Wet Season Changes Fishing Game
  |  First Published: December 2011

If the predictions of a very wet season comes to fruition, Bundaberg anglers will need to search hard for our fishing fix.

Last year in Bundaberg we experienced flooding to levels not seen since the 1940s and the fishing took months to recover. Now 12 months later our catchments are still full and it’s not going to take much rain to get all of our creeks and rivers running.

So where do we look to wet a line? For the estuary anglers the mouths of our river will be a good start. The fresh will flush a lot of fish down the systems and they tend to congregate where there’s still a bit of salt. The incoming tide will also bring the salt water into the rivers so try timing your trip with the incoming tide. Don’t be afraid of the fresh either - some of the upper reaches of our systems have been fresh all year so the residents are happy living there.

Fishing offshore is probably the best bet as long as the wind holds off. Keep an eye out for dirty water as I know last year you had to go along way out to find clean salt water, but it was definitely worth the trip.

January usually produces some good pelagic fishing action. Species such as mackerel, tuna and trevally are suckers for high speed spinning. The mouth of the Burnett will be a place to hit and as it’s the holiday season you will need to get in early before the crowd forms. I have found the third set of markers after you leave the river holds a few big trevally - there is something on the bottom just away from the lead marker that holds plenty of bait.

While you’re having a look around make sure you troll a lure and keep your speed up, most pelagic hunt at high speed so a lure doing 10knots looks more likely to be trying to escape than a lure doing two knots. My go to lures around the Burnett mouth are the ageless Halco Scorpion in the gold or purple chrome colours. Then there’s also the old gold Bomber which also produces many fish trolled at speed.

Once you’ve located a few fish try casting a few metal slices around. Let them sink to the bottom them wind them back as fast as you can to fire the fish up. You should also keep a keen eye out for birds working and fish breaking the surface. This indicates that the fish are active and hunting so keep persisting until you crack a technique they respond to.

If you have joined the many anglers that now have side scan sounders then you will have a ball around the mouth of the river. The topography of the river is not dissimilar to that of a big drain with high sides and a fairly smooth bottom. The trick is to find the little rubble patches, drop offs and debris that the fish move over and station on. The side scan sounders pick up the bottom well but what they do amazingly is produce an image that even the newest sounder users can decipher. Seeing fish on the side scan gives you the confidence that you’re fishing in the right place - when you aren’t seeing fish you to move until you see fish to target.

Hopefully even with a bit of wet around we can still find a few fish on our holidays.

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