Improving weather sparks hot bites
  |  First Published: August 2015

With the conditions during July far better than months previous, this month should be fantastic for fishing the vast fish species Rockhampton and surrounds has to offer.

Estuary and inshore

The Keppel Island group has been running well this past month with many species being taken by both boat anglers and people that are over enjoying the beaches for the day.

Species such as mackerel and trevally have been ever-present and are very common this time of year especially since the cold snaps have really started hitting.

Winter estuary species such as bream, flathead and threadfin salmon have been in high volumes over the past month with many anglers trying to target them. Many people have been trying to use soft plastics and with all the flathead about there is no better time to try.


Bream have been the standard common capture for many families and fish that many people enjoy catching. Bream can be can be targeted using a variety of methods. If you are choosing to use baits, anything from a pack of frozen prawns to freshly gathered whitebait will work, and a standard bait rig is a size 1 suicide hook on a running sinker rig with a small size 0 sinker is the go. As far as lures go, deep diving crank baits in smaller sizes like the Savage 40mm Crank work a treat slow rolled on the edges of structure. Prawn imitation plastics and flick baits work great and the Gulp 3” minnow and Gulp 2” shrimp are great starting points.

Whiting have been a very common and 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, some great lures for whiting in recent months have been small metal vibes such as TT Switchblades slowly lifted and dropped on a medium retrieve. Some 6lb braid and 6lb leader will see the job done and still land any bigger species, which there’s every chance of hooking up on. The top places for whiting at the moment include Keppel Sands, the Causeway Lake and of course Corio Bay. Look for the gutters and channels and anticipate the run as to where you need to cast.

All the queenfish, blue threadfin salmon, steelbacks and trevally in the estuaries can be easily targeted by using poppers and metal lures. 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. The poppers are used to imitate the fleeing prawns and whitebait in the estuaries.

Flathead are everywhere in the systems at the moment with Corio Bay producing good numbers. The 2 and 3” Flick Baits lightly-weighted (depending on the current) will produce flathead very quickly, especially 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 these fish up just as quick. To catch these easy-to-target sport fish on baits, some freshly caught live mullet around the 60mm size or freshly caught prawns work a treat on a size 2 running sinker and a size 1/0 circle hook.

Inshore regions

The Keppel group has been fishing well along with coastal headlands around Curtis Island. A great variety of species have been caught, and anything from large tuna through to mackerel and coral trout hasn’t been uncommmon.

Many people casting for these large long tail tuna are using ‘barra’ spin gear with small metal lures the same size as the baitfish in the water.

Many of the trout and other reef species have been pulled on shrimp imitation lures such as Zereks and the ever-effective Gulp Jerk Shads are still taking the fish by storm.

A lot of the rock bars present around the Keppel group have resulted in the capture of a large number of mackerel on barra-sized hardbodies and barra gear, and the size of the grey mackerel being caught this year is unreal!

So what are you waiting for? The weather is only getting better and the fishing should follow suit, so get out and wet a line!

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