Ripper Weather This Weekend
Boaties didn’t get much of a crack at the bay over the past week due to weather constraints. With the exception of the last day or two, most of the boating action has been confined to our estuaries and sheltered inshore waters. The fishing was good however, so that made up for the weather.
The week ahead is vastly improved. Following the passing of a trough tomorrow and some much-vaunted showers and possible storms, the weekend looks awesome.
Saturday should kick off with a light southwester, tending northwesterly during the day and remaining light under a sunny sky. A bit more cloud is likely Sunday, but the winds will remain light. Expect a light southerly followed by a light northerly sea breeze late in the day.
Another band of showers is possible Monday as yet another trough passes through. Super light winds will continue, with barely 5 knots likely all day, kicking off from the southwest and swinging into the north again after lunch.
Tuesday should see light winds yet again, with a 10-15 knot southeast change by day’s end. 10-15 knots of southeaster is expected mid-week, with the onshore breeze tending more northerly by the end of the working week.
Couple this great weather forecast with the first full moon of spring on Saturday and you have a recipe for some A-grade fishing. The building tides all week have had the fish on the move and a great bite can be anticipated over coming days and nights. There will be plenty of run, with high tides peaking at a smidge over 4m from lows of 0.4m.
Staff member Josh (above) and Luke (below) kicked off the start of Spring with a fun topwater session on bass. Zman Turbo Crawz and Finesse Frogz were the winners.
Great Whiting Bite Over the Full Moon
Going on the sensational run of “summer” whiting along our foreshores in recent weeks, this weekend should be a ripper for fans of the ‘ting. Night sessions under a rising moon will be super popular, offering potentially the biggest of these wary fish in great numbers.
Morning sessions, fishing the latter stage of the flood tide will also be highly productive in many locations, particularly with the hint of an evening-time northerly breeze and the big tides. The northerly winds accompanying the showers tomorrow are likely to create enough wave action to stir up the shallow waters of our north-facing beaches a little, offering even better feeding opportunities for the whiting.
Store regular Jeff with a nice summer whiting
Choose to fish with yabbies, beach worms, or tiny peeled prawns and you will score a great feed. If you are bored with catching them the conventional way, then perhaps it is time to test out the well-proven 2” GULP Sandworm. Rig them on either a tiny jighead as a lure, or on an appropriate worm hook as an alternative bait. These things work a treat, as proven by a customer that taught us about it many years ago.
Once again, the beach end of the Urangan Pier will be popular whiting spot number one. The stretches of beach along the Urangan and Torquay strip will be equally popular. Scarness and Pialba beaches will also produce a feed for the wandering fisho. Working the subtle gutters along Pialba beach can turn up more than just the whiting if you are extra lucky.
You can stretch the legs and take a wander along the beaches to the west of town too and expect to find a good feed. The same goes for the mudskippers that favour the productive Booral Flats. Basically, these big tides are going to see schools of whiting turn up along vast stretches of our foreshores. Whether you are a fan of crowds or not might dictate where you opt to fish.
Urangan Pier fishos have been mixing it up with both the light gear and the medium tackle this week, with plenty on offer for pelagic fans and those just keen on a feed alike. A short walk sees you amongst the best of the whiting action, and another short stroll to the flathead grounds of the first channel.
Head out to the deep end and you can be mixing it with anything from bream and flatties to the early spring run of pelagics. It seems like the bream season is somewhat expended, with quality bream still being hauled over the rails. This run won’t last much longer, so pier bream fans should make hay while the sun shines.
The pelagic action ramped it up a notch this week. The run of school mackerel continues, albeit somewhat hot and cold depending upon the tides and passage of fish through the Urangan Channel. Spinning them up on Flasha spoons continues to be the focus of many pier regulars, and the first-timers or visitors soon cotton on to what is working and wander into our shop looking for these little mackerel-catching gems.
Creating a bit more excitement than the schoolies this week has been the arrival of a few spanish mackerel and longtail tuna. Whilst both these species can be spun up on the very same spoons, or indeed several other offerings, it is so often the live baiters that are hooked up on these speedsters.
