That’s It For Winter – Bring On The Spring
With yet another week of Qld’s glorious winter weather to reflect upon we can look back at some great catches over winter and what we might now anticipate moving into spring. There is certainly no complaining about this winter’s weather and it will only be those that have to work that will be grouchy about the week ahead.
The Father’s Day weekend’s forecast has changed throughout the day today and might vary yet, depending upon the movements of a weak low well out to sea. At present, it looks like the weekend itself might see south-southeasterly winds around 15 knots with clear sunny skies. Looking ahead there will be a couple more glamour days early in the week before things get a bit messy towards the end of the week.
Friday’s new moon will see some of our largest tides of the year. Highs exceeding 4.2m from lows around 0.25m will see the current screaming past in places, so consider this when planning your forays.
Offshore Still Going Off
The Sandy Cape Shoals and nearby continental shelf waters northeast of Fraser continue to produce exceptional catches of reef fish. The variety is outstanding and is enhanced the more you try differing depths and techniques. Sharks are still a problem in some areas, so carrying plenty of fuel to enable extra mobility is important.
Snapper and pearl perch have been in good numbers recently along the shelf line and have taken a range of baits, plastics and jigs. Sneaking over the ledge into deeper water continues to produce a mix of jobfishes, bigger pearlies and bar cod. Big amberjack are there for those willing to take them on with live baits, large whole dead baits or large jigs.
The shoal country is giving up a heap of quality parrot, red throat, coronation trout, maori cod and stacks of ravenous hussar. We haven’t heard much about red emperor this week, but going on recent catches out wide they should again be a great target in coming weeks. Night sessions anchored over some of the gnarlier reef country in shallower can produce sometimes brief but spectacular sessions on snapper, scarlets, spangled emperor and big reef jacks.
Yakkas Bring The Snapper
Snapper catches have become a lot more consistent for those fishing the wider grounds up at the Gutters and off Rooneys. The arrival of reasonable schools of yakkas has been key to bringing in the snapper, so if you want to find the knobbies, then find the baitfish. Night sessions will suit the bait fishos, whilst those favouring the artificials will need to time their efforts around dawn and dusk for best results.
You can still catch knobbies on plastics and jigs during the day but you will have to track the schools down which can be quite mobile in some areas. There are places out that way that hold them consistently during daylight hours, typically mingling with mixed schools of trevally.
Speaking of trevally, you will struggle to avoid them on lures around some of the more prominent ledge country out that way, with a huge variety of trevors likely to pounce on a range of offerings. Those looking to sneak a plastic below the trevally aimed at a trout will learn to limit the hopping and lifting of the heavily-weighted plastic to a minimum.
The 25 Fathom Hole should draw some decent knobbies this week with the new moon tides. There have been yakka schools there recently, so find them and seek out the snapper in the area by drifting and hopping plastics off the bottom.
The new moon period this time of year is typically exceptional for Platypus Bay snapper fishing. Daytime sessions can produce for the mobile crews with good sounders and a willingness to scope out the bait schools. Timing your sessions around dawn and dusk will be substantially more successful however, as the snapper schools move in to harass the bait schools at these times. Trevally will again keep you very busy between snapper.
Small Schoolies Inshore
Reports from the Burrum to Gatakers Bay suggest there are more undersized school mackerel out that way than keepers. Trolling high speed minnows or paravane-rigged Halco Barra Spoons accounts for plenty of mackerel and allows you a chance at moving about looking for the better fish. Once found, the good old Flasha Spoons come into play for the energetic.
Better quality mackerel have been found out wider towards the central bay around the yakka schools. In some cases, spanish mackerel have also been found, along with longtail tuna and golden trevally.
The deeper inshore reefs will be challenging to fish for those not accustomed to the bigger tides, so time your assault around the tide change if you fall into this category. Snapper love the big tides and can feed quite well even during the middle of the day. The morning tides are substantially smaller than the evening tides, so different areas will fish better day versus night.
