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Weekly Fishing Report - 8th October 2020

Oct 8, 2020

Tri from Fraser Guided Fishing has been putting clients on to some big golden trevally of late. The NEW Daiwa Bait Junkies 5" Jerkshad has been a great allrounder on  trevally and tuna.

Neap Tides and Light Winds ‘til Sunday

Pleasant spring conditions have been most enjoyable this week, and it looks like the next few days will see more of the same. Light winds in the mornings and a northeasterly sea breeze in the afternoon is likely till a subtle southeast change comes through some time Sunday.

The southeaster will dominate most of the working week thereafter, but the winds should only be moderate, in the 15-20 knot range. A further easing of the winds should eventuate by late next week. The odd shower is possible, but not till at least Sunday.

This Saturday’s last quarter moon phase means neap tides for the next few days. This set of neaps is particularly small too which many will associate with good fishing opportunities for some species. Barometric pressure is likely to fluctuate very little as no significant high or low pressure systems are impacting on our part of Oz.

Something for reef fishos to keep in mind, is the first of our two annual Coral Reef Fin Fish Closures that will take effect Monday 14th October to Friday 18th October. More on that next week, but suffice to say that you better not plan on heading north of the bay chasing reefies during that period.

Urangan Pier Less Crowded, But Still Pelagics on Offer

The last two weeks have been hectic out along the Urangan Pier. School holiday crowds enjoyed many days of exciting fishing, from tangling with large pelagics to scoring a feed of humble whiting.

The crowds have now diminished, but the pier still offers good fishing for those landlubbers looking for a chance at something a bit bigger than the standard bread and butter species. The herring schools packed in around the pylons out the end are being harassed by various pelagics some days, with school mackerel, mack tuna and queenfish being the most common assailants.

Big giant trevally are fairly well entrenched, almost residential, out the end at present and are a reasonable target whenever the water is clean and there are other smaller pelagics for them to harass. Expect the GT’s to be a regular feature at the pier for some time to come, only vacating those waters when the stronger northerlies make it too dirty for their liking.

Whiting fishos scored a modest feed or two from the beach end of the pier over the recent full moon. The average size wasn’t great, and the weed was an issue at times. No-one threatened the bag limit, or even went close apparently. Of course, the whiting bite tapers off with the neap tides, so expect little joy from those little tackers till the tides build towards the end of next week.

A fish that revels in the neap tides and calmer conditions at the pier is the good old dusky flathead. Sight-fishing for large flatties spotted in their favoured ambush positions along the pier can be a lot of fun. Try the first couple of hours of the flood tide and look along the left side of the pier.

Live baits of herring, or preferably pike, will soon gain a flattie’s attention if dropped nearby. It is fair to say that their numbers will be somewhat reduced courtesy of all the increased effort during the recent school holidays.

Inshore Reef Fishing Over the Neaps

We can now wave goodbye to the best of our snapper season, though there will still be a few stragglers hanging around some of our inshore reef systems. Large males in particular have been known to linger right into summer, possibly too exhausted to travel any great distance after so many weeks of chasing females around during the spawn.

Those looking for snapper will find the bigger tides next week more conducive than the current neaps. Places to try include the Platypus Bay reef systems, the 25 Fathom Hole, Burrum 8 Mile, the Outer Banks, Moon Ledge and the Roy Rufus artificial reef. As always, hunt down the bait schools to find the best aggregations of active snapper.

Grass sweetlip are starting to wander back in around our inshore reefs. The larger models that hung in there over winter are most active during the evenings but can also be caught during the day. Target them during the middle of the run whilst the tides are small, and either side of the tide turns when the tides get bigger. The Roy Rufus arti, the Channel Hole, Boges Hole, Bogimba Ledge and numerous other ledges and rubbly grounds will be home to sweeties.

The shallow reefs fringing the bay islands and Pt Vernon will produce increasingly better quality sweetlip over the next couple of months. The bigger tides will fish better, and the best fish will likely come to those fishing along the deeper outer fringes of the reefs. A little berley is quite handy over the shallow reefs and can save you having to move as often to find fresh fish.

Coral trout and cod will become increasingly active inshore as our waters warm. Their numbers are significantly less in the shallows nowadays for obvious reasons, but deeper waters in high-current areas still produce quality fish. Live baits or tea-bagged plastics are often their undoing. Many fishos are having success trolling deep diving hardbodies whilst covering more ground to find fish that others have not.

Andrew from Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing doing a bit of grocery shopping.

Hervey Bay Pelagic Action Hotting Up

Those chasing a feed of school mackerel are scoring well. Anywhere from the reefs off the Burrum Coast to Urangan has seen good catches of schoolies over the past week or so. Large queenfish are also prolific in some areas, offering a ton of fun on all manner of lures or live baits.

Look for the schools of small herring and you will find the schoolies and possibly the queenies, with the western bay or the shipping channel leading from the Fairway to Urangan great places to start. The odd larger spanish mackerel has been reported hanging with the schoolies of late, likely predating on the smaller mackerel.

Mackerel have been fairly abundant up the island as well. Schoolies and a few larger broadies have been smashing Flasha spoons cranked at speed around the reefs up that way. The odd spaniard and huge cobia is also a possibility from Platypus Bay waters, so be prepared for a tussle if you connect to one of these guys.

Tuna chasers haven’t had to travel far this week, with some of the best tuna action coming from off Coongul and Moon Point. The schools of mack tuna have been particularly flighty and hard to approach, whilst the small pods of large longtail have been a little easier to sneak up on. The longtail have been chasing small flying fish inshore of late, so stickbaits and jerkshad-styled plastics are producing the goods.

