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Weekly Fishing Report - 29th March 2018

Easter is looking less than ideal weather-wise, and depending upon the movements of a low pressure system currently to the north-east of us, it looks like we are in for a fairly consistent south-easter for the week ahead.

Fortunately for us lucky locals here on the Fraser Coast we have a few options up our sleeves even in wet and windy south east trades. Certainly no-one is heading wide offshore, but compared to other ports along our coastline we are blessed with the protection of Fraser Island and a number of great estuarine options, from our protected beaches to our big rivers and a network of smaller creek systems.

Competitors in the annual Burrum Heads Easter Classic will be looking for safe and productive waters to seek out some top prize winners, and whilst surely frustrated by the weather, they can take some solace in the fact that the weather is a leveller and that all will have the same chance at bringing the winning fish to the weigh-master.

Easter Saturday’s full moon means we are in for some serious tidal flow, which is of course a good thing for many species and localities, but remember to keep the big tides in mind and to time your assault accordingly.

The Bay & Offshore

Out wide is a no-go for the time being, but for experienced skippers in larger vessels they may be able to sneak in a trip or two up the inside of Fraser. Be sure that the wind tends east of south for any such venture or you are in for a seriously bad time. You can find tuna, trevally and mackerel up that way, but just think about how you are going to control a boat in strong winds and you will see the sense in saving your energy and fuel for a better day.

Reef fishos who dare to venture to Platypus Bay can be rewarded with quality scarlets this time of year, along with large grunter, coral trout and a mix of lesser species. Timing your session so that wind and tide are not opposed will go a long way to improving your crew’s comfort. Reefs close to the island, anywhere from Coongul Point to Wathumba will afford the better protection from the wind.

Inshore Reefs

Realistically, our more protected inshore reefs are a safer option at present. Visitors in small boats should be very wary of Urangan Channel just outside the boat harbour. It can get particularly savage when you get a flood tide against a strong southerly wind during these bigger tide phases, so beware. Same goes for the stretch of water from the North Cardinal to Moon Point.

Having said that, coral trout and cod continue to feature in catches for those fishing livies or tea-bagged plastics and vibes over the deeper reefs during the tide turn. Grass sweetlip, blackall and some very nice scarlets can also be found soaking banana prawns and squid baits. Sharks continue to be a problem in waters deeper than say 10m.

Mackerel and queenfish have been in attendance anywhere you have a reasonable gathering of baitfish (mainly small herring). Those dirty big GTs are still lurking out on our local shipwrecks and some ledges for those with the gear to tangle with them.

Diamond trevally and queenfish have been two of the dominant species encountered around the bay islands for those working sub-surface plastics during the recent small tides. If we can get access to them over the full moon period then they should be even more receptive to surface presentations. The increasingly popular inshore GT fishery could also be great this weekend if the weather allows access.

Those seeking the safer, more protected waters will be best served launching from Gatakers Bay ramp and fishing the fringing reefs around Point Vernon. An early start is a must, not just to get a park, but to get the best bite from these shallow reef dwellers. Coral trout, sweetlip, blackall, grunter and even a barra can be expected from these waters. For best results, fish heavier lines that can be thrown away from the boat with a light lead running right onto the hook, and consider "double-anchoring" to keep your boat from yawing in the wind. Larger sharks are not usually an issue over these shallow reefs, but apparently a few small black tips have been annoying anglers of late.

Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers

Getting down the Straits at the moment has two major drawbacks. (1) The weather and (2) the waves on the crappy boat ramp at River Heads caused by the weather. For any visitors not informed of late, our good old 2 lane ramp at the heads was removed and is being rebuilt. It was supposed to be opened by Easter, but alas .... it wasn’t. Keep tuned to our Facebook page for any ramp updates or partial ramp openings over the Easter break.

For those who brave the conditions, there are great rewards in the form of an abundance of banana prawns that can be caught from the major gutters in the vicinity of the heads. Prawns can also be found up the Susan, Bengstons and the lower reaches of the Mary, and in even better numbers and size in the creeks down the straits. Remember that 10 litre bag limit or you just might end up in the hot water instead of the prawns.

