If there is ever a month for great fishing and boating weather in Bowen then September takes the prize. This time of year is hands down the most consistent time for light winds and smooth seas and to top it off it’s also pretty good fishing as well.
Inshore waters are typically red hot in September, which usually sees a thick run of big spotted mackerel over the Patches. These fish typically move in over August and by September they have thickened up and with most fish averaging around 5-8kg. On very calm days they will rise to the top of the water column in big schools and flash their silver-lined bodies in what is locally known as a shining. This is a wonderful phenomenon and one that should not be missed.
The spotties aren’t the only mackerel worth chasing in September and this is a prime time for big Spaniards in inshore waters. Spots like North Head less than 1km from the Grays Bay ramp become a local hot spot for big Spanish, especially during the early morning and late afternoon. Trolling large baits is the best way to snare a big Spanish and fish up to 35kg are not uncommon.
The Abbot Point Jetty is also a hot spot during September and it pays to get up there early, before the boat traffic scares them off. The deeper water in this spot is ideal for jigging so look for big schools of bait on your sound and concentrate your jigging in these areas. I prefer to use big Bumpa Bar metals with plenty of wire for this application. If you are sports fisher then you will also enjoy the hordes of queenfish, which love to hang around the pylons. Big jigs and plastics are also very effective at drawing a bite.
In offshore waters the bite can be a little finicky around the outer reefs in September and it really is a case of finding where the fish are holding. Prospecting in different depths from right up in the shallows to out into the deep water is often essential to find where the trout are holding. Once you locate where they are it’s not uncommon to put some good fish on the board.
The same can be said for the offshore red fishing with many of the larger fish being pretty wide out this time of year. Most inshore large- and small-mouth spots can be tricky to fish this time of year and the further out you go the easier it tends to get. It’s often a matter of just working contour lines to find where the fish are holding and the ground east of Holbourne Island is a top place to start.
For creek fishers, the good news is that the creeks will begin to warm up and if we get a solid spell of warm weather than the fishing will certainly fire up. Old bucket mouth barra will be back to their mullet boofing ways and the jacks won’t be too far behind as well.
The barra are usually the first to be more active during September and they are best targeted with soft plastics and suspending hardbody lures. I love fishing drains this time of year as this is where the warmer shallower water tends to be. This warmer water attracts a lot of bait as it drains off the flats and in turn attracts the larger predatory fish. Don’t be afraid to get your lure right up into the drains as you will be surprised as to how shallow some very large fish can be hiding. Lots of anglers just place lures at the mouths of drains and essentially miss the fish that are laying further back. It’s also a good idea to target drains using a variety of lures as the fish can be a little picky at times.
Jacks will also be on the charge but will be a little more sporadic in their feeding. They will often come on quite hot during certain times and then drop off. This is where it pays to spend a bit of time on the water to crack the pattern. Concentrating efforts on the changes in tides is always a top idea as this is when they are likely to feed.
Next month we will see much of the pelagic action drop away as the waters begin to warm. The focus will move to the creeks where the traditional stormy weather will bring the jacks and barra on in a big way. This will be the last month before the close of the barra season so time will be precious and anglers will be best to get in as much time as possible targeting these awesome fish. I love to target jacks in October as they tend to be very aggressive and love hammering lures. All creeks fish well this time of year, especially if we get an early start to the wet season.Reads: 521