What an amazing week of weather we have been enjoying here in the Fraser Coast, with light winds and clear skies for most of the week and little change for the upcoming weekend. Couple this fantastic weather with Saturday’s full moon and we should see a continuation of the great fishing we have been enjoying of late.
The crew on Time & Tide Charters have been revelling in the glassed out conditions offshore this week, though were quick to point out that the current is fairly screaming out there with up to 3 knots over the shoal country northeast of Fraser. The often precarious Breaksea Spit bar has been flat as a tack though, so getting out there should be easy enough for trailer boats. Offshore waters have ranged from 21-22 degrees which is very warm, though their snapper catches improved this week on what has been a fairly slow snapper season till now. They added a few nice jew to the tally from the shallower offshore waters in little more than 30m this week, whilst out a bit deeper and further north they scored some big turrum that stretched a few arms, together with a few cobia and lone baby black marlin. They found the reefies to be fairly quiet this week, though of course managed to score a mixed bag and found some good patches of pearlies. The sharks were not as bad as usual, though they still had to endure their attention most places they went. They are on their way out again now with a fresh crew and are looking forward to a good bite over the full moon period.
The Rainbow Beach fishing comp is still underway down south, with plenty of competitors enjoying the glass outs and great fishing offshore from the Wide Bay bar. We expect to hear great results from this event thanks to the weather and keen offshore anglers involved, so stay tuned for more on this one next week. In the meantime, if venturing offshore take extra care with our migrating humpbacks quite a common sight day and night.
The Gutters have been producing some nice snapper this week for those fishing the dawn, dusk and evening periods. Trout have been a challenge in many parts with the better fish taking live baits over the turn of tide. It would seem that the attrition from months of shark attacks has taken its toll on the trout population up that way, so you now have to move around and find unfished country to find any decent trout numbers. Having said this, the popularised technique of tea-bagging heavily weighted plastics will enable you to search these grounds most efficiently. Parrot should be particularly active around the fringes of the reefs up there over the full moon period, and of course you can expect a mixed bag dominated by sweeties, moses, hussar and scarlets.
You can expect cobia to turn up over any of the bigger reef systems at the gutters, and you will certainly have to put up with a lot of trevally over the same grounds. If battling trevally is your thing, then simply drop plastics or micro jigs over any decent patch of reef or ledge and jig the bottom 10 metres of water. In places the trevally can join into vast semi-mixed schools and come right to the surface so you can select your quarry and watch it eat your offering.
The 25 Fathom Hole and surrounds has been popular with those chasing snapper, but don’t expect too much else from that area at present. The snapper out there are often big knobbies, so don’t get tempted to keep more than your bag limit. There have been a couple of reports of snapper in the bay schooling near the surface, in one case eating everything, and in another case rejecting everything. Either way, what a spectacle such a sight must be.
The central and western bay appears to be producing the better snapper catches of late, though some good schools of fish can be found from Wathumba to the Rooneys Coral Patch if you put in the time and seek out active fish around the schools of yakka. Take extra care whilst travelling, with humpback numbers on the increase up that way.
The full moon will see plenty of crews hit the inshore snapper hot spots like the Burrum 8 and 12 Mile, the Roy Rufus Arti and Moon Ledge (amongst others), with the best catches to be expected from evening sessions if the past couple of weeks are anything to go by. Having said this, we have the not-so-common situation of glass calm mornings and afternoon sea breezes at present instead of our usual annoying southwester early morning and calm afternoons, so perhaps this week could be different.
Squire have been a fairly easy catch in the deeper waters in the vicinity of Boges Hole, along with some very nice late season sweeties. Whilst they are not for everyone, blackall are a major feature for those fishing the low light periods with baits of banana prawn or squid around numerous inshore reefs and weed beds. You will still encounter plenty of cod if fishing live baits over the turn of tide, with trout becoming a less common catch as winter takes hold.
Those chasing bread and butter species are spoiled for choice right now. Bag limits of "summer" whiting are quite easily achieved over the flats and up the creeks along Fraser’s western shores for those fishing the evening flood tides with live yabbies. Flathead are abundant in similar areas during the latter ebb and early flood tides and offer many a fun session flicking plastics around the many drains and creek mouths. Bream have been in huge numbers this winter, and continue to respond well to a berley trail and lightly-weighted baits around the bay islands and the rocky foreshores from Pialba to Gatakers Bay.
Winter whiting catches have been reported from all the usual grounds this week. The strip from Toogoom to Gatakers Bay still produces a feed, though supposedly smaller fish of late. Better sized fish can be found south of Round Island over the flats to the southwest corner of Woody. Be prepared to seek out the channels and rises over this vast region of flats and move away from the toads when they find you. Good quality winteries are a regular feature of catches from down the straits as well, so there is no need to put up with the crowds at present.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
It is great to see that the river-stone gravel has been replaced adjacent to the River Heads boat ramp, enabling boaties to once again park their vessels on the gravel beside the ramp instead of having to put up with the dramas of using the pontoon.
You can expect great flathead catches from many creek mouths and adjacent areas down the straits over these big tides. Similar story for the drains within the big gutters in the river heads area, so long as you target them during the lowest parts of the tide. Bream are still prolific over at South Head for boaties anchoring up and berleying into eddies formed by the underwater rock features along that shoreline. They are suckers for small lures of so many varieties over the many rock bars as well, or for even more fun on the light gear, try the many flats in the area with mini surface presentations.
Decent catches of summeries are possible from the flats along Fraser’s western shore and the Turkey Strait, along with the lower Bengston, Susan, Shell and Burtenshaw Gutters. Take a squid jig or two with you if venturing down that way, as both tigers and pencillies are possible from a variety of areas at present.
Burrum River System
Many are saying the fishing is quiet around Burrum Heads. Ultra clear water is certainly a contributing factor, so consider evening sessions for a chance at a grunter or bream. Schools of steelback salmon were in the vicinity of the heads recently, a truly rare species for waters this far south. Flathead are the most common catch, either for those trolling small hardbodies, flicking plastics or using livies. In fact flatties can be found the full length of the river at present, though apart from them it is mostly queenies and mini GTs that are providing the most action.
Fraser Island’s Eastern Beach
The crew from Fraser Island Retreat at Happy Valley have reported excellent beach fishing this week. Awesome calm seas have seen some great tailor catches from a great length of the eastern beach with some very nice specimens mixed in with the choppers. Dart too have been prolific along much of the beach, turning up anywhere there is a decent gutter. Some larger predators have turned up too, with jew being caught from Indian Head, spanish mackerel from near Dilli and a big GT from Yidney. Time to break out the slide-baiting gear (which we have here if you need any by the way). So far the eastern beach is weed free which is great news, and whilst pipis are fairly scarce, the worming is quite good. Remember you only have till the end of this month to fish Fraser’s headlands prior to the annual fishing closure.
Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier
Night sessions chasing summeries from our town beaches should be productive this week, particularly with the light northeasterly sea breezes forecast for the next few evenings. The clear water this time of year makes the whiting too shy during the day, hence the need to rug up and fish the evenings. You could try the first 100m or so of the Urangan Pier for whiting too if you prefer boards to sand under your feet.
The full moon should fire up the bream at the pier and may see a few better tailor turn up. Other than a few flatties on livies during the day, you could try for a squire or two from the end section of the pier. The pier is a huge FAD at the best of times, but add the volumes of discarded herring and other baits thrown into the water and you should not be surprised to find squire and sweetlip lurking down-current picking up the scraps. Perhaps the pier fishos could try the same float-lining techniques the boaties use for snapper and see what happens.
Good luck out there y’all.