Rigging live baits can be a quandary. Do you rig on wire to avoid bite-offs from the spaniards and spook the longtails? The answer is a fairly simple one. Rig on mono, with a set of twin or triple gangs attached to the live bait. It covers both bases so to speak. Tuna specialists will likely argue that a single hook is preferred, and they are right, but when spaniards are about, the gang alternative is worth considering.
Tailor have been appearing and disappearing from the deeper pier waters of late. They make for a great live bait for a spaniard, (so long as they are of legal size of course). One might assume that a nocturnal pier fisho would stand an even chance of tangling with a semi-resident jewfish if he/she dangled the right lure or live bait between the right pylons at the right time at night over the full moon.
Settling Surf Will Enhance Fraser Tailor Fishery
Periods of relentless swell adversely affected the Fraser Island tailor fishery this week, but that swell is diminishing and the week ahead looks vastly improved. The full moon should see a host of species on the chew, so if tailor bore you but beach fishing is your thing, then this will be a great week on the island.
Mobile tailor fishos headed north of the headlands this week to escape the swell and rough surf conditions. The big gutters north of Waddy Point were super popular with fishos and tailor alike. This season is still showing signs of being one the best yet for island fishos, with quality tailor filling bags readily and no sign of a decline as yet.
The sweep along the open beach stretches south of the headlands will be quite dramatic this week. The big tides coupled with the affects of last week’s big swells creates a lot of current in the gutters and along the beach in general. Deemed to be a “bad” thing by many, others might consider this scenario as an opportunity. Stronger currents not only see substantial movements from baitfish and other beach forage, but can tend to see predatory fish concentrated in areas that minimise the current. Deeper gutters, the fringes of shelving sandbanks and even melon holes can provide shelter and enhanced feeding options for roaming beach species.
Two for one deal on tailor, great work Ollie
The full moon whiting fishery should be peaking this week. Some truly stonker whiting can be pulled from Fraser’s surf gutters, and often in very little water, right at your feet. Many gun beach whiting specialists favour the shallow blind gutters and melon holes barely covered by receding waters. Lightly-weighted baits of pippy and beach worm allowed to wash back and forth with the wave action on light lines and super whippy rods bringing their quarry undone.
These same shallows can be home to the odd dusky flathead and numbers of bar-tailed flathead. Whilst the whiting will be mobile and drift in and out with the waves, the flatties will lie dormant awaiting passing prey. Their ambush position is often just to beachward of a sandbank that forms the inshore gutter, so tossing a bait onto the bank and washing or winding it back into the gutter can soon see a flatty attached.
The option to cast artificials into the surf is a good one and can out-fish baits in the right scenarios. Light rods flicking curly-tailed grubs and the like into the shallow gutters can turn up whiting, dart, bream and flatties.
Toss a slightly larger and quite heavily-weighted plastic into the rock-strewn gutters or rips and you might soon be connected to a jewfish or a larger dart. Obviously, tailor are to be avoided when flicking softies, but for them you have the well-proven options of casting heavy metals and stickbaits.
We haven’t heard any reports from slide baiters or drone fishos this week. The apparent run of spaniards harassing the tailor schools have likely drawn their attention however, so it will be interesting to hear how they fare this week.
Offshore Beckons Those with Larger Vessels
The large swells pretty much put the kybosh on offshore fishing last week. Vastly improved conditions are on offer this week though, so we would expect plenty of boats to be heading eastwards after crossing the bars at either end of Fraser Island.
There is so much on offer out beyond the Breaksea Spit this time of year, particularly over the full moon. You could drag some little skirts around behind teasers on the chance of connecting to Sandy Cape’s little blacks, or bust out the heavy casting tackle and work big stickies and bloopers over the current-washed shallow reefs of the shoals.
You might just hook more than you bargained for in these waters too, as not only the target marlin, GTs and spaniards are fans of fast-moving lures in these parts. Anything from big green jobbies to mammoth cobia and packs of fat yellowfin can crash your spread or your surface lures.
