Hot and dry was the order for January so hopefully by February the wet weather will show up to flush our systems and get the ecosystem ready again for the next season.
We can’t complain too much as the estuary fishing has been quite exceptional for this time of the year. Most of our rivers have seen an abundance of fish activity with schools of salmon, jacks, grunter and whiting all showing up in good numbers and they are on the chew.
The Burnett River has been a stand out over the break with plenty of mud crabs for those keen to sit on their pots. There have been some great catches in the river that, without a big fresh, should continue through February.
The grunter were on fire over the past two months with really decent sized fish taking fresh baits like yabbies and prawns in some of the deeper holes. Getting in early was the key over January but as most of the holiday traffic will have had to re-join the rat race and work for a living the river should be a lot quieter.
If you’re keen for a jack in the river this month a good live bait should see you in with a better than average chance, especially if you fish into the evening. Toft Rocks has produced plenty of jacks lately on both lures and baits and I think this month will be no different. If you’re up for a challenge a late afternoon session as the tide rises over the rocks is great fun but it can be costly on lures and gear when the big boys are around.
With the hot days the water temperature has risen dramatically and this is having an effect on the movements of fish. Early morning there is always lots of fish movement as they hunt in the shallows looking for a feed before the heat of the day drives them back into the deeper cooler water, until the late afternoon when they start to hunt again. You can still target these fish during the day in deeper water, you just need to find them and either get your bait/lure down to them.
I have been targeting these deep water fish for some time using several different types of lures; Transam, MF60s and paddle-tail plastic all take some great fish. A common factor amongst these lures is they sink quickly getting down to where you have identified there are fish. I have caught king threadfin salmon, mangrove jack, grunter and barramundi by targeting fish on the sounder in 30ft of water and then getting my chosen sinking lure down to where they are then I either hop, jig or slow roll my lures right in their face. Having a side imaging sounder is a real bonus as I can identify exactly where the fish are hanging and I can even identify some species of fish.
Like most systems, the Baffle has been on fire with jacks and mud crabs being on the main target list.
Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan park has reported most guests are getting a feed of crabs and those keen and prepared are getting some decent mangrove jack as well.
There have been some good grunter around the mouth of the river with fresh baits being the undoing of the bigger fish. Fresh dead baits caught in the cast net seem to be doing the job and slicing them in two seems to be just the right size.
I was lucky enough to spend a very enjoyable week and a half camping on the Baffle in January and I found the fishing was sensational leading into the moon, but it did slow down a bit after the moon.
I was targeting mangrove jack, of course, and I was on my kayak and on the water as the sun rose around 4.30am; you get to see and hear a lot others don’t. For instance most mornings I paddled with river whalers (sharks) swimming around me rounding up the mullet into the shallows and then crashing into them. I did lose a jack to one that towed me around the river for a while before the lure came out. I could also see and hear the jacks smashing baitfish in the low light; I had a few mind blowing sessions by myself catching 13 jacks on surface lures in three hours that ranged from 40-52cm.
I filmed a few fish on my Go-Pro and I will post a few videos on YouTube when I am done editing them.
If we don’t get a big fresh this month do yourself a favour book in with Roger and spend a few days on the baffle it is going off.Reads: 1529