Jackhammered in Bundaberg
  |  First Published: October 2015

Spring has sprung and we’re starting to see some great fishing in Bundaberg. Most of our estuaries are now free of the slimy weed that plagued our early season flathead trolling and the fish are there and playing the game.

The Burnett

Our main river has been producing well again with flathead, grunter, and bream appearing just about everywhere. The boys at Tackleworld are getting reports of good salmon and barramundi caught by mad keen lads fishing vibes and blades in the deeper holes.

Once again, it pays to invest a bit of time finding fish before you commit a day to fishing an area. With all the new and improved technology the fish simply cannot hide – the real effort is catching them! Side imaging fish finders are a great way to help you find your fish but if you’re like me and just love fishing you tend not to really get the most out of your sounder.

Here's a tip from me, put your boat into a creek, river or lake that you are very familiar with and leave your fishing rods out of the boat. Spend a couple of hours just sounding around, watch the screen and have a play with the settings. When I got my new sounder I spent some quality time getting to know it and I learned so much more. My attention was wholly concentrated on what I wanted to see on my fish finder and I remained undistracted by the prospect of fishing. I changed settings from colour, sensitivity, range and everything in between. This gave me a much greater understanding of my sounder and I have found so many more fish because of it – but that doesn't mean I caught them all!

Of course, as the water warms up my favourite species is added to most lure anglers’ target list – the mangrove jack. October will really get the red boys fired up around the Burnett's many rock walls and schools of jacks can be found patrolling for unsuspecting baitfish to feed on in these areas. You can lose a lot of lures trolling the rock walls for jacks in October but – they keep making them so you can always go and buy more! There really is something special about being hammered by a big jack while your trolling. The fish hardly takes any line but will dart straight into those oyster encrusted rocks and dust you! At first this leaves you feeling pretty cranky but after the adrenalin passes you’ll find yourself thinking ‘that was sweet – let’s do that again!’

Where's Jack? Well there actually aren’t too many creeks or rivers these great fish don't live in. I have caught mangrove jack in every system in our area from Gladstone down to the great Sandy Straights. Early in the season they will be moving around a lot looking for those schools of bait. One day you might find them in a deep rocky hole and the next they’ll be hunting the edge of a sand bar in 3ft of water. There really is only one constant when looking for mangrove jack – find the food, find the fish.

The Baffle

Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan Park has reported that the Baffle flathead are in plague proportions and, now the weed has all but cleared up, it seems everyone is catching them. The preferred technique of Roger’s park anglers is to soak bait. The flathead have been eating both dead and live bait but the better quality has been coming on the live. Roger also mentioned that the mangrove jacks have been pretty active as well and have been hitting live baits and lures around the rock bars at the bottom end of the creek. I will be slipping the kayak into the upper reaches very soon to do a bit of early morning surface fishing for these great fish. I’ve had some great sessions in the upper reaches in the past few years and this season should be just as good.

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