Last year was certainly an eventful year fishing-wise in Queensland, and Rockhampton had its fair share. We had the ‘Nets Out Qld’ go through, saw a decline in the average fish size in the Barra Bounty, several severe fines given out by Fisheries and a croc in a crab pot.
Every year I seem to ask the same question: why not make use of the after-Christmas sales, grab some new gear and set out to catch a fish you haven’t caught before? That’s what I’ll be doing!
Closed season for our dominant sportfish is still in action, but there have been reports of plenty of king threadfin salmon, mangrove jack and golden snapper around the river. These fish have been predominantly towards the mouth with all the islands and narrow branching creek systems, but have also been targeted and caught between Gavial and Devils Elbow along with the city reaches. The salmon have been taking vibes of any sort, but two top performing lures are the ever-reliable Jackall Transam followed by the River2Sea Fish Candy vibe. Either a medium lift-and-drop or a slow roll have been nailing these fish.
In the creeks and beaches there have been reports of large bream and flathead in the deeper parts of the water, however the flathead are becoming somewhat harder to find. The bream on the other hand, especially the pikey bream, have been a very common catch for people heading down to places like Wild Cattle and South Trees, along with Moses perch and odd grunter.
One good lure for these species is the River2Sea Fish Candy in the 65mm paddle-tail, worked by slow rolling along the bottom. Alternatively, you can try the Lucky Craft Pointer 48 and 65 in the deep diving versions. These lure suspend and are great for working heavy structure. Twitch the Pointer along the snag with long pauses, suspending it in the strike zone.
I predict that when barra season opens up in February, after only a little rain so far the fish will be going off and it will be a cracker season targeting them. The lack of serious downpours and flooding (so far) means the water will be very salty and teeming with baitfish like mullet and herring.
We’ve had a combination of summer heat, light rain and storms, plus an abundance of small baitfish. As a result, the freshwater action has been great. The best areas are around the lilies or tree lines. Small surface lures like cicada imitations and poppers with small cup faces have been doing most of the damage for lure fishers. Rigging the rear with a stinger style hook like a ZX Vibe Stinger can work wonders during a tough bite!
With a few more hot days getting towards the end of summer, continuing with the occasional rain event, the freshwater areas should be filled full of sportfish to target on grubs, hardbodies and even surface soft plastics. Surface plastics like the new ZMan 4” Pop ShadZ or weightless curl-tails rigged with a worm hook around the weed lines can be deadly for most of the fish.
The crabs at this time of the year are extremely active and full to the top with meat. With all the summer sales happening at tackle stores, crab pots are cheap at the moment. Crabbing is very affordable, seeing as there’s no expensive gear needed, so it’s a good option for anyone to try. Crabbing can also be heaps of fun, especially when you’re trying to grab a big buck to put him in the cooler. Just read up on your local rules and regulations or ask when you come in to buy some pots.
Time to make that new year’s resolution to target a species you haven’t targeted before, my goal is to target more on fly and build my skill up enough to do a fly charter off Harvey Bay for marlin on fly in September. Dream big and give it a go!Reads: 689