After a very dry year we scored some rain in November and, with any luck, we should have a decent season in December. With the school holidays here everyone is looking for things to keep the kids busy and there are so many options around our area for those with or without boats.
Most of our local beaches from Fitzroy Beach heading north to Corio Bay and up into Army country are producing good numbers of dart and whiting. Flathead, bream, trevally, and blue salmon are also a good chance at the right time.
Beachworms are in fair numbers particularly from Bangalee north. The best time for worming is around the bottom of the tide for an hour or so. Our sand is quite compact and it takes a bit of patience to get the worm out without breaking it in two.
Coorooman Creek is fishing particularly well for bream, flatties and whiting from the beaches and banks while the boaties have scored a few nice grunter and fingermark in recent weeks. It pays to measure the fish you aren’t sure of because there is a lot of just undersized grunter caught at the moment. The bigger grunters have been taken either side of the full and new moons. The best spots have been the cockle beds near The Plain River black banks and the Cawarral Creek moorings. If the weather is good then it’s only a short run out the front to Quartz, where there is a stack of fish on any given day. Quartz Rock always gets the mackerel runs, ribbonfish, grunter and salmon whenever conditions are fishable.
The Causeway Lake has been producing some decent bream lately as expected, especially over the run-through (tides over 3.8m), which push over the causeway and turn on everything in the lake. The majority of big fish taken in the lake are caught near the bridge as they wait on the building tides. Extra large pike, trevally, flathead, whiting and mangrove jack are in form in the warmer months. There are stacks of things for the kids to do and gathering bait will keep them occupied for ages. The Causeway has loads of mullet and herring available around the perimeter and yabbies can be pumped on the ocean side of the Yeppoon Emu Park Road.
The Rosslyn Bay Harbour still ranks among the better land-based spots on the coast as everything, from barramundi to mackerel can be caught along the walls most of the year. I prefer an incoming tide for most of the species here. Lots of small bait schools move in and out with the tides and so do the big things that eat them. The other attraction is the amount of bait usually available. We often come down to the harbour in the evenings to throw the cast net and get enough bait for offshore trips in the following days.
All the local headlands are big bream magnets. Virtually at any given time there are lots of bream working the rocky edges and gullies. Some of the young blokes drop in a berley bag after school and go back later in the evening to catch a feed. There is a good chance to score fingermark, cod, and salmon in the early morning or evening when the tides are up a little.
Corio Bay, Waterpark, and Fishing Creek systems all have plenty of vehicle access and are quite fishable from all areas. These are the most tide-affected systems in the local area, with much of the area dry over the lows. Any estuary species you can think of that lives in the sub tropics lives here. The locals mainly chase flathead, bream, fingermark and mangrove jack over the closed barra season. Once again there is an abundance of live baits from yabbies to herring and mullet.
Most of the crabs in all of the local systems are fresh shelled and still need a bit of time and a bit more rain before filling out. Hopefully these storms of late do the job by getting the extra nutrients to the crabs and prawns by Christmas.
Threadfin have the biggest numbers of any of the quality fish in the Fitzroy River. Luckily there are so many spots for threadies that you can fish away from the crowds if you wish. The town reaches of the river have plenty of easily accessible spots on either side from the 400m-mark downstream. The preferred spots are between the bridges, the caravan, Moores Creek mouth, the ledge in front of The Pilbeam, the viewing platforms, the pontoon, the back of the race course and all the way down the high banks.
You do have to be a bit careful around dark and don’t let the kids swim in the river because of the crocodiles, which are very active at the moment. Grunter and fingermark are two of the other species around at present although they are more accessible by boat. Live bait other than prawns can be very hard to find and in the case of popeye mullet, which are present in huge quantities, but extremely hard to nail when you do find them. When the prawns aren’t on, I catch my live baits down the beach before heading into Rocky.
All the lesser mackerel have kept their form on track both inside the bay and in the wider areas. In recent weeks we have stumbled across many schools of doggies or spotties working over small rubble patches up to 60km from Rosslyn Bay. Anytime you see schools of bait and there are bigger streaks around the edges or over the top, it pays to drop a big chrome down.
I like to drop my Flasha or Taipan right to the bottom and let it sit for a couple of seconds then jig it a few times prior to the fastest retrieve I can do. This gives the fish a chance to spot it prior to the chase and often they will grab it almost immediately on the quick return. In the shallow waters we leave a floating pilly out all the time when the mackies are about.
In the deeper water I always have a weighted pilly hanging a few metres below the boat so that anything following your lure or your fish up to the surface has a chance of collecting a hook of their own. This works particularly well for mackerel that often come up in small groups to watch the activity. For the smaller craft anglers there have been plenty of fish at the usual spots like Farnborough Reef, Findlays, Bangalee, Ross Reef, Forty Acre Paddock, Ironpot, Rita Mada, Rosslyn Bay, Claytons, Halftide Rocks, Big Peninsula, Humpy, Sykes, Liza Jane, The Pinnacles, Outer Rock, Man and Wife, Barren Island and Corio Heads.
Reefies remain pretty solid again this month around the islands and further. Redthroat emperor, grassy sweetlip, parrot, cod and hussar have all had good shows along with the snapper. All year long we have had an exceptional run on the red fish. Emperors and nannies continue in eating mode at most of the recognised patches this side of the shoals. Emperor in particular, prefer baits close to the bottom.
If I can’t get livies I use the freshest bait available. It doesn’t matter whether it’s squid, pillies, or iodine slabs –don’t skimp on the amount you use. This gives any other species in the area a chop at it and attracts the attention of the bigger fish. Big baits don’t always mean big fish but it does give them a chance to move in while there is enough to make it worth the effort.
I hope you all have a great Christmas!Reads: 544