Westerly Winds this Week
More bad news on the weather front again this week, unfortunately, with only a small window of opportunity between the current onshore blow and a spell of westerlies next week. At least the rain will move on though, and our lawns will dry out with the offshore breeze.
Make the most of the next couple of days if you get the chance. You can expect around 15 knots from the SSE tomorrow. Lighter winds, tending more southerly then southwesterly during the day Saturday offer the best chance for boaties to burn any fuel.
Depending upon the movement of a southbound low pressure system off the east coast, Sunday morning might dish up a 20 knot southwester, or maybe lighter. Check the latest forecasts before planning any wide trips or overnighters over this period, as the early flood tide against such a wind will not be enjoyable.
The westerly trend continues into the week, courtesy of a low moving into the bight. Indeed, Monday night should see a brief howler from the northwest of possibly 30 knots. A southwester of similar strength is likely to greet the dawn Tuesday, before easing through the day to around 20 knots, and holding through Wednesday.
Expect a cold chill in the air with this westerly (somewhat similar to the chill that swept over Qld when the election results were aired Saturday night). The weather looks dramatically better for the latter part of next week (at this stage), so at least we have something to look forward to.
A waning moon as we approach Monday’s new moon means building tides and improved fishing (if we can get a crack at them). The westerlies are a seasonal feature of this time of year, and will be a major trigger for migration for several marine creatures and fish.
Kane with a nice shore based queenfish.
Full Dams & Anxious Barra Fishos
We mentioned last week that we impoundment barra fishos are quite nervous at present. Lake Monduran is currently sitting at 99.7% capacity, a mere 3cm below the spillway. Sunwater has issued a warning that the lake may spill over due to continued inflows from its catchments. Even the westerly wind this week will generate waves capable of dribbling a bit of water over the wall at the current level.
Why are we all so nervous? Because when these barra dams overflow, the barra spill over the wall too, and are lost forever. A trickle won’t see this situation eventuate, but a major overflow very likely will. The wall was over-topped by around 4 metres back in 2012 and it took around 8 years for the fishery to return to its former glory.
Adding to our nerves, is the latest forecasting from the weather gurus suggesting more rains in winter and spring (our dry times normally), courtesy of a continuation of La Nina in the Pacific Ocean and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole. Warnings of potential 1974-style flooding and cyclonic events in the following summer spell disaster for we dam fishos.
So, what can we do? Nothing basically, except make the most of what we have right now. The recent rains drew schools of barra towards the wall, and several fish have been caught from the main basin over the past week. This open-water style of barra fishing is hardly what many of us head to Mondy for, but can be an exceptionally easy fishery for those keen on scoring a few barra for the brag board.
A lot of nervous barra fisho's have been keeping an eye on the raising water level at Mondy. Pic: Monduran Anglers & Stocking Association
The westerly winds this week are a complete turnaround of wind direction, and you should all know by now that impoundment barra are not fans of change. Stability is their bite trigger, or at least one of them, so perhaps consider a trip up to the dam once the winds stop spinning and settle into a pattern.
Schooled-up barra that have made their way towards the wall, or into deeper waters nearby will soon realise their attempts at escape are fruitless and will return to appropriate feeding grounds. Eventually, many barra will be found foraging over the flooded new ground, taking advantage of the abundance of food and cover in which to feed.
It might take a few weeks for the lake’s waters to “settle” and for any form of thermocline to re-form. Coupled with cooling temperatures and winds swinging offshore, this fishery is going to be very challenging at the least. There are masses of debris, and many substantial trees afloat all over the lake. Take extra care when traveling, and take a heap more fuel than you might have previously, as Mondy is a huge lake once again.
Now, we fully understand that the winter impoundment barra scene is only appealing to very few barra tragics, as many find it tough enough to catch these fish when conditions are prime, let alone in the chill of winter when they “don’t bite”. If the latter is you, yet you want one last crack at Mondy’s monsters, then now is the time. Go get them while they are down the front and easy to find.
Fans of Lake Lenthalls will be fully aware that the lake over-topped the wall yet again from recent minor flooding. That is several events this year, and each one has resulted in barra escaping its confines. However, Lenthalls typically defies the odds and retains a population of barra that head for the back reaches and feed in the inflows rather than head for the wall.
