The fishing has been a little odd for this time of year with a noticeable lack of black marlin inside Rooneys Point and an abundance of winter species still lingering around the bay’s reef systems.
Cod and coralies have still been thick on the Arty and Moon ledges providing anglers with plenty of action. Arch Cliffs have had juvenile yellowtail kings schooled up like yakka’s, quality snapper, goldies and Spaniards. Spotted mackerel have been of a size not seen for many years (I believe as a result of the ban on ring netting) and the humble blackall have all been a reliable bet to secure a feed on most of our reefs.
All this means that a trip out on Hervey Bay is well worth the effort when the weather permits.
Live baiting has been producing trevally, queenfish and flathead and there have been a lot of shovel nosed sharks (white spot and common) on the move off Big Woody and Fraser Island.
Shovelies are perfectly designed to hunt the shallow sand flats that are so prominent in Hervey Bay and can be found in only centimetres of water chasing a feed. Their diet consists of most baitfish and crustaceans found on the flats and the species can reach lengths over three meters. They are also frequently caught on the edges of reef structures in depths better than 20m making them a possibility for most anglers on the Fraser coast.
The common shovel nosed sharks are leaner, don’t grow as big and as a result don’t fight anywhere near as much as the white spot. When fishing for shovelies I prefer live bait as they tend to find them quicker and the crabs and small fish don’t pick them to pieces like dead baits.
Night high tides are my favourite and a live whiting or mullet fished off a creek mouth or a patch of coffee rock along the Island is as good a spot as any. A running sinker onto 2m of 100-150lb leader and an 8/0 circle hook will pull up most shovelies without too much trouble.
They can be a little tricky to clean but are worth the effort as they have a lovely moist white flesh regardless of their size.
You can catch plenty of them though, so be aware of your impact and check the latest regulations and zoning inside the Bay.Reads: 1965