Mixed weather over the past week saw a few good days for boaties heading out onto the bay and beyond, with mixed reports from various crews. The week ahead looks good again, with the exception of a trough and cold front moving through late Sunday into Monday that will peak the winds for a brief period. So, Saturday till Sunday morning is certainly the pick for this weekend, with a return to fantastic weather again mid-week.
Be prepared for massive night tides this weekend, with Saturday’s new moon bringing just shy of 4 metres of tidal movement for our area (4.24m high from a 0.26m low). Last month’s new moon saw a crazy number of logs washed off our beaches and out of our creeks into the bay, so keep this in mind in case we get a repeat again this week.
The great weather and flat seas recently has seen a few crews venture up north towards Lady Elliot Island for great catches including red emperor, big scarlets, trout, cod, jobfish and spanish just to name a few. Back down on the Sandy Cape Shoals the catches have consisted mainly of parrot, lippers, jobbies, coronation trout, maori cod, pearlies, cobia and stacks of hussar. Current out that way has been strong in recent times limiting opportunities to fish the shelf, but when it drops there are plenty of pearlies, jobbies, amberjack and a few snapper along the 100m line.
Further south there have been a lot of crews heading out from Waddy Point on Fraser due the incredibly flat seas and lack of surf. Great catches of reds, pearlies, snapper, parrot, lippers and a mix of other reefies have been enjoyed by those lucky enough to be over there at this time. Further south again, and the crews heading out over the Wide Bay Bar have enjoyed champagne fishing for red emperor, snapper, pearlies, scarlets, jew, moses perch and amberjack amongst others. Off shore has certainly been the place to be of late if you have the vessel to access these vast and productive grounds. Shark activity offshore is still an issue but has been mostly limited to the more well-known inshore areas given the cheeky buggers’ tendency to follow boaties for an easy feed.
Last weekend’s neaps saw a few crews score a feed of coral trout from the Gutters, along with a mix of reefies including cod, snapper, sweetlip, moses perch and hussar. Trevally schools are getting more prolific out there, both frustrating those chasing reefies and exciting the sportfishos. You can expect to catch any number of trevally species in a session on micro jigs or tea-bagged plastics, including (but certainly not limited to) goldies, GTs, diamonds, bludgers, brassys and long-nosed. Cobia in sizes from barely legal to enormous are a common capture out there as well on live baits and lures.
Over at Rooneys it has been mostly snapper reported of late, though some very nice scarlets and grunter can be found if you have good enough grounds and are willing to fish the low light periods. The 25 Fathom Hole was quite expectedly quiet during the neaps, though should again fire for snapper over the new moon. Drifting with plastics during the day will score, with bait fishos best timing their forays for the evening.
You won’ get a much better opportunity to tangle with snapper off Wathumba and throughout Platypus Bay than over the new moon in August. The guides have been scoring well up there during the daytime on plastics and micro jigs and you can easily do the same if you look for the bait schools and tell-tale arches of the snapper on your sounder. Night sessions will certainly produce the best catches for the bait fishos, with a little berley going a long way during the slacker parts of the tide.
Trevally schools are quite thick around many of the Platypus Bay reefs, and they will be super active over the new moon as well. Many schools of mini models of various species can be quite a pain though searching for better shows can lead you to the more prestigious species such as diamonds and goldies. Take extra care when travelling due to the abundance of humpbacks in the bay.
Snapper will again be the main target inshore for bait fishos and lure anglers alike. The big tides will trigger increased feeding activity, so catches should certainly be an improvement on the recent slow neap periods. The Roy Rufus, Moon Ledge, Outer Banks, Burrum 8 and 12 Mile will be some of the more popular locations for the bigger knobbies, whilst areas such as Boges Hole, the Channel Hole and Mickies should see catches of smaller squire during the slower tidal stages.
With the school mackerel turning up at Burrum Heads and The Pier, it would be likely that they will start to appear in catches from The Fairway Buoy, NU2 wreck, the Bait Grounds and many of the inshore reef areas. We have had no specific reports from these areas as yet, but would anticipate their arrival any day. Bonito are certainly on the rampage in many areas, and often show themselves when targeting baitfish on bait jigs. They are great reef fish bait, and are a super active species that will accept a range of small jigs and metal slugs.
Schools of golden trevally can be a chance from the artificial reefs and Outer Banks reefs, so keep an eye on the sounder for schools of them milling around and drop plastics, vibes or micro jigs into their midst for a bit of sporting action. Trolling deep divers such as Dr Evils and Crazy Deep Scorpions around any of the abovementioned areas is worth a try for snapper, cod and trevally, though best to time this activity for the slower stages of the tide.
A good feed of summer whiting will be easy enough for those heading over to Fraser and fishing the flats and creek mouths during the big evening tides with baits of yabbies and worms. The same fish can be caught in lesser numbers up the creeks with the flooding tide.
Flathead will be active during the last of the ebb and early flood around creek mouths and drains within the gutters along the inside of Fraser. Hopping plastics is the preferred method as it is super effective and enables healthy release of the flatties. Trolling small hardbodies will also secure a feed for those not keen on flicking lures.
