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Warming up
  |  First Published: September 2011



It’s been the longest winter I have experienced in my 20 years living in Bundaberg and I can’t wait until it’s over.

By September the days will be significantly longer and warmer, which means it’s time to dust off the jack and barra lures. With a major shakeup to southeast Queensland’s estuary systems from last summer’s floods, this spring will be a big measure as to how our fishery will react.

Spring fishing is good with the water temperatures climbing and with baitfish moving around the predators become more active. Now throw in a whole new biomass of predators that will be experiencing their first saltwater spring and who knows what will happen?

Just about every system along the coast from north of Gladstone to Hervey Bay has had an artificial stocking of barramundi from major impoundments and farm dams overflowing and there are going to be some amazing experiences in the next few months.

The Burnett

The Burnett River has been producing barramundi for anglers over winter mainly around the hot water outlet. There has also been literally tonnes of barra being netted by pro fishers out of the Burnett over winter mainly in the deeper holes. This may disturb some anglers but it is legal and believe it or not there are still heaps of barra swimming around ready to eat your lures and bait.

The river has changed and is settling in to its new look. With a lot more bank structure this should mean as the water warms the baitfish will start hanging in the shallows, which is where I will start to target my fish. For those who like to soak a bait in the river there will be a few surprises over spring with grunter, salmon and fingermark all potential captures.

Woodgate

Ben from Barkala Caravan Park in Woodgate reports the schools of big prawns that have been out the front are still there and show no sign of leaving. For those locals who haven’t been in on the prawn fest since the floods earlier in the year Woodgate Beach has had a fine film of black silt covering the beach at low tide. Big banana prawns moved in several months ago feeding on this rich source of food and because it’s inaccessible and illegal for the prawn trawlers to clean them up, the prawns have been there pretty much for recreational cast netter to harvest.

And harvest they have with most fishers doing the right thing collecting their 10L of prawns in quick time.

Of course when there is abundant supply, greed rears its ugly head. I am told the fisheries have fined up to 15 people and confiscated several boats. It seems that some people just don’t want to play by the rules. My theory is that if you do the crime, then do the time. Keep on their back, Fisheries officers.

Ben also reports there have been plenty of flathead caught around the mouth of Theodolite Creek and around the boat ramp on the Burrum River. Spring should see the start of some better fishing in the creeks as Woodgate has a few shallow creeks that heat up quicker than the larger systems.

Freshwater

The Isis Balancing Storage has been fishing well and as spring gets the bugs moving, the early morning big bass bite should be well worth the pre dawn effort.

September splits up the big schools of bass with the larger fish deciding to start to establish their home ground, which means it’s time to hit the back pockets with spinnerbaits and surface lures.

All the local creeks are full and should be worth a walk. Surface lures will be the go to lure followed by a loud, rattling bright lure. Creeks like Splitters and the top of the Elliott will throw up a few surprises and will be well worth the adventure. I haven’t had the chance to fish Monduran, but I hear there has been a few smaller barra being caught. This is very positive for the future and spring will only improve the fishing.

The Baffle

Most regular readers will know Jason Ehrlich, QFM’s freshwater field editor and a very good mate of mine. Well his brother, Roger, has recently acquired Baffle Bobs. He has re-named it Baffle Creek Caravan Park and quickly keyed himself in on what’s happing in the Baffle.

I will be regularly calling Roger to get up to date fishing reports and inside information on what’s going on in the Baffle.

I recently called Roger and he gave me some inside info that there were some good flathead being caught around the mouth. I packed the kids up for a Sunday afternoon low tide session and headed up to Winfield to drop the boat in for a few hours trolling. To say the flathead were on was an understatement. My four-year-old girl Amity-Rae caught her biggest flattie: a 79cm specimen caught on a trolled Cultiva SP. My other two kids managed to get a brace each with my lad getting a few big lizards on his favourite hardbody, the Berkley Frenzy 7cm diver in the gold colour.

If you’re looking to head up to the Baffle for a weekend, look up Roger at Baffle Creek Caravan Park. He is just like his brother, a very keen angler and has the park looking better than it ever has.

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