If you’re planning some time fishing in the Bundaberg region over the holidays you will be spoilt for choice and you should be rewarded for your efforts.
We had a really late start to summer with temperatures below average in October and a cool start to November but I am sure by the time we hit the stands the December temps will be right up there.
If you want to have a crack at a big black bream on a lure for Christmas, there are a couple places you will find good numbers of these fish. Probably the most reliable place is in the creeks off Turkey Beach and 1770.
These two systems are home to some kilo plus blacks that school in numbers. They hang together in the shade of the mangrove bushes and can often be spotted and sight cast to, be careful though as a gentle well presented lure will be set upon but a wayward shot too close to the school will put them down.
These fish are great fun to target on light gear and will put up a good fight in tight cover. But they aren’t the best eating estuary fish and can take many years to reach that magic kilo class.
The humble estuary cod is another species that becomes a great estuary sportfish when they start to weight more than 1-2kg.
In December there are baitfish and prawns moving in the estuaries, which means the cod will be getting fat and aggressive. The Gregory River has a host of great rock bars and big snags that are home to some big cod, any red lure in your tackle box is a great way to tempt one of these big ones onto your line. Yes, it doesn’t really matter what brand it is, as long as it’s red, dives deep in to the fish’s lair is tough.
Low tide when the water is still is a good time to target them. If you get a hit then keep casting in the same area, because if it was a cod then he will come back.
If you wish to wrestle with a flathead this Christmas, then a trip to the mouth of the Burnett River is on the cards.
Big flathead just love sitting on the edge of the deep water that lines the mouth of the river and they are suckers for a big Prawnstar. For big flathead use the original size in the Prawnstar range in the pink colour with the two weights left in.
The easiest way to target these fish is to drift down along the drop-offs leaving the Prawnstar on the bottom as much as possible. Don’t be surprised if you get to tangle with more than just big flathead.
For the land-based angler GT are a good option. River View on the Elliot River is a great spot for these tough fighting fish with access from the land.
The best time to fish for GT is an early morning low tide. Use a light to medium spin rod and a few surface poppers and walk along the rocky point near the boat ramp. My favourite popper is the Halco 80mm Rooster Popper and the most productive retrieve is a short sharp bloop followed by a quick wind then more bloops. Colour isn’t that important but if you only by one get a gold one.
If the trevally won’t commit to a popper a small metal slice sunk down deep and spun back quickly will usually get them motivated.
Land- based by-catch over Christmas will include queenfish, the odd mackerel and tarpon, which isn’t bad in anyone’s books.
Now to my personal favourite: the mighty mangrove jack, which is not only a great fighting fish, it’s not bad on the table as well.
There will be plenty of anglers seeking these prized fish over the break and the key to success will be putting in plenty of time on the water.
Without a doubt the Baffle has the highest population of jacks in our area so this is the system that offers the best chance of getting a red devil.
Start at the boat ramp at the ferry crossing right on the bottom of the tide, then using your electric motor work your way upstream with the tide casting tight to snags. My choice of lure is a Tilsan Barra in the white and pink colour. Make sure once you get it in tight to the snag make it dance with plenty of pauses because that’s when the jack will hit it.
I hope you get something that’s on your wish list for Christmas and have a safe and merry holiday.Reads: 2017