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Weekly Fishing Report - 7th July 2022

Chilly Weather Continues

With those miserable, cold and rainy days now in the rear vision mirror, we can look forward to a spell of beautiful sunny days. It is still going to be cold. Very cold in fact, with our overnight temperature likely to plummet to around 5-6°C, with the mercury barely threatening the 20°C mark at midday.

Cold, dry winds from the south, southwest and west are responsible for the chill in the air. Nothing abnormal for this time of year. The passage of a large high down off the south of the continent will dictate the exact wind direction and strength, but at this stage, it looks as though 10-15 knots of southwester will be fairly dominant for the next few days.

Those that are willing to brave the cold can get up at dawn this weekend and will be greeted with a fairly stiff southwester. Sleeping in and heading out in the middle of the day will suit many of us though, with the better conditions late afternoon offering vastly more pleasant boating and fishing conditions.

The working week may kick off with a similar wind strength from the south initially before tending southwest once again and strengthening mid-week. Unfortunately, at this stage, all indicators suggest inshore activities for the foreseeable future, with possible forays offshore for those crossing the Wide Bay Bar on the right day.

Today’s first quarter moon phase explains the lack of tidal flow at present. Increasing tidal flow daily from now on will peak with next Thursday’s full moon. That mid-winter moon has a lot of pull, so the tides will be quite substantial by this time next week. Here’s hoping for a better outlook weather-wise so that we can enjoy some of the best tides of the winter.

 

Snapper have been a consistent catch aboard Hot Reel Pro Fish Charters, another very happy client. 

Variety Spices Up Fraser’s Surf Scene

Fishos over on Fraser Island’s surf beach are having a great time (with the exception of the recent days of inclement weather of course). The beach is looking great, the seas are fairly flat most of the time and virtually the full range of surf species are on offer.


Beach worms were a little hard to pull during the wet weather, but they will come back once the freshwater subsides. Eugaries (pippies) are once again very abundant and can be found along much of the beach. The schools of baitfish pushed into the shore break have broken up in recent weeks, but there is still plenty of bait in the second gutters that are attracting a variety of pelagics some days.

There is still a lot of rock exposed along the beach, which – whilst slowing the traffic somewhat – has enhanced the fishing opportunities in those areas. The likes of tarwhine, bream, flathead, jewfish, trevally and tailor are all attracted to the rocky features due to their tendency to offer a little cover, combined with food sources such as the baitfish seeking shelter amongst the stones.

Newly moved to the bay Scotty has found himself right at home on the bays waters and has been getting stuck into the trevally schools tempting them with a variety of lure offerings.

There is a lot of long low tide gutters formed parallel along the middle reaches of beach that are home to schools of dart of various sizes. Word is that the dart have been quite mobile, with certain gutters producing large fish some days and none at all on others.

Casting slugs into the surf gutters has been producing the best tailor of late. The tailor schools are scattered and the fish numbers and size are only average at best, but a good feed is still on offer for the mobile fisho willing to gutter-hop and seek them out with metals.

There has been a fairly good run of jewies south of the headlands in recent weeks. Deeper gutters fished early morning have been producing legal fish and quite a few falling short of the minimum. Word is that there is also an abundance of tiny little soapy jew in some gutters that are all throwbacks, but fun all the same.

Those using worm or eugarie baits are scoring quality whiting on the bigger tides. The neap tides right now have seen their activity wane, but the whiting should be better targets closer to the full moon next week. A lot of the island’s whiting are quire large this time of year, so a feed is fairly easily secured, even if you only land a handful.

All-in-all, Fraser’s surf scene is quite attractive right now. Westerly winds blowing offshore and minimal swell make for glorious conditions. Many regulars leave their island visit until late winter or early spring to take advantage of the best of the annual tailor run. Sure enough, that period has its appeal for many, but the lack of crowds and variety of fish on offer right now is pretty hard to beat.

Tony working the angles on another nice bay snapper he caught whilst fishing aboard Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters.

