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Weekly Fishing Report - 30th July 2020

Weather Limiting Fishing Options

Onshore winds and rain gave way to westerlies over the past week, offering few opportunities for boaties to get out on the bay. The last couple of days have been quite good, though obviously this only serves to frustrate the average working fisho.

Looking ahead, a stiff south-southeaster is forecast to kick in late this afternoon that will blow around 20 knots for the next couple of days. That breeze should ease back to around 15 knots on Sunday and even lighter for the first couple of days of the working week.

As the weather improves leading into next Tuesday’s full moon, anyone who gets a chance to hit the water should find the fish eager to feed. The bread and butter species, pelagics and reef species alike are all good targets over the coming period.

There isn’t a heck of a lot to write about this week, report-wise, due to the inclement weather, so read on for a few tips on what you might target in coming weeks.

Green Zones Should Never Be Fished

It has become so frustrating observing fishers plundering our green zones over the years that it deserves a mention in our report. To see boats with people fishing and/or spearing in our precious green zones with such ridiculous regularity is downright disgusting.

Some of these folk may well be inadvertently crossing the line and might plead ignorance to the rules, but others are certainly guilty of poaching and they know it. Perhaps they think they are great fishers when they score catches of awesome fish and other critters from our protected resource pool?

Without these green zones there would be precious few fish and other critters in the surrounding “open” waters, as the species that rely on these protected types of habitat to propagate have diminished chances of survival outside the green zones. The spill over of fish and other critters from these zones replenishes our fishable waters and helps maintain sustainability.

Poachers, whether accidental or otherwise may well have gotten away with poaching in the past, but one day they will look over their shoulder to see a Marine Parks or Fisheries patrol boat making a beeline for them. Just as an example, one particular area where repeat offending occurs is the Little Woody Island – Boon Boon Rocks green zone, often in broad daylight in good weather.

The old joke that green zones are only green when referring to the green zones off Rooneys, Sandy Cape Lighthouse, the Breaksea Lightship and in the uppermost reaches of the rivers of the Burrum system won’t even raise a smile around law-abiding fishos.

Unfortunately, the Qld government no longer issues tackle stores with the Marine Park Zoning Guides that we were once able to hand out to our customers. If you need this information you will need to go online, or perhaps you could ask Fisheries or Marine Parks offices for a copy.

Pursuing Longtail Tuna in August

Longtail tuna fans will have something to look forward to over the next month if history repeats itself. August often sees small pods of very large longtail smashing into the bait schools in the southern end of the Great Sandy Straits. It is possible to score big tuna from the sand at Inskip Point when they venture close enough, but boaties have the distinct advantage of being able to chase them anywhere from the bar back up through the deeper waters of the main channel (ie “Wide Bay Harbour” as referred to on the charts).

Cobia of all sizes, school mackerel and golden trevally are also possible “bycatch” from those same waters in coming months. The movement of baitfish and the varying flow of the tides will obviously impact on where and when the fish will turn up. Jewies and cod can also be caught on plastics or jigs during the turn of tide by targeting reefy bottom or bottom ridges and holes that offer the fish a reprieve from the strong currents in that area.

Back closer to home, the bay’s longtails are a scarce sight on the surface this time of year, but a few pods bust up at times in the local shipping channels. It always pays to have an appropriate spin rod at the ready, just in case. Up the island and out in the central bay there will be longtails feeding sub-surface on larger baits such as yakka and herring this time of year.

Targeting them is more a matter of finding the bait and dropping likely plastics, vibes or jigs to fish marking on the sounder than chasing surface-feeding schools that is so popular in autumn. Random tuna hook-ups are just as likely whilst targeting trevally and reef fish with live baits or sinking lures this time of year.

Urangan Pier fishos score some fairly large longtails in August most years. Afternoon low tides (which fall around the new and full moons) seem to be the pick timing-wise. Often the tuna are drawn to the pier during periods of strong southerly or southeasterly winds, likely hunting baitfish that have sought shelter and moved in from open waters nearby. Live baiting with herring under balloons is a popular and well-proven technique when it comes to targeting pier tuna, though they can be tempted by a range of metal spoons, slugs or sinking stickbaits if they come within casting range.

Trevally Galore Inshore and Up in Platypus Bay

Sportsfishos need not lament the lack of tuna in winter, as they can simply turn their attention to the plethora of trevally species on offer. Just lately there has been a few schools of sizeable golden trevally lurking around local inshore reefs. Locations such as the Roy Rufus arti, Moon Ledge and the Outer Banks are all likely spots to try for goldies. Snapper might intercept a lure meant for a goldie in these same areas, so do the right thing and let them go.

During the recent wet and windy weather there were large goldies mooching about along the verges of the sandflats along the western side of Fraser Island. Using the dull cloudy conditions as cover, they rarely ventured up into the shallows, but could be sight-fished along the drop-offs to deeper water.

Queenies, both large and small, can also be found in similar areas. With fewer issues from sharks in these cold shallow waters, they can be targeted on light tackle. Dropping the size of your plastics to smaller 3-4 inch jerkshads and small grubs and using lighter leaders is often key to enticing a bite from shy queenies and goldies in the shallows. All manner of bycatch is possible on any given day, though you must expect a few bust offs when you use the light gear around the reefy areas.

Timing a run up the inside of Fraser to Platypus Bay over the coming full moon will put you in trevally central. Sound around known reefs, or aggregations of baitfish, and you will encounter any number of different species of trevally in one session. Goldies and diamonds might be the glamour trevs in these waters, but you can expect to encounter brassies, long-nosed, gold spot, bludger, big-eye and giant trevally, not to mention a handful of others.

You can still choose to deploy the light tackle and small plastics, but in these waters larger

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