A couple of solid giant herring caught with Tri from Fraser Guided Fishing. These speedsters are a great sport fish and a tonne of fun to catch.
It seems as though a few fishos missed our weekly fishing reports over the past two weeks. Our apologies for not supplying reports, but as anyone who dropped into our store during our big annual Garage Sale or Father’s Day Sale can attest, we have been way too busy to find the time.
A huge thank you to our regular customers and new customers alike for your patronage during this busy sale period. We trust you all scored some great bargains and found some new goodies to test on the fish this spring.
For any of you that might have missed out, or for those that just love a bargain, we have decided to maintain clearance pricing on a huge range of stock storewide. We need to clear this stock to make way for all the exciting new products landing in the next few months. So, drop in and look for the pink signage for your last chance to buy a heap of tackle at never-to-be-repeated prices.
Drew was the lucky winner of our $500 Shopping Spree during the Garage Sale.
What Sort of Weather We Can Look Forward to in Spring?
Now, before we suss out this week’s weather, just a quick summary of what to expect over the months of spring for all the new fishos that have moved to the bay. In a word – northerlies. Just as southerlies, then westerlies dominate the majority of our winter period, spring time sees northerly winds dominate our local scene.
There will still be periods of southeasterly winds, and also spurts of easterly, westerly or southerly weather, but onshore northeasterlies and periods of north or northwesterly wind should prevail at times. This will frustrate bay fishos stranded onshore due to our north-facing bay, but the beauty of living in this part of Qld is that our geography and proximity to other locations means that we can still fish elsewhere when the north wind blows.
With the north wind will come a rise in temperature. Not nearly enough to unsettle the newcomers from the south just yet, but enough to put a spring back in the step of the locals. Whilst we haven’t seen much storm activity for years now, the months of spring can potentially see big thunderheads rolling in from the southwest, riding the troughs and low-pressure systems as they approach our coastline.
Be wary of these storms if boating in open waters. You may not get drenched, as many are “dry storms”, being more of a noisy light show than drenching events, but they can be dangerous all the same. It might be wishful thinking, but the simple fact that our lawns are green right now (from unseasonal rains during winter), and that there is moisture locally that can evaporate in the heat that precedes and builds the storms – we might just return to some form of normalcy this spring. Well, here’s hoping anyway.
So, what weather can we look forward to this week? It looks as though we can expect light winds in the morning, both tomorrow and Saturday, tending to a typical northeast sea breeze of 10-15 knots in the afternoon. The north wind will build Sunday into Monday, before turning southerly and stiffening during the night Monday. A moderate southeasterly of around 15-20 knots will dominate much of the coming week, tending southerly at similar strength in the early mornings.
There won’t be any rain, but we might see a little fog preceding the cool change. A waxing moon and the first quarter moon phase next Tuesday leaves little to be desired tides-wise for a few days, but plenty to look forward to next week.
Staff member Dane has been looking forward to spring all winter, and ran up to Lake Monduran for a couple of days last week. The fishing was pretty tough but he managed to pin a couple of barra last minute as the light faded. The Molix Shad 140 was the undoing of these fish, the barra can't resist them.
Local Fishing Comps All Set to Go for the School Holidays
Family fishos looking to entertain the kids over the coming school holidays have the option of a couple of great local fishing competitions. Fingers crossed, that the COViD disaster to our south is contained, that no-one stuffs up our freedoms and that these comps get to go ahead.
The first comp is the Toogoom Family Fishing Competition that runs from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th September.
Then a week later is the Woodgate Beach Hotel Fishing Classic from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September.
Both comps offer a swag of great prizes to be won and plenty of giveaways. The kids will be particularly well catered for, with plenty of activities to keep them entertained. Good luck to all competitors, we trust you will all have a great time, catch some quality fish and score some beaut prizes.
Now, given that we haven’t reported on the local fishing scene for a couple of weeks, let’s take a quick gander at what’s been happening ……
Fraser Island Surf Scene Changes with the Tides and Weather
The day after we mentioned the fantastic surf fishing on K'gari (Fraser Island) in our last report a fortnight ago, the dreaded snot weed invaded the whole beach all the way up to the headlands. Thankfully, the weed eventually pushed back out to the second or third gutters a few days later and the fishing once again improved.
