Hot and Dry
  |  First Published: December 2012

So far Bundaberg has seen some pretty hot and dry conditions but as we have seen in the past January can be a very wet month. The water temps have risen sharply and the fish have been really been on the chew and if the heavy rains stay away the good fishing should continue.

I know we shouldn’t be mentioning the barramundi at this time of year as they are in closed season. This of course means you should not even be targeting them but they seem to be very active and in good numbers at the moment. I have been on the water a lot of late and the jack fishing has been exceptional but the barra keen climbing on lures meant for other species. Make sure you release these fish unharmed as they might be in the middle of making more barra.

The Baffle

The mighty Baffle has been just that with a lot of reports of great fishing sessions over December. I had mentioned if the rains stay away January should be a cracker and the Baffle will be well worth the trip.

As it’s a big system it will be important to nut out where the fish are hanging. I have found that certain parts of the river can be on fire and others can be barren and hard work. I put this down to being such a big system and the baitfish move up and down it until they find places to feed and hide. It doesn’t take long for the predators to find the baitfish laden stretches of the river and you will notice that once you have hooked a few fish in an area, there will be more close by.

There has also been quite a few other notable species showing up including threadfin salmon, grunter and some big queenfish, all of which makes for some exciting times.

On the Baffle over January you will need to work the tides. If you’re going to target a few summer whiting make sure you get out at low tide and pump some local yabbies as this is the key to tempting the sometimes fussy feeders. Of course those very same yabby beds are where you should be targeting the whiting on the rising tide. While you’re wondering around the vast sand flats looking for yabbies, make sure you keen a sharp eye out for flathead lies as they can be seen very clearly, usually on the edges of channels facing into the outgoing tide. This is a no brainer and pretty much should be locked in for a fish on the next outgoing tide making sure you’re there a lot earlier of course.

The mangrove jack in the Baffle will be the main target for the mad keen lure fisher and the keen bait fisher as well. If I was to give some advice to the lure fishing anglers don’t be afraid to lure fish at night as mangrove jack are very active night feeders. Make sure you know the area you are fishing and are comfortable with lures at night as a wayward lure at night is even more dangerous than a wayward lure during the day. Trolling can be a very effective method of covering ground especially around some of the many rock bars in the creek. There are a few advantages to night fishing including staying out of the hot January sun and you still get to do all the brownie point stuff with the family.

The Burnett

The Burnett is going to be very busy over the holidays. The river will be a hive of activity on most days in January so the keen angler should get up early or try fishing late. This will avoid all the boat traffic and noise in the river.

The Burnett, like most systems in our area, is fishing very well with grunter, jacks and whiting all showing up in the keeper net amongst locals. If you’re keen to get crabbing I would sit on your pots as holidays seem to flush those who believe in share farming others pots. In fact on a recent trip I watched three different boats check a pot in around an hour. If I was a crabber I probably would have asked the question but as I don’t eat crabs I see it as a bit of entertainment.

Speaking of entertainment the boat ramp at Burnett Heads during the holidays can be very interesting as the twice a year boaters launch their boats. If you are a regular and have a few years under your belt, don’t be afraid to offer a bit of assistance, it is the holidays after all.


It looks as though Woodgate will be a very busy place over January with most accommodation fully booked. I am not surprised as it’s a great place to holiday relax and have a fish.

If you are heading to Woodgate and you’re keen for a feed, make sure you take cast net. I hear there are still some patches of prawns around and they are even showing up in a few regular spots up the creeks. The Burrum River will be worth a look even though it will be crowded as it’s a big system and can handle the boat traffic. Unlike the Burnett when the tides are low movement will be very restricted and this is gives the system a break.

I hope you enjoy your holidays and get to use all those new shiny fishing bits and bobs you got for Christmas.

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