Great Sandy Straits & Mary/Susan Rivers
The big tides would suggest the Straits will be the go for those chasing flathead, with the numerous creek mouths, drains and shallow rock bars likely to produce. The run in the river will be more challenging, though the drains within the big gutters in the River Heads area will be worth a look. Bream continue to school along much of the rocky South Head shoreline, but you will need to position your boat to take advantage of eddies along there for best results if bait fishing.
Blue salmon, mackerel, tailor, jew, cod, squire and trevally are all possibilities from the many ledges, rock bars and creek mouths from Kingfisher south along Fraser’s western shore. Varying techniques from live baiting, spinning metals, trolling or hopping vibes and plastics can all be effective for the target species, and the big draining tides should see all these species active as they harass the bait schools exposed by the tides. Take a range of squid jigs with you if heading down the straits, as although this hasn’t been a good squid season you can still stumble upon squid in so many locations.
Summer whiting will be a good target for those keen on a night session up on the flats adjacent to the creeks along Fraser’s western shore. Bag limits are quite achievable, and a few big bream and the odd flattie can also be expected. Summeries and northern whiting are a good target in the lower reaches of the Susan, Bengstons and Burtenshaw Gutter for those preferring a daytime session. Similarly, head into the island’s sandier creeks with the flood tide for a crack at some big summeries, and look for flatties during the ebb as you work your way back out.
Burrum River System
School mackerel have been keeping the locals and visitors out at Burrum Heads busy, with schools of fish turning up in areas from inside the river just off the ramps to the outer markers. Latest reports suggest the better catches are coming from the channel markers and surrounds. Trolling Halco Barra Spoons, Halco Laser Pros and Barra Classics have been effective for those searching for the fish. Once schools are found they can easily be spun up on Flasha Spoons and Halco Twisties.
No doubt the Burrum 8 and 12 Mile reefs will be popular during the better spells of weather this week for those chasing snapper. These areas rarely fish well during the day for knobbies, so time your trips to coincide with dawn and dusk and into the evening. Take bait jigs and get there early enough to secure yakkas, herring and pike to increase your chances with the bigger fish.
The river continues to be quite disappointing throughout much of its length, with queenfish schools there for the sportsfishos if they concentrate their efforts in the deeper holes and runs in the mid reaches. Flathead are the main target at present for those seeking a feed, and they can be found along muddy banks, drain/creek mouths and rock bars where baitfish are aggregated.
Fraser Island’s Eastern Beaches
The Fraser Island Retreat crew at Happy Valley have reported changeable fishing this week, with good tailor being caught in the gutters from Happy Valley to The Cathedrals preceding the mid-week cold snap. Apparently the crowds were gathered along the better gutters holding the tailor, so heavier rods enabling you to cast heavier weights and restrict your bait movement could be a consideration if you are one to enjoy fishing shoulder to shoulder. Some crews found the tailor scarce along other sections of the beach, with the incredibly clear water and calm seas contributing factors. At least the beach remains weed-free which is excellent news.
Whiting have been active in some of the better melon holes and low tide gutters, though be prepared to look hard for your bait as both worms and pippies are reportedly quite scarce along much of the beach. There were some spectacular catches reported this week, with bonefish being landed in the Happy Valley / Cathedrals area, and an enormous 45kg GT landed at Dundaburra on slide-baiting tackle. The sea mullet should be running along the beach at present, so keep your eye out for them too as good tailor, jew and GTs often hang with the mullet schools.
Local Beaches, Creeks and Urangan Pier
The Urangan Pier has been quite popular this week as the school mackerel have turned up in good numbers. Live baiting with herring rigged on a set of VMC gangs and mono leader is a popular local technique, as is high speed spinning with Flasha Spoons in the 35-50 gram range. Bonito schools have also been doing raids on the piers’ baitfish and can be caught with the same techniques as the mackerel, though downsizing to 20-30 gram Flashas or Halco Twisties can be an advantage for the bonnies.
This week’s huge night tides should bring on the summer whiting along the beaches from Torquay to Urangan. For those preferring not to stand on the sand, the rock groynes at Shelley Beach and the first 100m or so of the Urangan Pier will be worth a try. The mid-latter stage of the flood tide is often best, followed by the first of the ebb, with baits of yabbies and sand worms being most effective. The artificial GULP 2 inch Sandworm can be equally as effective as well, and can either be rigged on the appropriate tiny jighead and hopped in slow steps along the bottom, or used as bait on a longshank hook.
Bream are still in great numbers along our rocky foreshores for those wishing to deploy a berley trail and lightly-weighted baits. The same fish can be caught on small plastics and mini topwater lures from the same areas, so long as the pike leave you alone. The super low ebb tides mid afternoon will see the near-shore edges of reefs at Torquay, Scarness and Pialba exposed at low tide and should offer a chance at a few flatties around the fringes of the reefs. Similarly, these big “outs” will see much of our beach flats exposed, so flatties will be positioned along any remaining bodies of water and around our local creek mouths and can be easily tempted by a suitable lure during the last of the ebb and first of the flood.
Good luck out there y’all.