Bring on the warmer weather, I just love this time of year. September really is the start of a new fishing season with our estuaries starting to fire up with the spring run of flathead and the odd mangrove jack.
The Burnett River has been very consistent over the last few months with early mornings and late afternoons being the pick for the better quality fish. The flathead have really turned up with trolling small deep diving lures around the many shallow sandy areas of the river producing plenty of smaller fish. The better quality fish have been taking large live baits fished on the drop-offs and ledges in the river.
Spring is flathead spawning time so if you come across one flathead while trolling you can bet there are plenty more in the area, as they will be looking for ladies to make little flathead. There is a size limit on dusky flathead with a minimum of 40cm and a maximum of 75cm and a possession limit of 5. Just to clarify, a possession limit means you cannot have any more than that number in your possession, which includes what you have at home. For instance, if you catch 5 in the morning, take them home, fillet and freeze them, you cannot go back out and take another 5 home.
As I mentioned, there will of course be a few mangrove jack starting to grab some of those live baits fishing in deeper holes as the water warms up. The Burnett has produced some big jacks over the past couple of years so if you’re getting busted off regularly you can bet there are a few big red brutes in the area.
I had a good chat to Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan Park the other day and he said the flathead are everywhere at the moment and he expects them to keep firing for the next month or so. He did mention there is a fair bit of weed in the creek that hampers trolling and soft plastic hopping for them. The weed should clear as the tides get bigger and this should make fishing for them much more enjoyable and productive.
The upper reaches off the Baffle is still clear and cool and nearly unnavigable by boat as the river has silted up after the big floods a couple of years ago. The upper reaches will be worth a look in the kayaks this month as the weed isn’t right up there and there is a chance of an early season jack session.
Bundaberg has had unprecedented great weekend weather over the last couple of months and hopefully we will enjoy more of the same in September. There have been mixed bags of all reef species like trout, sweetlip, hussar and snapper all hitting the decks in numbers and sizes.
The pelagic species have been around but in smaller numbers, but once found their quality is pretty good. I fished the 5 Degree with a couple of mates last month and managed two very lucky captures; one was a very large Spanish mackerel that ate a yakka as I jigged it up off the bottom. I was using 12lb Spiderwire on a small 3000 size reel with 20lb fluorocarbon leader, which is not really mackerel fishing gear. We worked well as a team and despite nearly being spooled twice, we managed to put the fish in the boat – it was a great effort from the boys. After realising what a momentous occasion that was, putting such a large fish in the boat on such light gear, we resumed dropping Halco Twisties to the bottom and kept jigging.
It wasn’t long before once again my rod was under pressure, this time a small black marlin had eaten my lure. After a very aerial fight that I thought would end quickly but didn’t, the small black came boat side and was quickly lifted in for a photo and released.
I have been fishing off Bundaberg for over 20 years and although I have hooked a few marlin this was my first Bundaberg marlin to the boat, this is why fishing is so addictive you just never know when that special fish will come along.Reads: 423