Northerly Winds For This Weekend’s New Moon
Well, so much for the chance of rain this week. Better we say nothing in future and perhaps a spring storm or decent shower might sneak up on us.
The past week saw a return to a fairly standard springtime weather pattern, with light northerly winds dominating much of the week. The current light easterlies will give way to another spate of northerlies right on cue for the weekend. The wind looks like stiffening somewhat too, so boating opportunities in waters exposed to the north will be somewhat limited. Beware the affects of wind against tide and avoid these periods when the winds are strongest.
Combine the northerlies with the huge tides spawned by Sunday’s new moon and boaties will be greeted by fairly challenging seas at times. Offshore trips are unlikely till at least mid next week following a southeasterly change Tuesday and abating winds thereafter.
Thankfully our estuary and shore-based options are many and these waters are firing right now, as are our well-stocked impoundments for those keen to tangle with the mighty freshwater barramundi.
Get Ready For The Juvenile Black Marlin
Every spring a varying number of juvenile black marlin grace us with their presence, stopping off in the bay on their southerly migration from the tropics. Budding light tackle game fishos start getting their game gear ready in September for the much-anticipated run in October. Of course, every year those keen to scout ahead of the pack sneak up the island early and quietly score a few billies before the rest of the crews hear about the fish on the grapevine.
This year may see a slightly belated run (given that virtually everything seems a little late this year). However, word from the grounds offshore from Yeppoon of great numbers of little blacks, coupled with recent catches from over the Breaksea Spit and the schooling sailfish north of the Sandy Cape Shoals suggests it is time to get serious.
The new moon creating the greatest tidal run this time of year would traditionally spur the marlin into action. So, if you get the chance to head up towards the northern end of Fraser or beyond before the northerly wind spoils the party then take the chance and go for it.
Stay tuned for updates as our marlin season progresses. Both our inshore light tackle game fishery and the spectacular offshore heavy tackle scene are set to go to the next level in coming weeks.
Schoolies Turn Up For School Holidays
Big numbers of school mackerel have turned up inshore just in time for the school holidays. The western bay waters from the Burrum through to Urangan are teeming with schools of mackerel willing to take all manner of lures and baits.
For those family fishos out there looking to ramp up the kids’ excitement levels you will be hard-pressed to find a more co-operative fish than a hungry pack of school mackerel. You can choose to troll high-speed diving lures or spoons attached to paravanes in an effort to track down the schools of fish, or simply rock up to a likely spot holding enough bait to draw their attention and spin them up on metal spoons and slugs.
If you prefer the bait-fishing approach, then simply gear up with a few sets of gang hooks, some piliies or nice white-coloured squid and anchor or drift over our deeper inshore reefs. Get the kids jigging up some livies in the form of herring, yakkas or pike and you are in with an even better chance. Of course, it is not just school mackerel that will respond to these baits, so be prepared for anything from snapper, trout and cod to spanish mackerel, trevally and tuna from local waters.
New Moon Will Fire Up The Ghosts Of The Flats
The big tides building to the new moon will have the eager whiting fishos out and about day and night. Boaties will score well up on the flats and around the creeks along the inside of Fraser as well as out off River Heads and down the straits further.
Bag limits are quite achievable at this time of year and the potential quality of the whiting can sometimes cause a quandary when the fish one is catching are not on par to what can be expected. Having a back-up plan (spot) can be handy if your chosen location is only producing fish under 30cm.
Those choosing to fish the gutters draining the vast flats of the straits will find plenty of flathead waiting to ambush their prey as the tide recedes. As good as the ebb tide fishing can be, it is often the early flood tide that produces the most vigorous bite from the flatties as they realise their prey will soon escape their clutches.
Arm the kids with an array of small paddle-tailed or curly-tailed soft plastics and appropriately-weighted jig heads on their light rods and get them up the front of the boat spotting flatties as you move from spot to spot. Assuming they are wearing polarised sunnies they will soon let you know when you stumble over likely flathead country. Alternatively, you can always troll small shallow divers slowly around the many creek mouths, drains, islands and fringing flats within the lower reaches of our rivers and down the straits.
