those big springs earlier this week. It has been darn hot all week, and this trend is set to continue, so consider the heat factor when deciding which species of fish you plan to target.
The easterlies will likely have most crews bluffed for the near future offshore and rightly so, with less than ideal conditions likely for the next week. Some of those that were lucky enough to get out there this past week found big amberjack and kingies keen on smashing knife jigs just inside the shelf, and plenty of mahi mahi keen on trolled skirts and hardbodies along the shelf line.
A mix of reefies found their way into eskies over the shallower shoal country, consisting mostly of parrot, red throat, hussar and maori cod. There is a real mix of fishing opportunities over the Breaksea Spit, but this time of year the weather and the current can be a curse. If you can get out there in the near future, then go geared up to wrestle with a mix of pelagics from GTs and spanish; to marlin, dollies, yellowfin, wahoo and AJ’s. Take the reef fishing gear too, but be prepared to fall back onto the shoal country if the current is too strong out wider.
Plenty of boats will be heading for the protected waters of Platypus Bay and the beautiful beaches of Fraser’s western shores this weekend. Those looking to take the family and enjoy a swim in our crystal clear waters should be aware of the existence of Irukandji jellyfish in the shallows along Fraser’s western-facing beaches this summer. Thermos-hot water and vinegar could be useful first aid accessories in the unlikely event of a sting.
Platypus Bay waters are alive with pelagic activity at present. Spotted mackerel schools seem almost “stuck” in the bay with the consistent easterlies and lack of northerlies trapping them in the eastern bay. Of late the bigger schools of spotties have been in closer to the island, but that is also where the sharks have been at their thickest. A lot of fun can be had by the whole family when it comes to chasing spotties; you just need a couple of high-speed spinning outfits, some metal slugs and a keen eye for surface activity.
Looking for the little terns hovering above the surface commotion will give away the presence of pelagics from quite a distance. Once close enough you need to keep a keen eye in the water as well, as you can drive straight over masses of spotties and tuna as you are approaching the birds, spooking them in the process. We hear from plenty of frustrated fishos venting at other boaties roaring in and spooking otherwise active fish by being oblivious to the melee they just drove straight into. Often right in the middle of this bust-up will be a mass of balled-up baitfish surrounded by hordes of spotties and/or tuna and large sharks. Don’t be surprised to find the spotties and tuna unwilling to chase a slug too far from the bait ball if the sharks are in attendance.
If overnighting up that way in your boat then don’t forget the squid jigs as there has been oodles of pencil squid that will soon find a well-lit boat. Reefies such as scarlets, sweetlip, squire and cod, along with some rather large grunter are possible from some reefs overnight so long as the sharks don’t turn up.
The fringes of our inshore reefs are home to substantial numbers of grass sweetlip at present, which shouldn’t change for quite some time. Which reefs produce best seems to be determined by the men in grey suits. Blackall are another common species encountered inshore this time of year by those dropping baits of squid or banana prawn. Whilst most Queenslanders would scoff at the thought of keeping a blackall, there are a few locals that claim they are okay to eat, and there is no doubting their fighting prowess. Many a proud young angler has produced an ear-to-ear grin whilst holding up his/her first big blackall. Scarlets, trout and cod are also possible from the better reefs and are inclined to scoff a well-presented plastic over the turn of tide.
The big GTs are still stealing reefies and causing general havoc on the arti’s shipwrecks. These big black bruisers are a real handful, but if you reckon you are up to the task then break out the heavy tackle and drop a decent livie mid-water and go your hardest. Fish to 30kg are reasonably manageable with an ounce of luck on your side, but some of their bigger mates are absolute busses and will take some stopping.
The fringes of the shipping channels and the bay islands will be worth a look for those chasing queenfish. Try plastics, vibes, squid-imitations and metals in the deeper waters and poppers or stickbaits along the current lines formed around the islands. It is worth repeating to stay clear of the green zones as some folk seem unaware of these restricted waters.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
Jelly prawn numbers continue to increase along the muddy fringes of the rivers, creeks and their little drains. These minute critters draw the threadfin salmon in during the latter stages of the ebb tide, and the swirls and boils from the salmon with their backs half out of the water is sure to get the blood pumping. Just because you can see the salmon certainly does not mean you are guaranteed to catch them as they are notorious for putting the blinkers on and feasting on the jelly prawn with scant regard for your lure or bait. Smaller lures and persistence are two key ingredients to scoring a jelly-munching sambo but there are a few more sneaky tricks you can employ, so drop in and see the lads in the shop if you are struggling to draw their attention.
Whether down the Straits or in the river, you can chase the salmon during the lower stages of the tide, but till then you could spend some time chasing a few grunter. These guys will often favour the gravelly/shelly sections of the river or creeks and can also be found in many of the deeper holes in the creeks and along the ledges on the inside of Fraser south of Kingfisher.
Fraser’s western creeks from Coongul south and right through the Straits are home to some great mangrove jacks. This summer’s crazy drought, constant wind direction and heat have brought on exceptional conditions for the jacks and they have been super active. Don the Bushmans and head into the island creeks as early as you dare in the flood tide and work the fringing mangroves in tight with your lures for best results. Bait fishos can sit it out near larger snags, overhangs or rock bars with live baits or mullet strips, but you may have to put up with a never-ending supply of small estuary cod.
Urangan Pier ,Town Beaches & Creeks
The full moon put paid to the pencil squid out the end of the pier. They could be back with the darker nights this weekend, though they are at the end of their “run” anyway, so time will tell if that is it for this summer. You never know with the crazy seasons we are having these days, so you better take some jigs with you if heading out there at night anyway.
The main pier action this week has been from a few queenies taking livies, along with school mackerel in small numbers, the odd broadie and of course those big old GTs. Given the effort put in daily by pier fishos trying to catch the GTs it is little wonder that they are getting a bit “gun shy” and proving harder to tempt of late.
The local creeks continue to produce some excellent mangrove jacks, with O’Reagans and Eli Creeks both producing fish for both bait and lure fishos. Those new to the area, or just visiting, could check out Google Earth and find access areas along these creeks for a shore-based assault, but please stay clear of private property.
Good luck out there y’all.