Our latest reports are that the beach is weed-free from the Cathedrals north, but there is weed holding in the outer (second/third) gutters beyond the reach of fishos. Perhaps the southeaster next week will push this weed back onshore, but for now things are looking good in the northern sector.
Weed permitting the great tailor bite along the Cathedrals – Dundubara stretch of beach continues. The big gutter just out in front of the Cathedrals ramp drew massive crowds a fortnight ago, with eager tailor fishos numbering 100-strong standing almost shoulder-to-shoulder, all hauling in tailor one after the other.
The iconic Maheno wreck on K'gari (Fraser Island) draws plenty of sightseers and fishermen.
Luckily, for those that don’t enjoy fishing amongst the crowds, there are ample other well-formed gutters along the beach that are producing tailor, quality dart, whiting, bream, tarwhine and a few flatties. The first of the season’s jewies hit the sand a couple of weeks ago, and the jewie bite has improved since then. We would expect quite a few hopefuls to be soaking baits for jew after dark up around the Maheno, Yidney or Poyungan Rocks as the moon comes good in coming weeks.
Although the weed is an issue in the gutters south of the Cathedrals, that weed is mostly settled on the bottom at present, so some intrepid fishos tossing metals into the surf have been able to fish for tailor in these gutters successfully. Bait fishos trying to work the same gutters soon get annoyed with the weed on their lines and move on.
Apparently, there has been schools of tailor making their way north of the headlands, but do remember that the headlands and the waters 400m either side are still closed to all forms of fishing until the end of this month.
We would expect to hear about a few captures of large pelagics such as spaniards, GTs or queenies in coming weeks, particularly from the northern extremities of the surf beach up towards the cape. Those deploying baits from drones or slide-baiting are typically the ones to score such fish in the outer gutters, though the queenies often frequent the inshore gutters up that way when the bait is present.
Worming has been excellent along some stretches of the beach and eugaries (pippies) are plentiful. Beach travel is still quite good, but with a lack of rains likely in coming weeks, combining with increased vehicular traffic, you can anticipate softer sand and plenty of boggings from inexperienced four-wheel drivers. A lot of the rocks along the beach are exposed at present, meaning no shortcuts, but also meaning more spots to try for tarwhine, bream and jewies.
When the tailor are running it can be shoulder to shoulder action in some gutters.
It is Whiting Time Along Our Town Beaches
Neap tides (like this weekend) are hardly conducive to better whiting fishing, but the little spate of northerly winds forecast in coming days might just over-ride that. As the north wind blows onto our north-facing beaches, it stirs up the sediment and creates a little “colour” in the water which enables the whiting the opportunity to feed. At present, the waters are still quite clear, so the best fishing is still after dark. That will all change fairly soon.
The coming full moon period in a week or so’s time will be a special for whiting fans. The beaches from Torquay to Urangan and the Urangan Pier itself will likely be lined with hopefuls tossing baits of yabby or worm into the (hopefully) murky shallows looking for a feed. There will be small fish in some areas at times, so you can persist and wait for the bigger models to join the party or wander off and look for better fish. Bag limits are typically achievable if the season is a good one. Time will tell on that count.
Those that have been flicking yabbies into the shallows along our beaches after dark in recent weeks have encountered a couple of decent sized grunter. A big grunter on super light whiting gear can pull some serious string and should be played out to be landed successfully. They are quite easy to land in a beach environment, so don’t panic if you connect to one. Unlike a stingray or little shovelly, they do not stop and rest, and have a very distinctive thumping headshake not unlike that of a worn-out trevally.
Since our last report, the Urangan Pier has come alive with passing pelagics and a few of the bread-and-butter clan. School mackerel made a few raids, albeit briefly, but should be back in time for the school holidays. Large longtail tuna have made the odd raid on the pier this week and can be expected to return randomly on the right tides this month.
Winter’s “run” of flatties in the first channel and out along the slope towards the deeper water continues. Spotting flathead with the aid of polarised sunnies and dropping a live bait in their vicinity is the favoured local technique and rightly so. Many favour lures these days however, but need to consider their height above water when choosing a viable lure option. The simplest and likely most effective offering is a soft vibe, as these lures are heavy enough to be deployed from a height and stay in contact with the bottom.