Heavy tackle marlin boats will be readying their gear for the kick off of the heavy tackle season offshore of Fraser. Word from waters to our north is of a lack lustre season so far up that way. Perhaps our waters will reflect a similar scenario this year, or perhaps we will benefit from fish swimming wide of the GBR and wandering in closer to shore in our waters. Only time and boats on the water will tell, so standby for updates as the season progresses.
Only few boats heading offshore are keen on the pelagic scene. The vast majority are out there to score a feed of delicious reef fish and these waters offer an abundance thereof. Deep droppers will be monitoring SST Charts for opportunities to fish cooler slower-moving waters over the shelf, whilst those without the deep-water tackle will ply the shoals and country inside the shelf for different species.
Brett with a couple of nice snapper
Pearlies, snapper, jobfishes of many varieties, bar cod and a few other ooglies of the deep can quickly fill the bins when hauled unceremoniously to the surface on electric reels and rod holder-mounted deep drop rods. Sharks are rarely a problem in waters beyond 200m deep, which is a major drawcard these days.
The same cannot be said for the 100m line along the continental shelf. This magic line, where great hauls of tasty reefies were once prolific and very catchable, is now seemingly plagued by sharks almost constantly. Pearlies, snapper, rosies, comets and monster AJs can be commonplace along this line, but do yourself and the fish a favour and try other depths if the sharks are as consistent as they have been.
Shallower country either side of the 50m lines has been more productive and less sharky of late. The sheer variety of fish species on offer in this shoaly country reads like the who’s who of a tropical fish guide. The most sort after, are definitely the red emperor, red throat, pearl perch, coronation trout and maori cods for many, but you cannot fish that country and avoid large tuskies and plenty of other species to boot.
The weather to our north looks every bit as spectacular as here, so highway travellers might expect a convoy of boats being towed to ports to our north this weekend. The full moon tides offer such great fishing for not only the reef dwellers like trout and red throat, but also the paddock-roamers such as scarlets and reds. Here’s betting that bag limits will be readily achieved by those in the know or with the latest in fancy electronic gadgetry and the ability to handle the stronger tidal flow.
Hervey Bay Reefs Fishing Well
Get out on the bay and chase a snapper this weekend if that is your thing. Your chances of tangling with quality knobbies only diminishes from here on in into spring, as not only do the snapper move on eventually, but the sharks dial it up a notch and will soon be back on the chew.
The sharks are already an issue out at the Gutters. The big tides will see them hyperactive too, so mobility is key. Work the tides for a mix of reefies that could include the likes of coral trout, red emperor, scarlets, snapper, tuskies and sweeties depending upon how, where and when you present your baits.
Live bait is key to scoring trophies and is readily available from many sites inshore on the way up, or out there on the wide grounds themselves. Of course, many favour the artificial options nowadays and the same trophy reefies can be tempted on heavily-weighted softies, slow-pitch jigs and soft vibes.
You will struggle to avoid the trevally out at the Gutters no matter what you present at present. Get stuck into them and have a ball if that is your thing, or otherwise monitor your sounder and do your best to avoid them if its good-eating fish that you seek.
A nice trout from a recent trip with Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters
The 25 Fathom Hole could be a worthy distraction for those heading further north. A quick drift or two will soon see if the yakkas are there and the snapper in pursuit. The same goes for the many other isolated reefs and rubbly grounds in the area. You might add scarlets to your catch by scoping out such sites on these tides.
It is prime time to fish the Platypus Bay reefs and weed patches for snapper, scarlets and a host of trevally species. Periods of low light offer the greatest chance of tangling with the snapper for those not willing to risk the dark hours in whale season.
Back inshore, the local artificial reefs, wrecks and ledges are worth a crack for those chasing snapper. The reefs off the Burrum are particularly worthy of a dawn, dusk or evening session or two whilst the tides are big. The same goes for many other inshore hotspots too. So long as there is ample bait present, then the snapper and squire will turn up at some stage.
You might tempt a trout, cod or some scarlets over the slack of tide on the right reefs inshore. Sweetlip are only in small numbers, but those that you find are often of good size. Blackall keep plenty of fishos entertained, and pull as well as most reefies. Their reputation as “mother-in-law fish” keeps them from most eskies, yet a surprising number of locals seem to like them on the plate. To each his own on that count.