Mud crabs have been active over the past week for those working pots in the rivers and the straits. Visitors please monitor the weather and ensure you can safely return to retrieve all your crab pots. There have been far too many instances of "ghost" pots being left behind to keep on killing when some cannot be bothered recovering them.

The building tides this week saw some great barra captured from the lower reaches of the Mary and Susan Rivers. Low barometric pressures associated with systems such as that to the north of us at present can bring on a prime "bite" from the barra, so look for active feeding fish working prawns and mullet. Trolling hardbodies can be productive for newcomers and old hands alike, but for those who prefer lurecasting, target the many rockbars and larger drains in the lower reaches with a mix of vibes, hardbodies and paddle-tailed plastics.

Threadfin salmon are the other big target in the lower reaches of these rivers and down the straits. They are often a visible target as they smash the smaller prawns and jelly prawn in and around the many drains in the area. The straits also offers jewies, grunter, flatties, jacks and a host of reefies for those fishing Fraser’s western ledges and creeks when the weather allows.

Burrum River System

The ramps and surrounds at Burrum Heads will be exceptionally busy due to the Easter Classic this weekend, so if you are not involved in the comp it would make sense to launch elsewhere.

Reports from the Burrum have been mixed this week. Some are doing poorly, whilst other have found small numbers of good barra and the odd jack. Whiting and flathead are possible in the vicinity of Burrum Heads itself, be that from the beaches out front or from the edges of the river channels.

Mackerel have made their way into the channel out the front, along with queenfish, but will be hard to access at times due to the weather. Trolling may be worth a try, with Laser Pro 120 and Scorpion 125 hardbodies being local faves.

Reports of prawns up that way, and including from Woodgate beach, have been of sometimes decent numbers, but generally small prawns. A few decent muddies are on the move in the lower reaches of all rivers feeding the Burrum system.

Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier

The Urangan Pier has continued to fish well for those braving the weather. School and broad-barred mackerel have been taking spoons and live herring in the first channel and out towards the end of the pier. Queenies have also turned up some days from a bit of high-flying fun. They can also be spun up, but if live-baiting is your thing, then look for a pike instead of a herring to improve your chances.

Flathead also love live pike, and herring, but aren’t fans of windy weather in the shallows so try using larger sinkers in the deeper waters if looking for them. Whiting are a chance from the first part of the pier, but they can be a bit hit and miss during the daytime, with slightly better catches at night for the (very) keen.

And for those that have turned up in the bay for Easter looking to tangle with some monsters on heavy tackle, but the weather won’t let you get the boat out, then here is a plan .... Rock out to the end of the pier with a spin outfit and a spoon, spin up a legal schoolie or broadie and drop it back over the side on the heavy gear and see if you can stop a huge rampaging GT with pylons only 4 metres apart. Good luck with that!

For a more relaxing approach out of the wind, our town beaches are worth a look for a few small whiting to keep the kids amused. You might find a flattie around the jetties or groynes, and there could be some nice garfish schooling around the Shelly Beach groynes during the early ebb tide for those with light gear, floats, tiny hooks and pieces of prawn or yabbie as bait.

In fact some very interesting catches have come from our beaches of late. Blackall to 5kg have been taken at night, from both the smaller jetties and beaches near Torquay and Scarness reefs. And barramundi have been caught on lures by chaps flicking for flatties along open beach gutters between the Burrum and the Bay. These barra encounters can be somewhat random, but they follow the same contours and routes and can be targeted.

The Wrap Up

So, all in all, we are in for a damp and windy Easter this year, but we wish everyone a great time, especially for all those families and keen competitors joining in the fun of the Burrum Heads Easter Classic.

If worse comes to worst, and you cannot get out to wet a line, then you can always drop in and see us for a bargain from our two Easter catalogues and get some great first-hand advice on what you can catch once the weather settles down.

And don’t forget, we have just opened our new Bargain Boat Bits store "Fisho’s Boating & Tackle" right on Jetty Rd as you enter the Urangan Harbour. They will be open from 5am daily and have a great range of bait and ice and all your immediate tackle and boating needs right there at the harbour.

Good luck out there y’all.

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