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Expect the mack attack to improve
  |  First Published: May 2015



Whiting are now on anglers’ hit list for the next few months. They start schooling around the delta of The Fitzroy, all the creek mouths and the bays.

Rundles and Long Beach at Joskeleigh are very good spots and in recent times there have been some quality catches here, where guys have walked away with a bag full leaving them on the chew. The main beach at Keppel Sands is well worth a shot on the incoming tide. The Coorooman Creek delta is filled with sand banks with lots of channels between them where the large schools of whiting patrol picking off yabbies and small crabs carried out with the tide. Some of the best whiting fishing in the area is around these banks.

One of the time-proven method to locate them is to drift over the banks and keep changing lines until you get bites. Whiting will come to fresh berley so there is always the option of drawing them to you. Kinka, Mulambin, Lammermoor, Farnborough, Nine Mile and Five Rocks beaches are all decent whiting beaches.

If you really want to get the big fellas, Three Rivers Beach is the go (providing it is open).

From Farnborough Beach north we get beach worms and, of course, they are the pick of the baits up the beach. Although, yabbies work anywhere and small prawn pieces are a fine back up.

The other tip is to fish close to the beach particularly on the incoming tide. Whiting are always at the leading edge of the tide and the majority of fishers who miss out are usually fishing past the area where the fish are working.

BARRA

Barramundi in cold weather is something that many guys think is just too hard, it isn’t. Barra still need to eat in the cold and at times, the chase can be very rewarding, particularly on those days that are a little warmer. Usually as the water cools down, the bigger barra move from the estuaries in to a more even temperature zone around the headlands and bays. Any of our local headlands and the harbour walls can hold barramundi over winter.

In previous years we have caught fish around the rocks at Connors Creek dressed like Eskimos in jackets and beanies. The blokes right up north just shake their heads in disbelief. The barra aren’t always very active and sometimes it takes a few casts to get them to hit a lure. Quite often the strike is more like a push as they try to get rid of an annoying pest.

bream

This is the time of year that all the big bream school up in the estuaries and the river delta region. The start of May is about when they head down to the river mouth for spawning. We have healthy populations of yellowfin, silver and pikey bream. The larger pikey bream are mainly a solitary fish for much of the year staking out their territory, which can be a single mangrove stand. They are very aggressive when a small lure passes in close to them but will spook easily if you plonk the lure in with too much noise.

Oyster rocks, mangroves and structures will hold the bigger bream while the schools of mid-sized fish are patrolling the leading edge of the tides up into small bays looking for soldier crabs and yabbies. All the headlands from the river north will have solid populations of snodger bream.

Rosslyn Bay Harbour, Coorooman Creek, The Causeway Lake, Corio Bay, Water Park Creek, Ross Creek, Port Alma are all very popular for the bream crew. All these spots are easily accessible with boat ramps nearby or plenty of land-based options.

Berley is a sure way of attracting bream, particularly if you are bait fishing. Some of the local bream guns will place an onion bag with fish scraps at their chosen location and head away to set the crab pots before coming back to crack a few bream. Yabbies, beachworms, pipis, oysters, fresh flesh bait and mullet gut are all very good bream baits.

From now on, anytime the wind drops enough to let us get out, there is a chance of landing a huge black jew. We have so many great spots that all can produce large jewies over the cooler months. Corio Heads, Double Heads, Ironpot, Rita Mada, Quartz Rock, The Pinnacles, Cape Manifold, Double Rocks and Cape Capricorn are the most popular of the spots. Some of the deeper holes in the Stanage Bay inlet or the mouth of the river can produce black jew whenever the current slows down enough to fish them, but still has some movement.

The window of opportunity is quite small as a rule. These big guys gather for spawning around the moon phases. Four days before to four days after the moon are the pick times. They move into a spot like The Corio Heads jew hole and as soon as the moon peeks over the horizon they come on the chew like a switch was set.

The guys who fish for black jew will often launch their little tinnies from the beach closest to the hole. When the jew are thick there can be stacks of boats jockeying for the best positions along the northern wall or against the southern bommies.

We have a practice of only taking a few black jew before leaving. As a sports fish they go very hard in the shallow water and they do taste okay if treated correctly. My preference is to stop fishing after we catch a feed instead of further catch and release because they don’t seem to recover well.

Squid, pilchards and fresh flesh baits such as mullet, bonito or ribbonfish are the best. You can use either a snapper type rig or a number ten ball running down to 6/0 plus sized hooks. I have tried using big plastics this year and my success rate is well down compared to bait fishing. However, some of the other fishers have been doing well on the larger Thready Buster style vibes.

mackerel

Grey mackerel have come back again in some quantity. These days they have on and off years and it is hard to know what they are doing until they arrive. The guys fishing the spots out from Emu Park have had a couple of early runs when the weather played its part.

The greys should come on as the bay conditions ease and the fresh flows have slowed giving it a chance to clear up between blows.

Greys or broad-barred look like a deeper bodied doggy mackerel (school mackerel) with a similar black front dorsal and faint bars instead of the tell-tale doggy splotches that also help separate them. Rosslyn Bay Harbour outside wall, Farnborough Reef, Bangalee, Ironpot, Rita Mada, Corio Heads, Quartz Rock, The Barge and Findlays Reef are the prime mackerel spots inside the bay. As we move towards winter we can expect doggies and Spanish with the odd run of spotties around the local area.

The past few weeks has shown an early run of unexpected snapper. They have passed through some of the rubble patches at the back of the islands and there have been a couple taken inside the bay at Forty Acre and Ross Reef. Usually they show about mid June when the water temps are moving down a little. That could mean we are in for a bumper season by our standards.

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