With a few good days of weather during last week and over the long weekend we did see plenty of boats fishing our inshore reefs. The Bargara 2 mile, Elliott Heads Artificial and the 4 Mile were all popular spots. Plenty of bait has been along our coast and these places have been holding a very healthy amount of bait. Having a sounder is key to finding the bait as a lot of the time the bait isn’t actually on the reef itself but more so sitting off the structure in the pressure edges.
We saw good numbers of pelagic fish caught like trevally, queenfish and school mackerel being most common however the odd big spanish has still been in close around these bait balls. Floating out whole pilchards rigged on a set of gang hooks has been the go to for the pelagic’s. For those targeting bottom fish drifting and fishing soft plastics along the bottom has been very effective especially when you have found a good amount of bait in the area. Big cod, grunter, trout, stripeys and sweetlip are most common with this style of fishing. A jerk tail soft plastic like a 4 or 5 inch Molix Fork Flex Shad or a Samaki soft vibe in a pearl white colour are the lures we recommend.
We sure had plenty of boats head out wide last week during the weather windows which was awesome to see after the shocking wind we have had recently. What was even better to hear was that a lot of people managed to get themselves a good feed of fish for their efforts. The key to finding a patch of fish that are willing to bite has been to find the bait! Where there is bait there is usually really good quality fish like red emperor, nannygai, sweetlip, trout, tusk fish, cobia, mackerel and more.
Looking along the side of the reef that is getting hit with current is always our first go to as generally there is more bait in this area. Whole squid has been working really well out wide, rigging them on a set of gang hooks is very effective. For the lure fishos drifting along these pressure edges and hopping soft plastics off the bottom as well as jigs will definitely get you into the action. Our gutters have been fishing well lately, those being the 15 Mile Gutter as well as the Northern and Southern Gutters. Live yakka’s have also been absolutely smashed by pretty much any big predator that is in the area. Decent numbers of yakka have been around a few of the Leads at Burnett Heads so on your way out it’s well worth having a crack at getting some fresh bait.
With the warm weather continuing to cause the water temp to rise the summer species in the Burnett are definitely being caught more regularly. A lot of big barra are in the river at the moment and although they are certainly feeding more aggressively they are still not easy to catch. Having a sounder with side scan is a game changer as these fish are sitting very tight to the bridges, pylons, jetty’s and the boats in the town reach.
Live prawns and poddy mullet have got a few bites but most of the fish caught have come from those using lures. 5 to 6 inch paddle tail soft plastics and 100mm soft vibes are still the 2 lures getting the bites most consistently. This time of year is also a great time to target big flathead and we have had some monster fish caught. These fish have been caught all throughout the river on baits and lures and during all sections of the tide.
This goes to show that these fish are feeding right now and aren’t very fussy on what they choose to eat. In terms of targeting these large flathead we do recommend fishing the run out tide at the moment and using a larger soft plastic between 4 and 6 inches in length, of course many other options will work however this has been getting the best results. If you aren’t having much luck try and switch things up, either change to a soft vibe, a smaller soft plastic or a hardbody lure depending on where you are fishing.
The Elliott is fishing well and is certainly a great option for those chasing a good quality feed of fish. The flats fishing has been red hot with good numbers of flathead around 40 to 55cm as well as whiting between 25 and 30cm. Fresh yabbies are worth their weight in gold when fishing the flats in this system, the flatties, bream, whiting and grunter absolutely love them.
Fishing the incoming tide in this river has worked well especially if you can anchor on a shallow sand flat and drift the yabbies over it with the incoming tide. Up river has also seen the summer species come on the chew with some quality jack falling victim to whole prawns and a few solid estuary cod caught as well. Better numbers of barra are also showing themselves in the deeper holes, these fish are still quite spooky and will most likely need plenty of patience in order to get a bite. Prawn imitation soft plastics like the Pro Lure Clone Prawns will be a great lure to tempt a bite from these fish as you can fish them extremely slowly to get a bite.
Baffle Creek has definitely been fishing well for those who are able to escape the crowds and find places which have had less fishing pressure. With the Baffle Creek Family Fishing Festival as well as the School Holidays bringing plenty of boat traffic to this river that is much easier said than done. Those who have found quieter sections of the river have seen great results with good numbers of flathead, grunter, trevally and queenfish being most common.
Areas of this river with a good amount of current pushing into structure like fallen trees, sand bars or rock bars are where a lot of these fish have been caught. Baits like whole sprat, whole prawns and mullet fillets have been very consistent at getting the bites. Fishing with a light leader around the 10 to 15lb mark is normally plenty for these fish however if you are around a bit of rocky structure or trees you may need to up the strength to a 20lb.
Some bigger jack are starting to be caught and some anglers have had great success fishing the rock bars at night with live poddy mullet and strips of mullet fillets. These jack aren’t quite on the chew like we usually see for this time of year so the night time bite has been best so far.
Similar to the Baffle this river system has seen a lot more boat traffic during the holidays which has made the fishing a little more tough. Venturing up river has seen the best results for most and those using lures seem to be having more luck. Small soft plastics in particular the old faithful Squidgie Wriggler have been getting the bite on the sand flats from flathead, bream, grunter and pelagic fish like trevally and queenfish.
The sand flats around the numerous islands in this river have been good places to fish especially during the run out tide. Working your lures back to the boat with the tide will make your lure look very natural and help to entice a bite. Trolling along the drop offs has done well for some people, a bright pink lure has worked a treat on the flatties.
The bass in Lake Gregory are sure firing up! Great numbers of fish are being caught and the topwater bite is getting better and better. Fishing the weed edges with either a slow wound soft plastic or a fast retrieved surface lure is the go at the moment. Overcast days or early mornings and late afternoons are the go to conditions to chase these bass on topwater. Plenty of fish around the 50cm mark are being caught and with some more warm weather we will continue to see this dam fish very well.
With the consistent winds and warm weather we have had the water temp is on the rise and the barra have been feeding hard! Great numbers of fish are being found all over the dam but finding that warmer water is key. Just a few degree difference in water temp is all it takes to find barra that are willing to feed compared to sitting on fish all day for nothing. South arm of B, Bird bay and SDA bay are 3 places which have been full of fish and plenty of metre plus barra have been pulled from these locations to say the least.
With the Southerly change in bound Hearts bay and Insane Bay as well as Wiggle bay will all be places worth a look. Samaki Redic DS80’s and Jackall Squirrel 79SP’s fished in the mornings have got the bite and swimbaits like the Molix 120’s or Berkley Shimma Pro Rig’s have been killer during the afternoon and into the night. Finding patches of fish which haven’t seen too many lures yet is extremely advantageous however isn’t easy. Getting a few sessions under your belt before the Tackle World Bundaberg Lake Monduran Family Fishing Classic is a great idea to scope out the dam and work out a game plan!
CATCH OF THE WEEK
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From the team at Tackle World Bundaberg
Live the Tackle World L.I.F.E – Local Independent Fishing Experts