Other “surprise” captures inshore of late have been the random catches of red emperor and quite sizeable scarlet sea perch. Typically, these fish, or at least the better-sized versions of them, are found out wider in the bay. At least as far out as the central bay, off Rooneys, or beyond.
Yet, just lately, there has been quality specimens caught from reefs not far off the Burrum coast and in southern Platypus Bay. Its is likely that the extra abundance of forage washed out of the local rivers during the big wet last summer has drawn these notorious paddock wanderers in closer seeking a feed. Whatever the case, they sure are a bonus and quite bragworthy for our inshore waters.
Hot Reels does it again
Pelagic Action Ramps Up Over King Tides
The southward migration of school mackerel has drawn good numbers of these fish into our inshore waters. They can be found in the western bay off the Burrum coast, right across the banks and throughout southern Platypus Bay. They are also making their presence felt around the reefs in our inshore shipping channels, much to the dismay of the snapper fishos losing their favourite lures to the toothy buggers.
The Urangan Channel is home to plenty of schoolies and not a bad place to start for novice trollers looking to connect. Similarly, the waters out from River Heads and the channels off Kingfisher can produce schoolies hunting the mobile schools of small herring making their way through the area.
River Heads fishos tossing spoons from the stones down there have been scoring a few school mackerel and the occasional legal tailor. Live baiting has also produced the odd jewfish for those working the tides at night.
Schools of quite large golden trevally can be found loitering around some of our inshore shipwrecks and artificial reef sites. They take up station along some bait-laden ledges this time of year too, and can be readily spotted on a decent sounder and either targeted or avoided, depending on you view of them.
It always cool to see the different colour variations and marking on big golden trevally here in the bay. Pic: Hot Reels Pro Fish Charters
Platypus Bay fishos should not be too surprised to encounter large cobia around the bait schools and reefs up that way. They don’t seem to be as prolific in the northern bay as they were over late winter, yet they are still within their usual “season” for the bay.
The big tides offer opportunities for queenfish fans to chase their favourite acrobats on the flats or around the current lines of the bay islands. Look for skipping garfish, showering hardiheads and the like on the flats as an indication of their whereabouts, but if doing so down the straits, then your “queenies” might just turn out to be blue salmon.
Hot Reels found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
Estuaries Warming and Target Options Expand
Whilst many have their fun with the transient schools of blue salmon in our waters, it is their more majestic cousin, the threadfin, that is more eagerly sought after. We are now entering that time of year when these enigmatic fish can be targeted with some confidence.
Schools of threadies are easily spotted and targeted by anyone with the latest in fancy sounder technology. Dropping soft vibes or certain soft plastics to suspended fish can be very simple fishing indeed. Depending upon your timing, the very same fish can be targeted over rock bars or around the snags with hardbodies and add that little extra challenge to the same fishery.
Barra too are now back on the hit list after the usual winter hiatus. They won’t be nearly as quick to fire up until our waters warm a little more, but your chances of tempting one just improved dramatically.
Staff members Dane (above) and Logan (below) with a couple of nice threadies
Flathead will be highly popular targets again this week. The creeks and flats are all going to drain right off and these ambush experts will be suitably placed at likely spots to intercept baitfish being forced off the flats. Try creek mouths, large drains and the verges of any little creek or inlet where baitfish are gathered in the shallows.
The whiting fans will have already prepared for the big tides on the local flats and be ready to target their quarry over the evening flood tides - as they have done almost fortnightly for the past six weeks. The potential difference now is the impact of light northerly winds and the option to target the same whiting as the tide rises in the morning.
All the seasonal species seem to be doing their thing better this year than in recent drought years, and we can all thank the big summer wet season for that. What we can also be thankful for is those exceptionally late rains that fell well out-of-season, and the crazy abundance of banana prawn we have right now.
Check out the local river scenes and you should trip over excellent quality bananas on the run. They are in great numbers in many stretches of our local rivers and offer a great seafood alternative that we so rarely get to enjoy this time of year.
Good luck out there y’all …… Jase
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