Blessings in disguise
  |  First Published: February 2013

We have experienced a real shift in weather conditions and patterns over the last three years. Anglers have cursed the fishing gods for the floods of 2010/2011, which washed out our diverse fish species, and for the constant atrocious wind over the last seven months (especially the dreaded north/northeasters) limiting our offshore adventures.

Why so much fishing-pain and what does all this mean? In short, Mother Nature has her agenda and her own methodology to ensure her environment is fit and healthy. The floods cleaned the Burrum River catchment system allowing for new life to spawn, the winds have prevented much of the fishing action, and the blue bottle jellies have prevented the netting and trawling of the Burrum River system. This means our river catchment system has been repopulated and some of our tops spots will again see a return to the action we have been accustomed to.

As I contemplate the bigger picture I have seen the grand plans of Mother Nature come to fruition as she has been busy balancing her environment over the last three years; it has also reminded us that politicians have expectations that far exceed their capacity. They should pay attention to how she operates and listen to those of us who live, work, and respect our waterways.

The fishing gods and Mother Nature always remind me of two key principals of fishing – patience and awareness.

River Action

Good volumes of baitfish, such as herring, have continued and we have experienced the return and diversification of many species.

Continuing the fine form on light gear, there has been a mass migration of spawning grunter that have seen yabbies and pilchards as the preferred menu. At times the Burrum River looked like a car park on the Boxing Day sales and a number of anglers have lost their car, boat, and been smacked with hefty fines for breaching size and bag limits.

Mangrove jack have been found in the Isis and Gregory river systems in good size and quality with anglers using soft plastics or mullet fillets. Bream, yellow and black, tarwhine, flathead, queenfish, batfish, Moses perch, and even summer whiting continue to average out at the 40cm mark on yabbies and blood worms.

As a dad I love taking the boys gar fishing. We use 4lb line with a pencil float, small hooks and a loaf of bread. They are some of the best fun for the tin lids; gar make a great feed, and good bait for offshore fishing. They have been caught typically at the top of the tide at any time of day.

A good mate Coop caught a 920cm/4.2kg king threadfin salmon on 12lb braid, running ball sinker rig with a live herring. I did the important task of the net work in the slack water of low tide just after dusk.

Tip: Diversify your equipment essentials while out on the Burrum River.

The Fishing Ahead

The weather forecasters are predicting a return to the El Niño weather cycle, which brings dry weather patterns. And with a return of diverse species back in the Burrum River catchment system, we will definitely bring new opportunities.

With a diverse range of accommodation packages to suit all budgets only matched by the diversity of fish species; Burrum Heads is a great place to bring every member of the family for some of the best all-round fishing and relaxation on the east coast.

The summer will produce great offshore and river action with local traders being well supplied with bait, tackle and all the fishing essentials to help all members of the family to have a great time.

The Burrum Heads Easter Fishing Classic is in March and the action is looking great, book accommodation early.


Coops with a 920cm 4.2kg king threadfin salmon he caught in the slack water of low tide just after dusk.

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