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Estuaries set to fire up
  |  First Published: June 2013



Sunny weather and fairly calm conditions in the Rockhampton vicinity has made for great fishing the past month and this trend should continue.

Saltwater areas are firing up with many catches of grunter, trevally, bream, flathead and even some nice school mulloway. Areas such as the narrows and the Gladstone Harbour are proving to be very successful. In the last month, the pause in freshwater run off and catchment overflow has seen the return of salinity to many waterways.

At this time of year the lagoons and freshwater streams and creeks are shut down and this has proved true for now. For those dedicated anglers with gear for each scenario, it’s time to service and put away the freshwater gear and get out the bream and light pelagic gear. Bream have begun to stock up for the winter and have been found in larger volumes in the river mouths and sandbars.

The mangroves and rocky patches in the estuaries have been very productive when it comes to chasing cod, jacks, Moses perch, threadfins and pikey bream. These fish have been caught productively on soft plastic flick baits and hardbody vibes.

The main trick for productive estuary fishing is to take your time; slow retrieve of the plastics with sharp jerks of the rod tip proves to be a successful method for plastic flickbaits and hardbody vibes. The main trick is patience will pay off. Working a sand flat or mangrove line with a dozen or so casts starting from one end to the other will effectively pick up some fish.

Shallow diving lures that have tight actions, like the Sebile Crankster and Cranka Cranks, have been demolishing the fish population. While larger shallow dives, like the Bomber Long A, Rapala X-Rap and Sebile Koolie Minnow, have taken some decent larger species of dusky flathead and smaller estuary barra and jacks.

The cooler waters approaching in Gladstone should push species closer to the surface and closer to the banks making finding them light work. This proves especially true when all the estuary species, like trevally and queenfish, school all the bait at the surface making it easy to pull a metal slug or curl tail plastic through the area and hook up on these fish.

The saltwater regions of the rivers around Rockhampton and Gladstone are still holding good barra populations. The fish are being caught on live baits and hardbody diving lures. A successful live bait rig is a size 4 running ball sinker on the main line with a swivel to match the line size, 40-60lb leader that will cope with the barra’s gills, and a good quality circle like the Owner 5/0. Successful lures are between 80 and 120mm long with a shallow diving action and a more natural colour.

Whiting have moved up into the extreme shallow waters and can even be found trailing the tide in over the flats. Some pumped yabbies on a light rig is the best way to see whiting on the end of your line, however bloodworm imitation soft plastics are also a good option for slowly pulling over the flats.

Fish light, get the bite!

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