Big Tides Stir The Salmon & Grunter
Some sensational threadfin salmon have been on the chew already this spring, with some spots housing numbers of fish over the magic 4 foot mark. These big sambos respond eagerly to the big tides down the straits due to the dirtying effect of the strong tides up the creeks and along the adjacent muddy banks. Choose soft plastics, vibes or hardbodies – whichever you favour – and seek them out during the latter stages of the ebb tide.
Fish light if you wish, particularly in shallow water, but remember if you are running light leaders to ease up on the drag or bear the consequences of their raspy lips. Threadies do not handle well by the way, so try to take your happy snaps quickly or whilst the fish is still in the water if possible. Those choosing to keep one for the first time will then be faced with possibly the most challenging filleting job you’ve ever faced, but their tasty flesh makes up for the effort.
Barra too have stirred with the warming waters of spring. Time spent up the creeks of the straits this week should be productive for those willing to put in the effort around the low tide period. The odd barra has been reported from River Heads too, so the lower reaches of the Mary and Susan will be worth a look.
Grunter will be a great target species for bait fishos and those flicking small prawn imitations within the creeks down the straits and upriver. Better grunter over the 50cm mark are reasonably common in areas that see little traffic. They can be suckers for a range of plastics and even vibes for the bigger models in deeper waters.
Light Tackle Fun In The Burrum
Take the kids for a run up the Burrum River or its tributaries and you are bound to encounter a few loose schools of mini GTs, queenies and big tarpon. You can try live baits of herring or mullet or dead prawns if you like but get the kids flicking small plastics through the deeper holes in the mid reaches and it will be smiles and high fives all round when you track down the fish.
Look for the queenies and GTs in the deep holes often associated with bends in the river. They stand out proudly on your sounder so drift through likely holes and runs with one eye on your electronics. The tarpon will be smashing tiny herring and other baitfish off the surface so they are not hard to find.
The Burrum system is home to great numbers of mangrove jacks and a few locals scored reasonable catches over the past week. The many rock bars and snags within this system offer numerous jack-holding structure that you can choose to pepper with lures, or anchor off and fish with baits of mullet.
A few flathead will be found if you concentrate your efforts around the narrow channels feeding out from behind islands and around muddy banks upstream shimmering with small baitfish. Grunter are a chance from the upper reaches during the day or the mid reaches after dark.
There have been some stonker whiting in the Burrum River and Greagory River in recent weeks and the big new moon tides should see them on the move. Whiting exceeding 40cm are reasonably common from this system though rarely are more than a dozen or so of this size caught from a given area.
Urangan Pier Going Off!
Urangan Pier has really turned it on for the school holidays. Crowds have gathered every day to take part in the sensational land-based fishing or just to marvel at the action. There is a mix of estuary and bluewater species gathered at the pier right now so you can target anything from whiting and flatties in the shallows to an array of pelagics out the end.
Big spanish mackerel exceeding 20kg have been caught some days, often falling to a live schoolie as bait. Big longtail tuna have been tearing into any schools of baitfish silly enough to leave the shelter of the pylons and are suckers for a live herring drifted wide of the pier under a balloon.
Marauding schools of mack tuna have been making raids on the herring, gar and hardies along the edge of the sandbank and even a few bonito are turning up to entertain the kids. A few large golden trevally have come a little too close for their wellbeing and are suckers for a live herring. Having said this, offer them a live pike and your herring won’t get a second look.
Some days big numbers of school mackerel turn up and on other days it is only a handful. Suffice to say though that there has been a stack of mackerel action and Flasha Spoons and Mack Specials are flying though the air in all directions so look out.
Lake Monduran Primed For Great Barra Action
Lake Monduran continues to impress this season with fairly consistent barra captures all month. The forecast northerlies and sunny skies augers well for any eager fishos heading to the dam this weekend. The winds all week have been mostly from the east and northeast, tending a little northwest by Saturday.
This scenario, coupled with the usual increase in activity around the new moon sets the stage for the perfect weekend at the dam. The barra have been fairly easy to find of late too, favouring the smaller bays and points within the mid reaches of the lake. The big bays down the front are surely due to fire too now that the northerlies have begun to dominate the weather pattern.
A lot of barra will be caught over these school holidays and with such a mix of fish from tiny rats to 90cm+ belters there will be plenty of stories of the ones that got away. All in all it is going to be a great season at good old Mondy and the way things are shaping up its old tag of “Lake Misery” will surely be a thing of the past.
Good luck out there y’all.