Moderate to fresh southeasters over the Easter break so far have been somewhat frustrating for locals and visiting holiday-makers alike. Cyclone Iris, that has been swirling around to our north for the past couple of days is expected to be downgraded to a tropical low overnight and it is not forecast to move south, which is good news.
It looks like we are in for yet another weekend of moderate southeasters, with the weather vastly improving by mid-week and potentially light winds the following weekend. The quarter moon this Sunday will see neap tides, which will be good for those looking to get the tinny out on our local estuaries during the windy weather.
The Bay & Offshore
Sportfishos keen to head up the island will find plenty of tuna, both longtail and mack, scattered throughout Platypus Bay. Most would already be aware of the arsenal required to tangle with these tuna species, which include your fairly standard 10kg high speed spin outfit and a selection of small metal slugs, jerk-shad style plastics and stickbaits. If heading up the beach for protection from the wind, keep an eye out for schools of queenies feeding along the southern beach section.
Golden trevally can be found over many Platypus Bay reefs by sounding around and over the reefs looking for bait schools and active predators. Dropping micro-jigs to these big trevally is rarely ignored, though you can of course get them to switch on to a range of presentations including soft plastics of many forms, soft vibes, blades, slugs and spoons.
Sharks will be in attendance in many cases and they are relentless. If you think they will only eat a fish or two and be "full" then think again. They won’t give up, so you will have to, and move some distance elsewhere, as they will follow your boat.
Reef fishos will again be restricted this weekend due to the weather. Inshore will offer some chance out of the wind, or otherwise you can bash your way up the island for a feed of mackerel, scarlets, sweetlip, grunter and coral trout.
Our inshore reefs continue to give up a few coral trout, plenty of cod and some nice scarlets and sweetlip for those lucky enough to get out during those all-too-brief breaks in the weather. Banana prawns and squid are primo baits for most species, but you will do better on the trout with a live pike during the turn of tide. Sharks are still a problem inshore at present, with the only "shark-free" option being the shallow reefs and ledges.
The bay islands have been home to good numbers of queenfish of late, so when the weather allows, take the kids for a blast around the islands targeting the current lines coming off the rock ledges on the islands’ perimeters. The queenies can be found in as little as a metre of water at times when they can be seen herding baitfish, but are more commonly found in the surrounding deeper waters. Diamond trevally are quite common at the moment too, which look cool for a happy snap to show mum, but be aware that they handle very very poorly from any water depth, so get the camera ready early for a quick photo and release.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
The western ramp at River Heads has been opened for the Easter holiday period. Thankfully! The wind last weekend kept the crowds to a minimum out that way, which was a god-send as there is no gravel beside the ramp at present (still under construction) and last weekend’s big tides caused enough stress for the uninitiated.
Prawns are the big drawcard from the heads area at present. Getting your 10 litre limit is quite easy during the lower stages of the tide so long as you don’t settle for getting a few a throw and keep looking for the schooled up prawns. The many creeks and feeder channels down the Straits are also producing good banana prawns, and this will only continue to get better as our waters cool further.
A few muddies have been potted from the Mary and Susan Rivers and from creeks down the Straits. A key factor to success is to try to find areas that haven’t already been "crabbed". Placing you pots in the vicinity of others is unlikely to be productive and increases the chances of share-farming.
Threadfin salmon can be found actively feeding around drains and small feeder creeks during the run out tide, and often over shallow rock bars during the flood. This goes for both rivers and for parts of the Straits. The neap tides will offer a better chance at chasing threadies in the rivers, and you can expect to find them several miles upstream from the heads. Barra will also be a prime target from the rivers and Straits during these smaller tides.
Burrum River System
The Burrum Heads Easter Fishing Classic was a roaring success once again, despite less than ideal weather for most of the event. Somewhere around 1,250 competitors entered this year, which is a little down on the past courtesy of the weather. There were heaps of fun activities to keep all the kids entertained, together with a truckload of prizes and raffles, and by all accounts everyone had a great time.
The weather kept competitors inshore but still some great fish were weighed in, including whiting to 42cm, bream to 1.3kg, flathead, grunter and some great mudcrabs around the 1.5kg mark. For the final wrap-up of who won what, check out the Burrum Heads Amateur Fishing Club’s website in coming days as the data is collated and posted for posterity. Congratulations to the hard-working committee members of the BHAFC and their associated volunteers for putting together such a great family fishing competition for the enjoyment of all.
Given the comp results in very trying conditions, it is obvious there are some very nice whiting and big bream up that way at present, not to mention those big muddies. This week’s neaps could see some good barra action from the mid reaches of all four rivers, and those chasing jacks would do well to forget those theories of dirty water putting the red dogs off. Both species will be keen to "feed-up" leading into the cooler months and this week’s cooler evenings could be just the trigger to kick off this response.
Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier
Local beaches produced a few whiting over the full moon tides, but size and numbers were hardly exciting, barely enough to keep the kids entertained. A few flatties were found around the fringes of the rocks and jetties, but that was a case of first in best dressed as is the case during most school holidays.
Dirty water has pushed up around the Urangan Pier which has turned away a few species such as the big GTs, but still enough mackerel and queenfish have been turning up to keep visitors entertained. Flathead have been a better bet on livies near the pilons, and they will be even better over the coming neaps. It won’t be long and our annual run of spawning bream will turn up, so watch this space for updates.
Kayak anglers have had some fun just out from our town beaches around Torquay and Scarness trolling small hard-bodies. When in the vicinity of the lightly-fished reefs in these areas flathead, cod and queenfish are often encountered, with some nice coral trout over the reefs for those able to keep forward momentum on hookup.
The Wrap Up
All in all, not the best Easter holidays on record, but hey, it can only get better right?!
Good luck out there y’all.