Lenthall’s population of bigger barra is diminishing with each event, but the smaller fish still remain in numbers, along with thousands of bass. Let the waters settle, wait for a string of nice sunny days and consistent wind direction and slip the tinny or kayak into Lenthalls and give its winter fishery a crack one day. It will be a substantially easier proposition than Mondy for many.
Flooded Rivers Flush Fish out the Front
Unless you like catching catfish, then there wouldn’t seem to be much point heading upstream in our rivers just yet. The recent flooding has flushed a lot of the resident predators downstream and that is where you should focus your efforts.
Threadies will be feasting on jelly prawn and will move up onto the mudflats outside the Mary system as well as throughout the straits. There has been a few sighted at the heads lately, gorging on jelly prawn seeking cover in the shallow rocky margins.
Jewies that were becoming quite common captures at the heads recently have moved somewhat, but have not gone far. These floodwater specialists will take full advantage of the abundance of food flushed from our rivers and will be lurking around the mouths or in the adjacent deeper waters nearby. The deeper ledges and other major structures along the western side of Fraser are obvious places to hop some vibes or prawn imitations for jewie fans.
Grunter hunters can consider themselves in with a chance from our town foreshores once again, with schools of large grunter forced back out of the creeks and rivers. The waters of Pt Vernon will be popular for boaties again, and the bigger tides this week offer just the right flow. The westerly wind will restrict access to some areas, but others will be quite fishable in 20 knots.
There has been queenfish caught from our town beaches this week. Whiting are possible from stretches of beach west of town where the water quality is best, but a feed is also possible in town over the high tide as well.
Schools of bream can be intercepted as they forage their way along our beaches under the cover of dirty water. A great way of finding them is to work micro poppers and stickbaits across the surface, particularly nowadays, with so much jelly prawn and small prawn out on the mudflats.
The westerly winds will offer shore-based fishos a crack at the shallows of the Booral Flats this week. The big tides and offshore winds offer good conditions for quite large fish to mooch up close, so don’t be surprised if you find threadies feeding in the skinny water. Otherwise, the bread-and-butter species, plus the odd grunter and bull shark are quite likely down there when conditions are right. Watch out for mud crabs and stingrays under foot.
Plenty of new goodies from Daiwa and Cranka, for this years bream season.
Tuna, Trevally Tornados & Mackerel Galore
There hasn’t been much opportunity for boaties to get out on the bay this week, but as is typically the case, charter operators often suck it up and head out with their keen clients whenever they can. Bobby Jeynes of Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters has put on another skipper, and between he and Pauly, is now able to take punters pretty much daily when the weather permits.
Bobby said this morning that the school mackerel are very abundant out in the bay. They have been pretty thick out at the Gutters recently, but are also taking a range of baits and lures on many sites further south. The dirty water line from recent Mary River flooding is pretty much skirting the northern edge of the banks as it did last time, so you might even find mackerel working the clean edge when the weather permits.
Bobby has found that the spanish mackerel have moved into Platypus Bay in big numbers. Being a local ciguatera risk and hard to avoid at present, Bobby has had to monitor his sounder and deploy tactics that help him to avoid the spaniards. As you all know, keeping spaniards in Platypus Bay is prohibited, and they are not a very good catch and release candidate at all.
There have been many schools of mack tuna wide off Platypus Bay this week, and in some cases, there has been a few large longtails in the mix. The yakkas are starting to make their way into some areas in the eastern bay. It will be some time yet before they inundate all the central bay reefs, but it is always good to see yakkas heading inshore.
Large bludger trevally have been harassing the bait schools wide off Platypus Bay and are often prone to emerging from the depths in swirling schools of fish – somewhat akin to a trevally tornado (but nowhere near as devastating as a sharknado). Any lure and virtually any bait dropped in their vicinity will soon have you groaning.
A few gold-spotted trevally schools have also started moving inshore, and schools of golden trevally are now quite common just north of the dirty water. It won’t be long and our winter run of trevally will kick in in earnest and they will be creatures that prove fairly hard to avoid at places such as the Gutters, off Rooneys and in Platypus Bay.
