Cool winds and a change of piscatorial guard is on the cards for June.
Traditionally June is when we get our first real taste of winter with the winter westerlies brining the cold air from inland. The fishing starts to change as the water temperatures drop and the estuaries clear.
The main targets over the cooler months in our estuaries are bream, whiting and the ever-present flathead. Most of our estuaries will hold an abundance of each of these species as this year’s wet season was another big one. Rivers like the Burnett and Elliott will be worth a look, especially around the mouths as the fish move to find the deeper, faster moving water.
My favourite waterway, the Baffle, will also be a great place to target a few bream and flathead especially if you’re into a bit of lure fishing. Stick closer to the mouth and make sure you search out a bit of weed if flathead are your main target. This time last year I had several trips with my kids to the mouth of the Baffle and had a ball trolling small hard bodied lures around the channels and along the edges of the weed beds. We caught bream, cod, trevally and a lot of great flathead, which my kids thoroughly enjoyed. Our most successful lures were the Berkley Flicker Shad in the orange with black scale pattern and the C’ultiva Rippin Minnow in the baby bass colour. The key is to troll in the shallow water and have your lure bouncing off the bottom; the depth should range from 3-8 feet. This technique is successful in most systems as long as you keep those lures touching the bottom every now and then. I sometimes change colours around looking for more success, but usually try to stick to gold’s, reds and orange.
With the onset of the westerlies, small boat owners get the chance to sneak out and try their luck on the closer reef and rubble patches. I look forward to these opportunities every year. I say rubble patches because most of our fishing is done in a 20 mile radius of Burnett heads and the predominant structure is rubble. It was originally stands of reef but over the last 50 or so years of scallop and prawn trawling, any small patch of reef has been knocked over and flattened by chains and nets.
Don’t be afraid to fish it though as they still hold good fish - especially at night. Any of the new fish finders on the market will pick up these rubble patches but be warned they rarely come off the bottom more than a couple of feet. During the day I like to drift over these patches dropping plastics, bait or Halco Twisties on them. I have found if there are a few trigger fish around leave the plastics in the box and fish the Twisty as they still catch plenty of fish but don’t get chewed up.
June should see some nice sweetlip, snapper, mackerel and tuskies patrolling these rubble patches and night time is prime for messing with the bigger fish. Fishing relatively light on these grounds will improve your catch with a 7’, 6kg spin outfit ideal for the bigger snapper as they don’t have a lot of structure to bust you up on.
I am looking forward to June on the water except for the cool breezes; but the fishing usually makes up for it.Reads: 721