Westerlies Favour the Landlubber

Whilst the westerly winds annoy the local boating fraternity, the landlubbers have plenty to cheer about. Cold starts are easily avoided and pleasant afternoon forays can be enjoyed from many vantage points around the bay’s foreshores.

The most obvious spot is the Urangan Pier. Bream fishos have been having a fat time out there lately. The present neaps have stemmed the flow of bream over the rails, but the approach of the full moon will see their numbers swell once again.

Bait fishos and those favouring lures alike can tangle with quite large bream from the deeper waters out towards the end of the pier day and night. Those not wishing to walk so far can wait until the bigger tides flood in deeper along the beach stretch and target their bream after dark or early in the morning.

The neaps favour the flathead fisho soaking live baits nearby to flatties spotted waiting in ambush along the pier. The first channel can produce plenty of flatties at times, but the bait can be hard to catch – particularly early in the flood tide when the flatties are most active.

The bait-catching scenario is vastly easier out towards the deep end, and just as many – or sometimes more - flatties can be found out there. The slope from the sandbank to deep water is often the best area to park your gear, but be mobile and scan the water up onto the first of the sandbank when the tide rises and falls. Spotting flatties and targeting individual fish is vastly more productive than soaking a live bait and hoping one swims by.

Apparently small school mackerel have been quite prolific out off the end some days of late. The damage done to a mackerel not being kept for the table can be substantial and likely fatal, so those planning on spinning sessions might want to re-think that option if the fish are all small

Nocturnal fishos have knocked off the odd jewie in recent weeks. The full moon, and indeed the tides preceding it, should see a peak in their activity. Live baits are certainly successful, but so too are soft plastics and vibes worked through the water column adjacent to or between the pylons. The benefit of the artificial option being the ability to keep mobile and track the fish down, without the downtime of chasing bait when it is a challenge to catch.

The walls of the Urangan Harbour are also worth a prospect for bream fishos. Flathead, cod, grunter, jew and other passing pelagics such as queenies and trevally are also possible for those there at the right time tossing the right bait or lure.

The rocky foreshores of Pialba, Pt Vernon and Gatakers Bay offer ample opportunity for those chasing bream. A little berley can help to attract the bigger fish into the shallows where they can be targeted with unweighted baits or a variety of lures. Little estuary cod, baby trout and stripies and the like can be a little annoying, but in the right spots, the bream will soon take over and dominate your catches.

The vast mudflats along the Booral coastline south of town offer quite good fishing in an offshore breeze. Quality whiting, plenty of flathead, the odd grunter and even the likes of salmon and queenfish can make for fairly entertaining sessions down that way.

Those mudflats are not for everyone. Only a dedicated flats fisho willing to put up with the mud and the long walks will typically succeed in those waters, but when that area fires, it can be quite productive. Protective footwear is a must and mobility is paramount, as you need to move with the tide. Oh, and watch out for the bities – some have teeth, others have claws.

A more popular spot, that is a bit easier to fish when not crowded, is River Heads. Bream are entertaining plenty of hopefuls of late, and flathead, grunter, cod, jewfish and blue salmon are always a chance this time of year. The westerly wind will blow onto the pontoon of course, so you might need to tip-toe along the rocks and try your luck out of the wind some days – just like we did before the pontoon was built.

Bobby & Pauly from Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters have been getting stuck into the fish, even in some rather average conditions they have been putting their punters onto some cracking fish, like this snapper.

 

 


Offshore On Hold Until the Weather Improves

There have been a few days worthy of the big fuel burn for an offshore trip in the past fortnight, but not many. Unfortunately, the week ahead looks a bit restrictive for all but the more experienced offshore fishos in more capable vessels. One exception to this scenario might arise however – and that is the chance of an offshore trip over the Wide Bay Bar should the weather ease.

Saturday looks like the one and only day of light winds down that way, with a swell of around a metre and a very light southwester. Locals down south have been having a ball offshore of late, with swags of pelagics and excellent-quality reef fish featuring in catches quite regularly. There is great fishing on offer without having to head wide too, with plenty of school and spanish mackerel not far from the Wide Bay Bar and swags of snapper in close as well.