Golden trevally can still be found around some of our inshore reefs and shipwrecks, or otherwise milling around above the southern reefs of Platypus Bay. Micro jigs, softies, vibes or live baits will all account for goldies in the deeper waters. A few smaller goldies can also be found up on the local flats.

The Daiwa Bait Junkie 5" Jerkshad does it again. Pic: Fraser Guided Fishing

Big goldies and soft plastics go hand in hand. Pic: Fraser Guided Fishing

Big Blue Marlin Offshore and Little Blacks Inshore

Word from a couple of game fishos trolling continental shelf waters north east of Fraser Island this week suggest it is time to dust off the heavy tackle and gear up for the coming new moon. Up to 10 blues a day were raised by different boats, with half that number tagged. The bite was great for a few days till the tide waned, but the good news is that the fish have arrived and the prime moon phase is just around the corner.

Offshore game fishos can mix if up with both heavy tackle and light tackle this time of year. The big blues will be out wide and so will the better blacks and possibly even stripes. The shallower grounds will draw the baby blacks and sailfish, particularly in the waters off the 13 mile and the top of the bar.

A lot of the heavy tackle action is centred off the 4 mile crossing at present, though the fish can turn up off the 13 mile, the zero mile or right down off Waddy Point as the season wears on. Modern day SST charts will offer skippers insight into the whereabouts of the right water temperatures and then it’s a matter of tracking down the bait and subsequently the billfish.

Bycatch will increase with the warmer currents too, as wahoo, yellowfin and mahi mahi turn up to gorge on the vast bait schools offshore. These species are possible out wide, but can also turn up over the shoal country when the bait is aggregated in those depths. Spanish mackerel, cobia and big GT’s will also be reliable targets in coming months from the shoal country on the bigger tides.

Back in Hervey Bay waters, the much-anticipated run of baby black marlin is slow to get going. Only a couple of fish have been caught so far this season (that we know of), but the best is yet to come. The coming new moon period should see a spike in billfish activity, so anyone keen to tangle with young stickface should be readying their gear for a crack at them over the darks.

Tornado Lures doing the job again for Mistress Sportfishing Charters. Drop in and check out our range of light and heavy tackle Tornado skirts.

There's nothing quite like backing down on a big angry blue. Pic: Mistress Sportfishing Charters

Estuaries Warming but Fishing Still Tough

Going on reports from those looking for threadfin salmon and barra in recent weeks, it looks like this spring is going to be a tough one. Very few fishos have enjoyed success in our rivers of late, at a time when the fishing should be relatively easy. The Great Sandy Straits is shaping up to be a much better bet for both species at present, though even down there the numbers are only a shadow of what they might be.

Having said this, the coming weeks till the end of the month will be your only chance to have a crack at a saltwater barra till after the pending three-month closure. Make the most of the better tides, the warmest weather, and target the snag-dwellers for your best chance of success. Perhaps in this day and age, it would also be prudent to keep the whereabouts and timing of your captures a secret, or at least avoid bragging to the wrong folk.

Those heading out looking for threadies will be best served arming themselves with an array of soft vibes. Time spent searching likely waters with your sounder will soon reveal their presence and they are absolute suckers for a vibe hopped slowly across the bottom. The vibes won’t catch them all though, so take a mix of prawn-styled and paddle-tailed plastics and a few hardbodies to cover all bases.

Mangrove jacks will really start to kick up a gear in coming weeks. We are yet to experience any days we might call hot as yet, but as soon as we do, the red dogs will start barking. In the meantime, the Burrum River system or the creeks along the inside of Fraser are well worth a look for jacks.

They may not be as active as they will be when it gets hotter, but they will soon react to a lure if it annoys them enough. Be prepared to pepper a likely jack hangout with numerous casts and a few different presentations until you trigger a response. Red-coloured lures can be deadly effective on jacks that aren’t really in a feeding mood, as they equate the little red thing as a baby jack that dared enter their lair.

Weekend Crowds Made Impoundment Fishing a Bit Harder

As expected, the full moon and long weekend drew a massive crowd to the barra dams. Lenthalls was booked out and a few crews enjoyed success. Large bass have been caught fairly regularly on a vast array of lures, from spinnerbaits and hardbodies, to topwater and hard vibes. One lucky chap even scored a 102cm barra on a lipless crankbait on the bass gear. Well done mate, that is an epic capture.

Mondy had its moments over the full moon, but the bite window was very brief all too often. Some crews scored good numbers of fat barra before the weekend crowds arrived and the wind changed. The odd fish over a metre was landed too, but the chunky 90cm+ models stole the show. The dam is full of barra of varying sizes right now, so you could catch a rat one cast and a metrey the next.

Once the wind swung around from the southeast, the barra fishing got a lot tougher. Finding the fish with side-scanning sounders is so easy nowadays, yet at times the barra seem to disappear en-masse. They likely retreat over the drop-offs or back into deeper water when conditions aren’t ideal for feeding along the lake’s edge. Once found, the fish proved hard to tempt for many, though most managed at least a few fish for the weekend.

It's pretty exciting to see the Mondy barra getting up there in size. Pic: Lake Monduran Guidelines Fishing Charters

A few crews were rather annoyed with the crowd and the attitude of others. For some, it seemed that as soon as you caught a fish or two you drew the attention of others and were soon sharing a point, a bay or island. With so much lake to explore and so many fish spread around the lake it is hard to understand why anyone would want to chase caught fish.

This will be a massive year for barra fishos on Mondy, but the lake is going to be incredibly popular. Undoubtedly those willing to do the miles and get away from the popular spots and find fish of their own will do the best. The spell of consistent southeasters next week augers well for anyone planning a trip to Mondy the following weekend. It won’t be hard to work out where the fish will be, so long as the wind direction doesn’t vary.

Good luck out there y’all.

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