Weather permitting this weekend will be a perfect opportunity to head out along our inshore reefs or out wide whilst most of our rivers are filled with fresh water. Our inshore reefs have been firing full of pelagic fish whilst the bait is plentiful in these areas. Using whole pilchards has been the go on some big trevally and queenfish and they have been hanging around any big bommies that are getting hit hard with the current. Some big schools of mac tuna have been popping up all along our coast with the odd longtail school around as well. Throwing small metal slugs through these schools of fish has worked well especially if the bait they are feeding on is really small.
Plenty of school mackerel are still around and have been smashing deep diving hardbody lures when trolled. Finding schools of bait and trolling lures around the outskirts of them is a great way to target these fish. Whole pilchards and garfish also work really well when trolled so definitely have them on the boat along with a few hardbody lures. The spanish are few and far between at the moment but that odd ones are still being caught if the school mackerel don’t beat them to it.
At this stage Sunday is looking like a good opportunity to head out wide, definitely keep an eye on the weather in case this changes as it always does. Make sure to have all of your safety equipment up to date and in easily accessible places. Reefs towards Lady Elliott Island have been fishing really well recently with some huge trout, sweetlip and tusk fish being very common catches. These fish have been caught all throughout the reefs but the bigger models have come off small isolated pinnacles away from the main section of reef. Whole pilchards and large fillets have got to be the go to baits at the moment.
Unfortunately with the recent rain our region got last week the Burnett has once again been filled with fresh water meaning that the fishing will be quite tough. Last week saw this river really firing up with a lot of barra and jack being caught all throughout the river. With the abrupt fresh flowing into the river these fish are no doubt going to be hard to find and most stretches of the river are going to be off the cards. The mouth of the river will be the place to be at least while we wait until we see some salt flow back up river. Using big flesh baits around heavy structure at the mouth is going to be the go. A lot of the fish have been pushed down river so any major structure at the mouth will hold fish so be sure to try a range of techniques to see what will work for you in the fresh and murky water. If you do head out onto the Burnett be mindful of any debris that may catch some off guard.
Due to the Elliott River being a much smaller system the fresh water run off hasn’t been as bad when compared to the Burnett or Kolan. The upper stretches of river are very fresh however towards the mouth of the river isn’t too bad on an incoming tide. Some good quality flathead and trevally have been caught at the mouth of the river on strips of flesh baits with mullet fillet working best. Soft vibes or hardbody lures have also worked well when trying to cover ground and find these fish on the sand flats and drop offs. Some quality mud crabs have been on the move with the runoff water and big tides stirring them up so throwing the pots in for a full day or overnight is definitely worth a shot. If you do decide to try your luck at getting a few mud crabs using big smelly baits is going to be the way to go in the murky water.
Baffle Creek – Bundaberg
The Baffle has definitely held up better than the Burnett and the Kolan due to there being no freshwater catchment flooding this river. There is still a lot of fresh flowing down from the upper stretches of river making the river very dirty. Towards the mouth of the river will be the go with preferably fishing around the top of the tide to allow for a lot of the salt to push back into the river. If you are bait fishing using large flesh baits is going to be best and try to place them deep into structure like fallen trees or rock bars. Some good quality mangrove jack, cod and flathead can still be caught in these conditions. If you are lure fishing using slightly bigger lures in white, red, black or green colours will help your lure stand out in the water column. Similar to baiting, fishing heavy structure is going to be the go ensuring your lure is getting right into the fishes face. This river is always known for it’s great crabbing and with the freshwater runoff coming into this system the crabs have been on the move. Using big flesh baits in the pots has been the go and leaving them in all day or overnight.
The Kolan is very similar to the Burnett right now due to their catchments upstream of them experiencing a lot of rain resulting in fresh water feeding down through the rivers. Monduran dam has surpassed 100% resulting in the Kolan River copping a lot of the damage whilst water continues to spill over the dam wall. Like the Burnett the only places worth fishing at the moment will be the mouth of the river and typically around heavy structure providing shelter for predators against the flowing fresh water. The barra and jacks that have been chewing in this river will definitely be hard to tempt a bite from at the moment. The best shot will be large flesh baits like mullet fillet as it is a much stronger smelling bait, throwing it right into the heavy structure is where these fish will be. Whilst this river is running fresh it is worth heading out along the beaches either side of the river mouths for some quality whiting or to have a bit of fun on the dart and tailor that have been around with the bait.
Bundaberg – Local Beaches
These next few weeks are going to be a great opportunity to get out along the beaches that our region has to offer whilst the rivers are running fresh. Some awesome whiting, dart, tailor, trevally and flathead have been caught along all of our beaches lately and most of these spots will still be fishing very well. Finding deep gutters has been where these fish have been caught with fresh yabbies working well on the dart, whiting and flathead. The trevally and tailor have preferred whole pilchards or small metal slugs wound quickly through the schools of bait which can usually be spotted easily with a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. Those with a 4wd or the ability to get the keys to one should look at places like Rules Beach or Coonarr Beach as they have been fishing very well and seem to be holding up great with the recent rain.
Although last weekend definitely didn’t provide very favourable conditions for barra fishing there were still some cracker fish caught. Those who braved the rain were rewarded with some quality bites even when they were few and far between. The big barra seemed to be aware of the increased boat traffic and the average conditions meaning their bites were quite timid making it hard to set the hooks properly. Seeing some trophy fish spit your lure mid air is all part of the game unfortunately, but it’s what keeps anglers coming back for more. Slowing your retrieve down seemed to be what got the bites as leaving lures sitting in front of a barra’s face for as long as possible is going to increase the chances of tempting a bite. Plenty of small barra around 40cm were on the chew over the weekend which definitely helped anglers stay persistent for those bigger fish. Some huge catfish and solid jewfish were caught providing great entertainment for the whole family with some crackers coming just off the bank at the boat ramps. This comp isn’t just about catching fish hence why both Tackle World Bundaberg and MASA worked so hard behind the scenes to provide loads of giveaways, activities, entertainment and great food for all who attended.
With the sun now out and things warming up we will start to see the dam fish like it has been over the last few weeks. Plenty of big barra have been caught but the key has been to pick a bright, sunny day with minimal cloud cover. With barra all throughout the dam at this point finding fish is not very difficult, finding fish that will bite is the hard part. Fishing wind-blown bays and being as quiet as possible will help you keep these metre plus barra unaware of your presence and help you get some fish in the boat. If you are sitting on a school of fish that won’t bite try mixing things up, maybe throwing a lure you have always wanted to try, going down a few pound in your leader, or even just changing up your retrieve.
Because Lake Gregory is a balancing storage it has not been affected from the recent rain other than the water clarity becoming dirtier than usual. Using a lure that is going to stand out in this water is going to be your best bet. Using a soft plastic dye to change the colours of tails on your lures is a great way to attract a bite especially in murky water conditions. Some cracking bass have been caught from the dam this week with some getting close to the 50cm mark. Most fish have been caught on shallow points and banks with slow rolling soft plastics working best. Small hardbody lures have started to become more effective when targeting fish sitting along weed edges. Twitching these lures along the weed edges implementing plenty of pauses is a super fun and effective way to catch these bass.
CATCH OF THE WEEK
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From the team at Tackle World Bundaberg
Live the Tackle World LIFE – Local Independent Fishing Experts