March is often a great time to be an angler living visiting Yeppoon and surrounding areas with a host of species on the chew at the one time.
Lately there has been loads of extra large pikey or black bream lining the mangroves in most of the local systems. They must be quite territorial because you only see one at each tree. They either hang facing the current sitting right behind the trunk of the mangrove or among the spider web of roots, making them very hard to spot and cast to.
These fish can be as big as 2kg and are very aggressive when other fish pass or you land a lure near them. We’ve caught around a dozen lately on large lures fishing for barramundi.
They don’t seem to take dead baits in the clear water but will grab a live bait if you can get it close enough. Polarised glasses are a must and any time you are casting lures they are important for eye safety as well as vision into the water.
King salmon are a species that relish in brackish and dirty water. Their feelers can pick out prey as they work the mudbanks for a feed. While we are getting the rain there is always a dirty water line coming off the little mud gutters and banks and there is nearly always a big king sitting in the dirty water waiting to nail any critters that move into his zone.
A few times we have caught kings to a metre in the cast net although it is much more fun when they take an unweighted prawn flicked into the shallows and jigged a couple of times. The other method is to use is hanging a livie about 600-900mm under a float. They will take mangrove crabs, poddy mullet, herrings or even quite large whiting at times.
Other prime spots are behind boats moored against the bank, behind and around rock bars and around pylons. They cover a large part of the Fitzroy from town right the way down to Port Alma/The Narrows. Land based anglers do as well as boat fishers because of the areas they feed. The jetty fishers land quite a few quality fish when the fresh slows a bit. Coorooman Creek, Waterpark Creek, Pumpkin Creek and Deep Creek are other top places to find a king salmon.
Barramundi are still on the chew and if this year is anything like last year we are in for a complete season without much of a drop over winter. This time of year they can be feeding anytime but it usually takes a bit of run to trigger a great session.
All the local systems hold barramundi and even Rosslyn Bay Harbour has been a prime spot especially at night as the boat traffic dies down a little. Schools of big greenback herrings and plenty of prawns in the harbour make the perfect environment for a lazy fish that loves a lot of cover. You can see the smaller barramundi smashing bait schools at the edge of the light glow as they race from dark into the light for a smash and grab feed. Plastics, hardbodies and livies under a float have all caught fish so the options are whatever you prefer.
Having gone over The Fitzroy River plenty of times you probably know it as well as me but the tips to find barramundi apply to the whole system. All the little fresh flowing drains and creeks attract barra – either the little barramundi heading up into the fresh to grow or the big fish nailing the smaller barras or the critters that have been washed down by the flood waters.
Moores Creek and the area along both banks around the rocks and down towards the back of the race course is going off at present. Corio Bay has a share of barramundi and they range from right up the top of the creeks down into the bay and along the headlands. With all the fresh in the system the majority of fish are down the front from Greenslopes to around past Scout Camp and the front of Fishing Creek back to Deep.
They move up into the mangroves as the tide comes in and then out to the deeper holes when the tide recedes. Coorooman Creek has a wide area for barras with a whole lot of small gutters mangroves and rocks where they can ambush the abundant bait schools.
The only real rule is to find structure. Every structure and eddie can hold barra so try everywhere. Like every good barra spot, the better fish hang in an area where they can use the run to bring baitfish to them without having to waste energy fighting the run.
Black jew are starting to appear again and one or two fish in the 10-12kg class were taken at Cape Capricorn this week. They will arrive in force from now on in around the full or new moons. The Pinnacles, Ironpot, Rosslyn Bay outer wall, Corio Heads, Quartz and Port Alma. Big baits including the popular squid/pilly cocktail work very well on a snapper type rig.
Mud crabs have hit their straps as this latest burst of fresh has boosted the local systems. The bigger tides usually mean the crabs are up the creeks while the smaller tides they tend to be in the channels at the mouths of the creeks. When the creeks are running full fresh it pays to head down towards the saltier parts for better catches.
Prawns are growing at a rate and every system has them. The easier places to get a good feed are any mud bank that gets exposed at low tide and has a few drains of sticks where the prawns can hide from predators. Ross Creek in the middle of Yeppoon at low tide is the bait gatherers prime location because you can park and walk a large part of the creek.
The many water holes and gutters are very good at the moment. At Corio spots like Solero, Deep and Kelly’s are the best while the little gutters upstream and downstream from the Coorooman Creek boat ramp are as good as anywhere. There are a lot of muddy banks all the way up the creek that work very well when prawns are about. The Fitzroy is prawn central – from downtown to Port every gutter is a chance and the high banks this side of the cut through can hold heaps of prawns.
Spanish mackerel will pick up in quantity this month after the fairly mediocre last month or so. They have been slowly growing in numbers as we move into March. Large Spaniards were taken recently at Conical, Outer, Man and Wife, Forty Acre Paddock, The Pinnacles, Flat, Barren, Liza Jane, Manifold and Perforated. Nearly all the islands and local reefs hold mackerel most of the time but the bigger schools pass through around March.
The shoals are the best spot for mackerel anywhere in the local region for quantity and quality. Innamincka and Moresby Shoals are the pick although they are a mission for the average fisher as they are around the 100km mark. Liza Jane and The Pinnacles are very tide dependant – the bigger and faster the tide the better the captures. The local saying is a 10 by 4, meaning a four metre tide about 10am. Any morning high is worth a shot but the tides between 9am and midday are best.
Most quality reefies are in form and in the intermediate months they range from the closer grounds right out to the wides. You have just as much chance of scoring nice fish at the close rubble patches or the deeper fern country. The weather plays the most important factor on where to go. The islands have continued in great shape with bar cheek trout on every patch from four metres to the deeper reef patches out from Barren and Outer. Trevally, queenies and small yellowtail kingfish have started appearing at the local shallow reefs and the closer wrecks.Reads: 1976