Vast schools of baitfish have moved in onto many reefs and rubble patches and they are the drawcard for a variety of fish. There has been cobia swimming with the spaniards some days and otherwise lurking around wrecks, reefs and bait schools. The run of snapper inshore has been complimented by a good run of fish out wider as well. Pearl perch have been very active in a range of depths, though the bigger fish are still found in the vicinity of the wire weed out deeper.

Red emperor have been delighting many fishos. Some catching their first ever, whilst the old hands are knocking off good numbers on the isolated reefs. The size and number of venus tusk fish continues to impress, and a variety of other reefies soon adds some colours to the ice box if you are mobile and ply differing depths and reef types.


Add jewies willing to scoff live baits or lures drifted by their wreck residences inshore, and big cranky old amberjack keen to stretch your arms on the jigging gear out wide, and there is more than enough on offer down that way to entertain the offshore brigade. Monitor the appropriate weather sites and take a look at those waters when the bay is blown out from westerly winds in winter.

 

Shop Regular Peter Ford snuck up the island to one of his secret snapper spots and was rewarded with this great fish. Unfortunately, a tiger shark followed it up and hung around the boat for a fair while which seemed to spook the school. 

Hervey Bay Reefs Fire Up When the Water Chills

Possibly the greatest bonus of the cold weather of late has been the diminished activity from our shark population. Surprisingly few encounters with sharks on some sites previously unfishable due to the everyday carnage has been very pleasing to hear.

Some are still having problems, particularly on the popular sections of the Gutters and off Rooneys and Platypus Bay, yet the incidences are way down, even on last winter. Often enough, fishos have reported slower-moving sharks that just missed their target, so slower metabolisms can possibly be thanked for the current scenario. So too, the extra abundance of food in the bay, brought about courtesy of the great summer flooding, could be seeing the sharks scatter and feed without the need to follow us around.

The flooding has improved the fishing inshore and out wider as it always does. Quality reds and better numbers of scarlets have been featuring in catches out wide in the northern bay. Trout numbers don’t seem to have recovered much though, probably due to their tendency to fall to tea-bagged plastics and the ease in which they are found and hooked these days.

 

One of the many prized sportfish that you can encounter in the bay’s waters, a very solid diamond trevally. Don’t be fooled by this fish’s slender physique, they are absolutely freight trains and take some beating.

 


Once the weather improves, a northern bay reef trip should see you come home with a good box of various reef fish. Reds, scarlets, jacks, snapper, spangos, sweeties, tuskies, moses, cod and hussar are all possible. The trevally will eat you out of the boat on some reef sites, making the lure option a little more challenging if not exhausting.

Cobia are quite abundant nowadays, and are often quite large. They respond to many techniques and being so inquisitive, they will always swim up a berley trail if they get a sniff. Keep an eye out for these big bruisers free-swimming around the boat.

There is still a few spanish mackerel lurking around the reefs and bait schools in the northern bay. The schoolies are still quite thick and annoying reef fishos inshore as well. Look for the schoolies around any bait schools in the southern or western bay – but try to avoid the little ones as there are a lot of undersized fish about at present.

Longtail tuna can be quite a common capture this time of year, often caught whilst targeting snapper down deep around the prolific schools of yakka and herring. They are suckers for a rapidly retrieved soft plastic so it pays to mix up your retrieve from time to time as you never know what may be lurking around a bait ball.

 

Snapper Spawning Closure Not Far Off

This season’s snapper run has continued to delight many a bay fisho. Some ripper knobbies have been landed this winter, and the aforementioned reduction in shark attrition has made for vastly more viable sessions. The snapper are now widespread throughout the bay, and will be gathering to spawn in coming weeks. For this reason, in the interests of protecting Qld’s heavily diminished snapper stocks, our annual one-month snapper closure will take effect on Friday 15 th July. This closure also applies to pearl perch over the same period.

Keep this in mind, and make the most of any opportunity you may have before then. Please respect the closure and avoid targeting the snapper and pearlies during the closure period.
Should you get the chance, then a session chasing snapper in the lead into next week’s full moon could be quite productive. Low water temperature, abundant baitfish and hungry pre-spawn fish is a recipe for success – you just need to find the snapper.


