We’ve been through a few weather extremes this week, with that stinking hot, howling northwester giving way to a strong southeaster early in the week. The weather forecast for the week ahead is hardly encouraging, with the southeaster set in till mid next week when the winds should finally ease into general rain. We are currently squeezed between a tropical low to our north and a high to our south. Given the somewhat unpredictable nature of these types of low pressure systems there is always a chance that the current predictions may vary so keep monitoring your favourite weather gurus for updates. In the meantime, with little to report due to weather constraints, here are a few ideas for the super keen.
Tomorrow’s new moon brings with it the bigger spring tides and that suggests that Gatakers Bay’s protected shallow reefs will be worth a look for those with smaller boats. Dawn-buster sessions trolling diving hardbodies could procure a couple of tasty coral trout and the odd estuary cod or mackerel. The cod will favour a slow trolling speed, whereas the trout and mackerel prefer their fast food. By 8am or thereabouts you are probably better off anchoring up and fishing baits of pilchard, hardihead, small squid or banana prawns for a mix of sweeties, trout, tuskfish and perhaps a grunter. Whilst these waters will be protected, the strong winds will still play havoc with your boat, causing it to swing to and fro, so consider double-anchoring to restrict boat movement and tackle losses.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
River Heads ramp offers access to protected waters in the Susan and Mary Rivers where there have been reports of quality threadfin salmon this week. There is every chance that the sambos could even school up off the ramp as so often happens at this time of year over these bigger tides. Pack a good range of soft vibes and scan the area with your sounder for any sign of the salmon schools. Boats parked right off the ramp are a dead giveaway of any activity in the area. The salmon have been active in the lower reaches of these rivers of late and are likely to be a visual target over the lower tide phases as they harass the baitfish and prawns washed out of the many drains with the bigger ebb tides.
Queenfish and GT’s are also worthy targets in the area around the heads, and even from the shore itself. Strong winds from the southeast will hamper your efforts at casting into the wind out on the point, so you will need to venture along the rocks on the Susan River side for any real chance with the surface lures. Flathead, salmon, jew and cod are all possible shore-based as well, so take a good selection of paddle-tailed plastics, vibes and shallow hardbodies for some sub-surface action. Remember, barra are out of season and should not be targeted!
Urangan Pier and the Town Beaches
Pencil squid have been a popular target out at the Urangan Pier at night and very early in the morning when the weather has allowed. Artificial lights either in the form of large LED / gas lanterns suspended above the water, or small chemical light sticks / LED strobes attached to your line will attract the squid to your jigs, and it can be a busy session when they are on. If the winds remain strong overnight and the waters too dirty, then wait for conditions to improve.
Shore-based anglers will find protection from the prevailing winds along the beaches from Urangan to Pialba where you may find a feed of whiting on worms or yabbies. Most reports of late suggest that even the whiting have been scarce, so be prepared to move about if chasing them. Flatties don’t respond well to windy conditions, so look for them in sheltered areas near structure or in the local creeks.
The big tides will push well up into our local creeks and will offer the more adventurous fisho a crack at some great mangrove jacks. If you have never tried it then you might well be blown away (literally) by the sheer size and power of some of our creek jacks, particularly when you realise the miniscule waters they reside in. Pulgul, Eli, O’Reagans and Beelbi Creeks all offer some incredible jack fishing if you put the effort in and don’t mind getting the boots muddy. Bycatch of barra, tarpon, flatties, queenies and mini GT’s are all possible.
Okay, so the weather is hardly the perfect scenario for hitting the dams chasing barra, but, if there is one thing impoundment barra favour it is consistency in wind direction. This week’s consistent southeaster is likely to produce some good fishing for those that target the wind-affected bays and points and seek out the bigger aggregations of baitfish and healthier weed banks.
Strong southeasters on Awoonga once produced some of the best barra fishing on offer back in its pre-flood hay-day and with the barra numbers again quite high we can expect a repeat of this action. Of course, Awoonga can be notoriously rough out in open waters in these conditions, so those with smaller boats should consider Monduran instead. Mondy too can produce great numbers in a prevailing southeaster. Of course, the more sunshine in the mix the better, so if it looks like being too wet or cloudy then leave it for another day.
Here’s hoping for improved weather in the not too distant future. Stay safe, and good luck out there y’all.