So where is the rain this year? The wet end of the last few years seems to have dried up and we could be in for a drier than usual couple of years to come according to the old timers around these parts.
We benefited greatly with our favourite fish all having a good shot at building stocks for the future. Barra being the most notable, have had some of the best seasons on record and hopefully that will have been good enough to carry them though in numbers if we do indeed get some dry times.
Now we are in the middle of the closed barra season there are stacks of options available, even for the hardcore barramundi addicts. The freshwater impoundments are still open to catch barra and there are several within a few hours drive of Rockhampton. Awoonga, Monduran and Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust) dams have a limited take all year and offer a chance when you can’t target barramundi anywhere else.
Grunter have been in fine form over most of the area’s many estuaries. They have been coming in like the normal creek grunter on steroids. A couple of the Devils Elbow crew nailed several fish over 90cm and a few more over 70cm. That is the type of fish we chase when the grunter are in full swing around the deeper areas north of Yeppoon.
When you drive on the Emu Park to Rockhampton road as you pass the meat works at Nerimbera look in the direction of the river and you can see by the boats anchored on the deep hole section of the point. Last week one of the lads fishing there thought he had the mother of all grunter until he got it on board where they found it was a large black jew. It weighed in at 15kg, which was very impressive especially as the bigger black jew are normally taken well downstream of around the headlands up the coast at night.
Grunter prefer prawns and yabbies or flesh baits on occasion. Try a bottom style bream rig with a trace about 600mm long to let the bait move in and out of the current flow. The tip I always give is to use the bottom contours and always fish the spots where the grunter can sit under the strong flow.
Big bream are winter fish down south but up here they are at their best from late spring and into summer. All the local creeks have a good supply of although The Fitzroy Delta area, down The Narrows and the little creeks on the inside of Curtis Island are home of the XOS horses. Over the year it use to amaze me that we actually average a bigger class of bream than spots like The Pin or Caloundra’s Blue Hole. These guys take big baits but when the sun is at the right angle you can sight cast to them underneath the mangroves with barra lures. It blows you out to see a bream with a couple of sets of trebles hanging from its mouth.
Corio Bay and Coorooman Creek are quite good whiting spots as a rule and at present there have been some snodgers taken by some of the locals.
The waters from Yeppoon along Farnborough Beach right up to Corio are holding lots of fun size dart. We don’t get the big surf gutters like the southern beaches but the little features in the small surf are still the spots to look for.
Beachworms are more plentiful the further north you go. The eastern beaches of The Keppels also have worms and whiting most of the time. They make a great place to take the family for the day over summer or for something different over the holidays.
Rosslyn Bay Harbour has been on fire right through winter and now heading into summer. Some of the most regular catches have been inside the harbour walls. It is easily the pick location at the moment for anything from golden snapper to bream, cod and, queenies.
The walls running out from the marina and the main boat basin are producing very well and the guys fishing from the moored boats can’t miss. The large amount of bait fish is the key and, as you know, find the bait and the predators won’t be far away. In the evening the schools of bait move along the dividing line from dark to light trying to avoid the big critters like barramundi. Around the outside walls are spots like North Corner where you can get good size cod and even doggies when the calm weather stays for day or two.
The hot tip for cod is to head out along the wall at low tide and fish the incoming with either fresh flesh baits or decent sized livies. As the tide moves in, the cod follow working their way into fairly shallow water and picking off the prawns and small mullet as they go.
Around the front wall heading south to the blowhole is well known for decent golden snapper and black jew. The Blowhole and Porcupine Point are top spots for doggies and the odd Spanish if the wind drops out and the bay is clear.
The Causeway hasn’t failed as the area’s top mangrove jack spot in the last month. The weather has been steaming which in turn has got the jacks and plenty of other species in the lake on the chew. The run-through is the best time down the front from the bridge or the adjoining walls. While the rest of the time, the lake’s many rocky structures do the job. There are lots of spots around the Causeway Lake where you can cast net all the live bait you need and find a good spot for a fish without taking the boat. It is a super friendly family spot that has among the safest swimming areas in CQ.
Blue salmon and king salmon are doing well at present. There are kings in The Fitzroy, Coorooman Creek and Waterpark Creek, while blues have been taken along the beaches or the mouths of the bigger creeks running into the bay. Coorooman and Ross creeks are spots blue salmon like to cruise the sandbank edges or mangroves with the tide.
Blues will take prawns, yabbies, and they particularly like whiting or fresh mullet strips. King have smashed small plastics or small live prawns lately. All the small prawns in the system are giving the king salmon plenty of reason to be right along the mud banks and any other spot that you find prawns congregating such as small run-off gutters.
Red emperor, large-mouth nannygai, grassy sweetlip, red throat and spangled emperor, coral trout, cod, hussar and parrot are all going well as the Christmas break approaches. The smaller tides have been the better fishing days as expected, because you don’t need a house brick size lead to get to the bottom.
There are plenty of fine reefies in at the closer patches meaning that the average guy has been able to get among them without having to own a huge boat. On saying that it is very weather dependant and you should always monitor the conditions before you go and while you are out there.
Spanish mackerel are due to show any time now as we get a summer run over the school holidays. Outer, Man & Wife and Cape Manifold are spots to try just out of the bay. The regular spots are all worth a shot given good weather. The pick of the locations is the shoals where you can get quality Spaniards all year working the reef egdes and current line drop-offs.
Numbers of cobia have moved in again after a quiet time they seem to be at places like Farnborough Reef, Findlays, Liza Jane shoals, The Pinnacles, Outer Rock, Man & Wife, Barren Island Rita Mada, Ironpot and Forty Acre Paddock. The daybreak fishers have done the best lately on the inshore reef but as the sun rises the deeper patches have turned on. Cobia like fresh flesh strips, whole squid or pillies and will definitely take flashas and trolled lures meant for Spaniards.
Have a great Christmas and enjoy your holiday catch you next year.Reads: 1772