Anchor and berley over some of the shallower reefs around Gatakers Bay or the bay islands and you could score some serious catches of bream. Bycatch might include anything from squire and blackall to mackerel and tailor, with plenty of pesky happy moments and pike likely at times.
Big Tides Will Drain The Flats
We mentioned last week that this is a great time of year for chasing flathead. The huge new moon tides will drain the vast local flats drawing the ambush predators like flathead to the drains and gutters funnelling the water off the flats. The biggest of the ebbing tides may well drain some areas too much, pushing the flatties out into nearby deeper water, but start by targeting the drains and adjacent gutters and move out deeper when/if necessary.
Queenfish, GT’s and smallish golden trevally are all possible targets for flats fishos over these bigger tides this time of year. Look for areas pushing baitfish off the flats with the ebb tide where clean and dirtier water meet.
The bigger tides will make for some challenging fishing upriver, so stick to the wider lower reaches if looking for estuary predators. Again, the draining flats, creeks and drains will draw a few flatties, whilst deeper areas holding retreating baitfish will draw the likes of blue salmon and jewies.
The "summer" whiting specialists are in their element right now. Night sessions up on the flats and waters adjacent to Fraser’s creeks can be bountiful, whilst the creeks themselves can produce a feed during the daytime. The beach flats up around Coongul can be productive, though it is the expansive flats systems from Moon south and around the bay islands that draw the most attention.
Local Beaches & Pier The Go For Whiting
Big tides from now on for the next couple of months will see pretty much our best local beach fishing for whiting. The north-facing local town beaches will see good numbers of "summeries" feeding up in the shallow water during the late flood and early ebb tide.
At present, until the northerlies kick into gear in earnest in the near future, our beach waters are a little too clear for significant daytime whiting action. The biggest of the new moon tides might trigger some activity in the early mornings; however, night sessions will be the go and will see some great catches from the Torquay – Urangan stretch of beach.
Nocturnal whiting fishos have been scoring a good feed from the first section of the Urangan Pier. Using the pier as your chosen platform gets you up off the sand and offers a unique opportunity to fish lightly-weighted baits tossed up-current and wound back with the tide. Moving baits of yabby or worm attract a better class of whiting than those anchored unnaturally to the bottom.
The late mail from the pier fishos is that there has been some good spanish mackerel taken in recent days. The influx of undersized schoolies to local waters has undoubtedly drawn the spanish, being a major predator of the juvie macks. Using undersized mackerel for live bait is illegal by the way, so don’t be tempted. A lot of the local pier regulars favour Flasha Spoons for their mackerel (and just about every other passing pelagic) and a high-speed retrieve will usually draw a strike.
Lenthalls Still Firing For Bass
For those looking for a freshwater fix, Lake Lenthalls offers a great local option with sensational bass fishing on offer plus the chance at some well-conditioned barra. The regular bass fishos out that way have been scoring particularly well for a couple of months now and word this week is that nothing has changed.
A Lenthall’s bass fisho’s arsenal can include a mix of small hardbodies, spinnerbaits, softies and topwater presentations, but it has been the small vibes, both hard and soft that have really been picking off the big numbers of late. Some folks well-attuned in the art of trolling are claiming they have found small bass in some areas and better fish in the mid-forties elsewhere, so move around and try different spots if you find yourself amongst the littlies.
We are informed that the gravel road into Lenthalls has been graded and is once again in good shape. This is good news for those looking to sneak out there chasing barra as the glorious spring days warm the lake’s waters. Enough incidental barra bycatch has been relayed back by bass fishos this winter that those actively targeting the barra should do so with great confidence.
Choose an afternoon session on a warm day and you should find barra quite willing to smash an array of lures. This little lake is very well stocked with fish ranging in size from little tackers to barra in the mid-eighties and is an easy option for those daunted by the vastness of the bigger barra dams further north.
And finally, a huge "Happy Father’s Day" to all the fisho dad’s out there. We hope you have a great day and get to play with some u-beaut new gear.
Good luck out there y’all.