Big Westerly Winds Forecast For Weekend
We hope you all got out and enjoyed the sensational weather over the past week as the week ahead looks fairly ordinary. A high in the bight and an intense low between us and the Kiwis is going to generate a stiff westerly for a few days to come that will eventually turn back onshore mid-week.
This weekend looks like a bit of a shocker at this stage. You might get a crack at the rivers if you time it right Saturday but other than that it looks like the local beaches, the pier or perhaps the dams will be the go.
You Should’ve Been Offshore Last Week
If you got offshore this past week then chances are that you scored big time on the reefies. Just about every bottom dweller you can think of has been on the chew lately. Whether it be the mixed bag of tasty tropical delights from the shoal country; the snapper, pearlies and jobbies from the top of the shelf; or the big bar cod, flamies and other ooglies from the depths; everything has been hungry and keen to feed.
Some of the more sensational catches this past week included big angry reef jacks, awesome green jobbies, arm-stretching amberjack, big black-lipped reds and snapper galore. We can only dream about it for a few days though, as the weather outside will be far too rough till the coming weather blows through.
Big Knobby Snapper Still A Good Chance
The onset of spring often sees a lot of fishos shift their focus to the estuaries and dams, mostly due to the north wind hampering access to the open bay waters. Until the northerlies kick in though, there is some of this season’s best snapper fishing on offer throughout Hervey Bay waters. The snapper fishing this winter was quite poor for the most part, but kicked up a gear a few weeks ago with the belated influx of yakkas en-masse into the bay.
Forays to the Gutters, Rooneys and Platypus Bay reef systems should see capable fishos snare a few decent knobbies before the schools return offshore after (hopefully) spawning. Night sessions will produce best for those soaking baits, whilst those favouring the artificials will do just fine around dawn and dusk in the right spots. Sizeable knobbies are always a chance this time of year from around the bait schools throughout Platypus Bay, around the 25 Fathom Hole and other isolated bait-holding spots in the central and western bay.
Sub-surface pelagic activity around the yakka schools can be a lot of fun for those armed with a good selection of plastics and jigs. Stacks of trevally can be found out at the Gutters, along with smallish amberjack, yellowtail king, cobia and those big nuisance long toms. The occasional big longtail tuna will take a lure or a live yakka too but they are more likely over closer to the mainland or further south.
Going on the latest weather forecast it doesn’t look like there will be any traffic in the wider bay waters for quite a few days, so this will give the fish a spell and leave them prime for the better bite period leading into the full moon in a week or so. Make the most of the coming moon out wide if you get the chance as the northerlies could dominate the weather patterns thereafter if history is anything to go by.
Inshore Mackerel Run Kicks Up A Gear
The annual school mackerel migration continues, with increasing numbers of schoolies flooding down the west coast of the bay. Plagues of juvie macks were an issue till this week and the arrival of a much better class of fish. Schoolies averaging 60cm or so are quite a common catch right now and can be found from a number of reefs and isolated structures in the wider southern bay area.
With the pier fishing so well last week it is obvious that some big numbers of fish moved through local shipping channels, so if you are looking for macks after this latest blow passes then that may well be a good area to start your search. Try the Fairway as soon as the weather settles as it will be popular thereafter. The Urangan Channel and the reefs and drop offs out from the Burrum will also be worth a look, especially for those that enjoy their trolling.
Once the wind settles, the deeper local reefs will be worth a look for some snapper. Time your efforts around the coming full moon for what could prove to be one of the last opportunities for this snapper season. Once the snapper have spawned inshore they will make their way back out of the bay. Stragglers will still be found for some months but the main biomass will vacate our waters with the onset of warmer temperatures. As always, appropriate water quality, available food sources and risk of predation will all be factors determining the movement of the snapper schools.
Spanish mackerel have been a fairly common catch inshore this past couple of weeks. For those new to the bay, or perhaps just visiting, please be aware that spanish are a species highly susceptible to ciguatera fish poisoning in our waters and are often considered too risky to eat unless quite small. A dinoflagellate bloom off Wathumba each spring is the source of the toxin. The risk of illness is so high that the taking of spanish mackerel from Platypus Bay waters is completely prohibited.
