Seasons are changing
  |  First Published: May 2011

It’s still very wet in Bundaberg and its surrounds, and the constant fresh has really made a difference to our fishing.

It’s been good fishing in most systems and the crabbing has been excellent and the next month or so should see more of the same. Those who have been getting out wide on the few days of good weather have cleaned up on quality fish: coral trout, red emperor, and parrot have been filling eskies. Of course those days are usually week days and it’s the lucky ones getting out and into them. From all reports the wider reefs have been producing the better quality fish and as the season starts to change we should see a few more better days and hopefully they will fall on a weekend.

In closer there have been Spanish mackerel showing up and taking big live baits; early in the morning around the mouths of our rivers are the places to try. There are also other pelagic species chasing the hordes of baitfish moving down the coast with tuna, both mackerel and northern blues getting in on the food fest. There are also several species of trevally and a few queenfish hanging around the mouth of the Burnett River.

The Burnett

By now the dredge will have finished cleaning up the swing basin and the water clarity down that way will have improved. This should mean the fishing will also improve as more fish travel upstream and into the town reach.

The sand bars and channels have changed but fish habits generally don’t so look for deeper holes during the day or when there is traffic on the river, and when its quiet sneak into the shallows because the fish do as well.

This time of year can produce anything in the river from big trevally to big grunter and even nice fingermark so it’s well worth a trip for a fish and target some big fish on big lures. You may also get into some of the many barramundi that are around in good numbers at the moment. I spoke to one of the net fisherman from our area and he said there are schools of big barra at the mouths of most of our rivers. He said they are very big shouldered fish like those that have been in impoundments. He said he won’t target them as there are so many hitting the market at the moment they aren’t making any money. It’s interesting to talk to pros at times as they are a good source of information. This guy said he believes the fish around the mouth of the Burnett have come from overflowing farm dams. He also said he knows another net fisherman catching tonnes of barra up around Gladstone and these fish are still very fat and are escapees from Awoonga. The other interesting thing he said was these barra were schooled up at the back of the breakers along the beaches and the mouth of Skyringville Creek is alive with barra. I am sure these fish will start making their way back into the bigger systems in our area soon but in the mean time it might be a good idea to get out there have a go at them.

The Elliot River has really surprised a lot of anglers over the past couple of months with some great fishing being had the full length of the river. Mangrove jack have been active and should stay that way for another month, grunter have been taking fresh baits and there have been some big whiting caught at night in the shallows. The river now has a new deeper mouth on the southern side of Dr Mays Island and I am told it’s an all tide channel - weather permitting of course. This will give those who want to get out to the artificial at night a safer return.

The Baffle. Well there really isn’t much to say about the Baffle because just as the fishing picks up, down comes another fresh and slows the fishing again. In between downpours the mouth of the river hasn’t been too bad but the upper reaches are a real struggle as the fresh just keeps coming down. It will be worth a try over the next few months if the weather settles down.

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