Any more jellies and we’ll need an aeroplane
  |  First Published: March 2013

Ok I know what you fisho’s are about to say here, “I like Aeroplane Jelly. Aeroplane Jelly for me...” (sing along if you remember), but the reality has been for over 3 months that the blue blubber jellies have stopped the professional nets and allowed the system to regenerate and build its stocks up.

Launching the boat in the river and blasting off to some of our hot spots has been like using your props as a mincing machine. Many anglers have had their motors stall or miss due to the volume of jellies in the waterways.

As we are bait fishers in the main here, we find our rods dancing and bending to the point we get excited at a hit... but we have realised it’s the jellies getting caught in the line. Even when winding in you hook them and you think you’re on. One of the mistakes anglers have made is to handle them, not that the ‘sting’ is bad but don’t rub your eyes that is very painful as some have found out.

Over the last month we have been sat back over a few coldies to review where we are up to with preparations for the 2013 Burrum Heads Easter Fishing Classic, but we have also been on the waterways having a blast.

River Action

We get really excited at the prospect of a healthy food chain because this means we have a diverse range of predatory fish through the river system. Two of my good mates (who will remain nameless, ok Shayne and Boothy) were taken aback recently on their trip to Burrum Heads with the amount of baitfish around. We observed several bait balls being corralled up against sand banks and being smacked by good predatory fish like GT, golden trevally and bigger ‘things’!

Light gear has been the order of the day with 6-12lb lines on board, but we have snuck on a 20lb outfit just in case and it has been paying off with some really good runs that have left the poor reels screaming and lines busted up. The suspects have been mulloway, rays, and big catfish with one of our good mates Chris eventually slowing one down long enough to get it to the boat.

We were eagerly awaiting the grand opening of barra season. It should be a great barra season with good numbers being released around the 80-100cm mark in the Burrum catchment. These barra have been accidentally hooked on live herring and there are reports lures had also been effective. I am piecing this story together on Australia Day and as upset as I am at the weather this should see more water flow over Lenthalls Dam bringing with it more quality barra.

For those who have been following the action on the grunter, they have been busy throughout the river system with mullet strips and yabbies being the order of the day with the odd grunter taking a fancy to smaller live herring. And yes that’s is yours truly pictured on left with the heaviest Grunter at our last club fishing comp at 570cm and 2.106kg gutted and gilled, caught on 12lb line with a running ball sinker rig accompanied with a gourmet strip of fresh mullet strip. Go me!

One thing we have noticed with the warmer waters, especially during the heat of the day, is targeting deeper water holes and under the river bank structures has been most productive with flathead, bream, jacks, grunter and cod busy on the chew.

The best times have been on the slack water at top or bottom tides more towards the late afternoon and evenings. With the slow run neap tides in the rear view mirror we will look forward to some good run in the water which will bring on the action.

TIP: Most fish that love mullet will quickly strip the flesh off the mullet strip leaving just the skin. Prep the mullet fillet with salt and allow to dry, use straight away or freeze ready for future use. This toughens the flesh and the bait lasts a bit longer on your hook allowing for the big hit.


FYI yes I live in Burrum Heads but I work for a lead educational provider in Ipswich which means I live in Brisbane during the week so you can appreciate that when a great day to go offshore comes along I am usually stuck in Ipswich. It really helps to have great mates and courtesy of JB with a quality red and the Doctor with a ripper cod caught up the Gutters, which the Brisbane Turf Club wants back for next week’s race meet.

The best baits for offshore have been stripies, slimies and grinners along with whole whiting frames and bonito strips. A typical rig we use is a running ball on 30lb braid and a 9/0 hook hung off a leader of 40-80lb monofilament. As we have had neap tides lately you only need light lead around a size 4 ball, otherwise we use size 8 and up depending on the run.

The Fishing Ahead

Australia Day. How wet was it? Well it is a good sign for the catchment as many species will be pushed back towards the river mouth by the fresh and the fresh will also attract the predatory species back in to feed and will deliver cooler waters for a while. Only last week we netted good size prawns and this rainy weather should see a run on the prawns to accompany the 18cm average size crabs landed from the river too.

With the cooler waters and the making tides March should see some great all round action in the river and off shore. 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.

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

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