Spoilt For Choice In The Estuaries
Now that spring has sprung, many fishos will turn their attention to the estuaries. Warming waters will trigger an increase in activity from the summer species, but conditions are just right for a lot of the winter species as well.
Right now, you will do particularly well if you seek out flathead around the creek mouths, shallow rock bars, gutters and drains. Strong winds like those forecast will do you no favours when chasing flatties, but it will stir up the shallows a bit and take the edge off the water clarity. Baitfish will be forced to shelter from the rougher areas and the predators will follow. Take note of the areas that the wind will smash onshore and look for adjacent areas where the bait and predators will gather. This could be a nearby creek, a bend in the shoreline or just nearby deeper water.
Sand whiting are a great target right now. Night sessions over the larger tides have been highly productive, with crews bagging out with reasonable ease. The coming full moon should see a repeat of this scenario, with the addition of increasingly easier daytime fishing to boot.
In coming weeks we should see increased activity from threadfin salmon, barra and mangrove jacks. This past week has been particularly warm and has encouraged a bit of activity, though the cool change and plummeting temperatures this weekend will do little for that cause. In the meantime, there are still plenty of blue salmon keen to smash all manner of lures down the straits and in the rivers.
September is one of the best months for jewfish and whilst they copped a hiding in some easily accessible locations over the winter, they are still a great option elsewhere if you find the right recipe of water depth, structure and food. Many of the ledges along the inside of Fraser hold good jewies at times and once the water clarity issue passes they can be found quite regularly during the daytime. Until then, night sessions will still be the go.
Urangan Pier Firing For Springtime Species
The typical spring time gathering of fish around the Urangan Pier has started in earnest. A great run of school mackerel over the past week has seen big numbers of macks falling to Flasha Spoons and gang-rigged live baits. A significant crowd gathers along the pier during these events as word gets out and the locals join the tourists for a bit of high-speed spinning fun.
Masses of schoolies were one thing, but it has been the number and size of the accompanying spanish mackerel that has been even more impressive. Spanish to 20kg have been regular catches this past week and with the latest reports suggesting the best of the bigger schollies has been replaced with a number of undersized models you might expect a few more spanish to turn up yet.
Big longtail tuna have also been a major target early in the mornings from the end of the pier. Spinning them up is still worth the effort when they come close enough, but ballooning live baits often accounts for more of the longies.
It’s not all pelagics either, with stacks of happy whiting fishos walking the boards just off the beach at night. Bag limits have been achievable some nights, and with a little thought and some primo bait you can even get a good feed over the neaps. Daytime sessions for whiting should be on the cards after this latest blow if it stirs up the shallows a little in time for the full moon next weekend.
There have been quite a few flathead lurking around the pylons of the pier and they have been a bit cagey according to some. Catching pike and dropping them live nearby should soon see if the flatties you spot in the shallows are in a feeding mood or just feeling amorous.
Fraser Island Tailor On The Chew Again
Word from Fraser’s eastern beach is that the beach conditions are particularly good right now, with a few heavy east coast showers firming the sand. These very showers didn’t even make it to the centre of the island by the way so don’t think you blinked and missed some rain. Worming is still very tough over there but there are plenty of pippies.
This year’s tailor season has been awesome so far, with a few ups and downs just recently. The good news this week is that the tailor are once again very active, with beach fishos hauling them in one after the other.
Most of the action is again centred around the Happy Valley / Maheno stretch of beach. The big fish that were there a couple of weeks ago have passed on and it is more-so tailor in the 40’s making up the majority of catches from that area at present.
Fraser Island locals have been having some fun with a few jewies in the deeper gutters of late, though most of these jew have been undersized. The coming full moon period will be worth a try for jewie fishos and the better gutters north of Eli Creek or any gutter formed around exposed rocks are good places to start the hunt.
Good luck out there y’all.