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Post-Christmas fishing tips
  |  First Published: January 2016



Christmas has been and gone for another year, and if you were lucky you may have received a few fishing gifts. If you didn’t, just treat yourself, I sure did! I’ve actually ordered a new boat – but that’s another story!

This summer has been scorching, with a fair blow of northerly winds before December, the water temperatures were up around 27°C in the estuaries. Hot water and plenty of jelly prawns (juvenile prawns) in the creeks are always good signs for some fantastic fishing action. Threadfin salmon, barramundi, jacks, bream and flathead all love prawns, of any size. Threadies in particular have evolved to eat prawns. Take a look inside a threadie’s mouth and see how strainers have developed off the gill arches, forming a net like strainer that catches even the smallest prawns as water is expelled through the gill slits. Here in Hervey Bay we often find threadies feeding on jelly prawns in drain mouths on the ebb tide, exploding through the bait with impressive displays.

Pikey bream are another species that are worth targeting at this time of year, and most sportfishers enjoy throwing a lure at these little fighters. They lurk among the mangrove roots and rocks, and ambush anything that moves past. Pikeys can be caught on almost anything, but a surface lure on light tackle is my favourite pikey method. They can grow to over 1.5kg and are a handful around structure!

Remember, Christmas time sees a lot of fishing pressure on favourite spots so try to find out where the popular spots are and stay away, find your own secluded haven. This is a hard ask, but still do-able, and the results will be worth it! Boat traffic has a negative effect on fishing success also, too much boat noise can and does put fish off the bits, especially species like mulloway, jacks and bream.

Early starts before the crowds are the go! Start fishing early, I love getting out of bed at 3am and finishing around 6 or 7am, when most daytime anglers are launching. On the right tides, and under the right conditions night fishing can be very successful as well. There’s nothing better than launching the boat at 10pm and cruising across the river to be get involved in a frenzy of bait bashing mulloway and barra. Surface lures are very effective at night and nothing beats a surface strike.

With the warmer weather increasing the activity in the estuaries you don’t have to get too technical with lures and sounders. All you really have to do is find a hole or a drain on the right tide that looks like it could potentially hold fish and you’ll catch barra, salmon and bream on live prawns, crabs and mullet. Otherwise, cast out assorted lures such as vibes and minnows, be persistent and you’ll eventually get the bite.

Although most anglers are fixed on that one big fish, many will find that catching several smaller whiting, cod and catfish can be just as fun – especially when you take the kids fishing. They generally aren’t worried about the size of a fish, but more the consistency of the catch.

Although under a lot of pressure, the mud crab season has begun and it’s definitely worth throwing a few pots in. Once again, kids love crabbing, as you never know what will be lurking inside when you pull in a pot. Children get excited no matter what comes over the side!

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