Surf serves up top species
  |  First Published: August 2013

Winter species, such as bream, flathead and salmon, have been in high volumes over the past month with many anglers targeting them. Many people have been trying soft plastics and, with all the flathead about, there is no better time to try. Whiting are among the easier of the surf species to catch around the beach but schools of salmon and dart are also about.

Bream are common capture of all the self-proclaimed weekend warriors and are now highly regarded sportfish on light outfits. Bream can be caught on many freshly gathered baits including prawns, white baits and even smaller mullet. Even a pack of frozen prawns will do the trick if you don’t want to fuss around too much. The standard running sinker rig with a 2/0 hook can be used for these fish.

Bream aren’t fussed on the areas they inhabit; most land-based spots for bream include boat ramps, pontoons or rocky breakwaters. The top areas for bream this month are the mouth of the Boyne River system, Tannum Sands and Auckland Creek.

Whiting have been a very successful target lately, as with every winter. Freshly pumped yabbies on size 2 long shanks will see the whiting come one after the other, alternatively little narrow hardbody lures with prawn patterns will see you bag a few over the flats. Some 6lb braid and 6lb leader will see the job get done and still land any bigger species that there’s every chance of hooking up on.

The top places for whiting at the moment include Tannum Sands, Facing Island and Curtis Island. Look for the gutters and channels and anticipate the run as to where you need to cast.

Lures have become more and more popular, predominantly because of TV shows and magazines. It is hard to get into the rhythm of things though with so many different types on the market. Winter is a great time to start using lures as all the smaller pelagic are about the estuaries and the flathead are thicker than ever leading up to September, which is prime fishing for these species.

All the queenfish, blue salmon, steel backs and trevally in the estuaries can be easily targeted by using poppers and metals. Small metals cast into bust ups and retrieved at a moderate speed will see these species hook up left, right and centre; on the other hand using small 50-70mm poppers steadily popped over the surface with some pace about it can get great results when the fish are a little quiet. Poppers imitate the fleeing prawns and whitebait in the estuaries.

Flathead are everywhere in the systems at the moment with Curtis Island producing good numbers. Flick baits 2-3” lightly weighted, depending on the current and wind, produce flathead very quickly when sharply jerked off the bottom and left to rest for a few seconds before repeating.

Alternatively trolling for these fish is not a hard task, baitfish profiled shallow diving lures trolled over sand flats and gutters can pick flatties up just as quick. A 20hp motor just out of idle is all the speed you will need.

Barra are still finding their way onto the trebles of lures fished up close in snags that have more of a vibrating action like Transams and Flattshads. These fish have surprisingly fired up in the Fitzroy and Narrows but for some reason or another not many large size specimens are being hooked.

The barra are in the hot water outlet now along with queenfish and salmon, a simple walk up and down the bank casting various lures will see a few on the hooks. The typical barra combo is still the most effect combo in these areas but smaller 50-70mm lures are being used.

Crabs have been going well with many captures of big bucks around the Narrows and Curtis Island. Leftover reef frames from those rare days out make great crab pot bait. GPS tagging your pots make for some easy work when coming back to find them, save them as waypoints in the GPS and delete them when you have collected the pot.

Fish light get the bite.

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