The reefs off the Burrum coast might produce, as may the reefs closer to Moon Point or the local artificials. The waters of Platypus Bay are now home to roaming schools of snapper and squire. Just look for the baitfish and work the area with plastics and jigs or float-line locally-caught baits at dawn, dusk or into the evening.

The 25 Fathom Hole is now due to fire too if it hasn’t already done so. The arrival of hordes of yakkas in July is typically the drawcard for the snapper. If you get there and the yakkas aren’t there though, you might as well keep driving.

Rooneys reefs, the Gutters and numerous scattered isolated reefs and rubble patches throughout the bay and beyond will hold snapper at some stage over the coming two months. Let them do their thing during the closure and we might see some form of recovery of the species locally in years to come.

Another prized inshore capture by Scotty, a nice size snapper.

Now that’s a proper one! A solid snapper taken by Scotty, this fish falling victim to the Zman Curly tail.

 

Estuary Options in Westerly Winds

Given the likely weather restrictions this week, many local fishos will slip the tinny in and ply the waters of our local estuaries. The chilled waters won’t encourage much action from the bigger warm-water-lovers such as barra, threadies and jacks, but the winter species will be active.

Jewies take over as the best target for vibers or those who enjoy trolling deep divers. Blue salmon are super-active in the chilled waters and can make for some pretty exciting sessions for novices and old hands alike. They love vibes and plastics and are possibly the easiest fish you will ever catch when they are in the mood. Look for schools of blues in deeper waters on bends in the creek or river, up on the flats, and out in the main channels feeding the creeks of the straits.

In fact, they can turn up just about anywhere, and they are so mobile that they will eventually swim past you at some point. If all you did was sit in a spot with baits out and waited, you would probably get a few salmon as they entered or exited a creek with the tide. Grunter are still turning up around many inshore reefs and rubble patches. The full moon will see another good run inshore, but will also see many fish ride the tides back into our estuaries. There will be quality grunter in waters only home to miniature versions in recent weeks, so keep this in mind if venturing up your favourite creek.

Flathead fishing can be a bit of fun this time of year. The fishery improves dramatically over the next couple of months and can be a lot of fun for those with smaller boats. Skinny waters, light tackle and a willingness to keep mobile looking for likely ambush points can make for a fun session or two.

 

Kiera James showing the boys how it's done. That is a proper stonker, one of the largest we have seen this season.

Remember to let the big girls go and try to minimise the damage to releasees with good fish-handling practices. Of course, our bream are abundant right now and have gathered for spawning. Rocky outcrops in the lower reaches of our rivers, and even more-so out in the straits and lower bay, are home to schools of hungry bream. They can be super-aggressive this time of year too, so take a range of lures from topwater and hardbodies to plastics and blades, to mix it up and maximise the fun on the light gear.

“Summer” whiting fishos will be dusting off their favourite whiting tackle in readiness for the kick off to the annual inshore whiting season. Late afternoon - evening sessions on a rising tide up on the flats will see these keen light-line specialists donning the winter clobber and cackling away as they slip ‘ting after ’ting into their eskies. It certainly ain’t for all of us, but those that love that game sure are passionate and dedicated.

Dedication is a must too for anyone keen on a fresh feed of prawn this time of year. Yes, you can still catch bananas, and can do so from our rivers. The Burrum system offers plenty of good prawning options, and Woodgate will continue to give up large prawn (albeit scattered). There has been another smaller run of large bananas swimming past River Heads recently – indicative of what might be lurking in nearby gutters for those willing to throw a net in the chilly conditions.

Not to be left out, anyone keen on a feed of crabs can take advantage of the continuing run of muddies in our creeks and rivers. The making tides on the approach of the full moon are bound to increase the crab activity, so slip some pots in and intercept them on their march upstream.

Good luck out there y’all …… Jase

  

A typical size bay golden caught whilst fishing finesse soft plastics on the silly string onboard Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters. You can often find big schools of goldens over our local artis and around the inshore islands this time of year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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