The bream season is drawing to an end, but bream fans will likely be back out near the end after dark on the next full moon just to have a crack at the last of the run. It was hardly a great season looking back, much like this winter’s failure to produce much at all from our heavily-pressured inshore shallows and estuaries.
As mentioned above, the pier will be worth a look for whiting as the full moon approaches. There is no need to venture out too far, as most of the whiting action occurs close to the beach or in the first channel out to the “kink”. Try night time mid-way through a rising tide for now, or the early morning tides closer to the moon. Yabbies and worms will both work, with lightly-weighted moving baits vastly better than anchored poorly-presented versions.
Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing have been finding some nice goldies out in the bay using jigs and soft plastics.
School Mackerel Season Now Well Underway
Fans of school mackerel are in their element right now. Or at least they are when the weather allows. Over the past two weeks there has been a good run of schoolies along the west coast of the bay. Anywhere from the Woodgate Artificial to Urangan has seen passing schools of mackerel gorging themselves as they go.
The schoolies have been quite mobile and are pursued by both commercial and recreational fishos relentlessly, so reports of numbers in one area might be a short-lived affair as those fish move on or are otherwise taken from the fishery. We hesitate to give away too much in this format as to the exact whereabouts of the better schools of fish, but are more than happy to share that info with customers in store.
Schoolies have been reported up in Platypus Bay recently, with a few fish chasing schools of baitfish deep in the water column in the local shipping channels. Shore-based fishos spinning from the rocks at River Heads have been into a few schoolies as well lately, with water quality, baitfish and timing of the tide all factors in either a successful session or a failure.
Latest Reports from Out on the Bay
Winter whiting fishos typically give up on their favourite little fish when the northerlies kick in, but for those that are keen to try, there is still some potential of scoring a feed. You could still try the grounds out from Toogoom – Pt Vernon or to the west of Woody Island, but your chances are vastly better down the straits. The channels out from Maroom – Tinanbar often fish well for winteries late in the season, with the added bonus of being able to sneak up onto the flats chasing summeries and a few flathead on the same day.
The passing of winter heralds the impending close of our annual snapper season, but it is far from over just yet. Last month’s full moon period failed to impress snapper-wise in the bay, with many hopefuls failing altogether, and those that succeeded only scoring small numbers of quality fish. All-in-all, we still need to be highly concerned over the current state of snapper stocks in Qld waters, and particularly in Hervey Bay.
If this doesn’t concern you and you are keen on a feed of snapper, then the waters of Platypus Bay and the wider reefs off Rooneys and out at the Gutters are your best bets this time of year. You can add the 25 Fathom Hole to that list, but going by the number of new fishos interested in that site, and the limited numbers of fish visiting it nowadays, you might even struggle out that way if the tides and baitfish abundance isn’t just right.
There's still some nice snapper being caught in local waters, soft plastics are super effective. Pic: Hervey Bay Fly & Sportfishing (above & below).
It has been fairly slim pickings for many reef fishos in the bay recently, though a feed of coral trout, cod, scarlets or squire is possible from some reef systems where the sharks aren’t too bad. Inshore, there could be a few knobby snapper on offer over the next full moon or beforehand, but you will need to be prepared to scout out the best of the bait schools and try to avoid the mackerel if fishing daylight hours.
Sportsfishos have had plenty to hoot and holler about late winter with plenty of trevally lurking around the reefs and bait schools in Platypus Bay as well as out wider at the Gutters.
It is prime time for big cobia right now, so if they light your fire, then seek them out in the northern bay where baitfish are thick and offer them a live bait or suitable lure. There has been a few quality longtail tuna up the island in recent weeks. Most have been taken on jigs or plastics fished deeper, though the odd surface bust-up has been reported, so have a spin rod at the ready just in case.
It is that time of year again where the marlin fans are dusting off the game fishing tackle ready for the annual run of little blacks. We will offer more insight into this fishery in coming weeks. For now, we will be looking to hear how the season is unfolding to our north in an effort to predict how our local season will shape up.
There is a swag more that we could write about, but this report is getting a little too longwinded (as usual), so we will leave the likes of our impoundment barra fishery, our river scene, the latest from the Great Sandy Straits and a few options for bass and fly fishos for another week.