A solid spanish from a Swains Reef trip
Snapper and Reefies Protected by the Weather
Our snapper season has kicked off and so far is shaping up to be somewhat better than previous years. The boys from Hot Reels have been bagging out on squire quite consistently, and don’t bother with the barely legal fish, preferring to send them back to keep growing.
Bobby and Pauly have also been getting into some nice scarlets at times, and slip a few decent trout over the side quite regularly too. These boys deploy a range of techniques, depending upon the tides, the fish they are targeting, the grounds they choose to fish and the desires and capabilities of their punters.
Bobby has been booked solid, well in advance for ages now, but since putting Pauly on, can now work the boat every day and once again has vacancies for anyone keen on a local charter. Anyone keen for a fish with the lads can look them up on social media or call Bobby on 0466 015 995.
By the way, out-of-towners booking with Hot Reels, or with any local charter operator that targets fish for a feed, might consider the you-beaut chiller bags we sell here as a means of getting their fish home in primo condition. Sure beats daggy old garbage bags and is a lot cheaper and easier to stow than a similar-sized esky.
A typical esky shot from a reef charter with Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters
Locals chasing snapper shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking them down. The reefs in the waters north of the banks are a great starting point, but there will also be quality knobbies and a few squire to be found closer inshore on the deeper reefs.
The inshore snapper might be a bit hard to tempt whilst the winds blow from the west. If so, then turn your attention to the other tasties on offer and see if you can get your share of the local coral trout, cod and scarlets that can be found on our inshore reefs at present. Otherwise, a feed of sweeties is still on offer, as are plenty of blackall.
We haven’t mentioned sharks so far this report, as you are likely sick to death of hearing about them. All the same, take heed of our past warnings and keep mobile when fishing our waters so you don’t waste our precious resources.
Trout for dinner with Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters
Crabs and Prawns Add to the Seafood Banquet
Crabbers have been out dropping pots in sheltered waters this week. The muddies flushed from our creeks and rivers are readily accessible by shore-based crabbers working the edges of local mudflats. Boaties will look to the straits, and the mudflats and channels just outside the Mary for mobile muddies over the new moon.
Sand crabbers have been kept onshore lately, but will be keen to get a few pots out off the Burrum coast once the southwester kicks in. The eastern bay north of Coongul has also been crabbing well of late, but might be a little too rough for overnight soaks this week.
Prawners have had a spell due to the floodwater inundation recently. No doubt many are considering a raid on Woodgate this weekend while the wind is blowing offshore. The early high tide will be worth getting out of bed for if the prawns play the game.
Alvey Reels Closing their Doors
As many of you would now be aware, our very own Qld icon, Alvey Reels, has declared their intention to close their doors and cease production from their Carole Park facility as of 30th June. This is very sad to hear, and even more-so for our surf fishos, as the local surf fishing season is just about to kick off.
Bruce Alvey, end of an era for Alvey Reels
Alvey fans might wish to get in and grab their favourite reels, pumps or accessories whilst we still have stocks. We have ordered more product for the upcoming season, but as you might expect, demand is extraordinarily high right now. We will take special orders from anyone who needs Alvey products and will be placing further stock orders in coming weeks.
The Australian Fly Fishing Podcast
Episode 4 - Andre Van Wyk from Lucky Bastards
Click the link - https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-fwueh-1232f7f
We discuss what it was like growing up in South Africa as a kid and how he first got into fishing, the different species and fisheries on offer in SA and share a few stories about mutual friends that Dre grew up around.
We then delve into how Lucky Bastards was started, a fly fishing hosting business run by Dre and his good mate Platon Trakoshis. We look at the fisheries on offer with these trips, including the Seychelles and St Brandon's Atoll, with the crew from FlyCastaway.
Dre recaps on his latest trip to Oman with the crew from No Boundaries Oman and his love for the place. We discuss the different fisheries on offer in Oman from light and medium tackle right through to chasing 60kg+ GT.
We also look at some of the other projects that Andre is included in, Feathers and Fluoro and The Mission Fly Fishing Magazine. The Mission Fly Magazine is a free digital and print magazine coming out of South Africa, make sure you check it out.
This episode is brought to you by: Fisho's Tackle World Hervey Bay, MAKO Eyewear, Manic Tackle Project & Garmin Australia.