Fun on tropical species
  |  First Published: February 2016

With two months of summer behind us, February should make similar offerings provided weather conditions are reasonably kind.

The beaches of Fraser Island should be good for the usual beach species of dart, whiting, bream and flathead, with tarwhine and reef species likely around the coffee rocks. In particular there have been some very encouraging reports of big whiting, mostly from the gutters south of Dilli Village. The usually reliable dart have been unpredictable though, and schools of quality fish are hard to find at times.

The exciting burst of small marlin around Rooney Point and inside Platypus Bay seems to have subsided, but the odd fish has still been worked and released. Sadly, some fish were retained too long and weren’t able to be revived.

Other activity around the northern end of the island has been associated with longtail and mac tuna as well as spotty mackerel (you can take five spotties that make the 60cm limit). This month should see the mackerel at their peak.

The reefs around Rooney Point and further south have produced a few scarlets and small snapper. At the Arch Cliff Six Mile Reefs, golden trevally have been prolific, but so have sharks, which makes it almost impossible to land a good fish.

Further south around the beacons north of Woody Island, and along the shipping channel leading towards the Fairway buoy, there has been a particularly good run of school mackerel. Possibly a little out of season, but nobody is complaining. 

Hervey Bay’s reefs have been performing well, particularly since the New Year. Along the deeper ledges, around the Rufus Artificial Reef and in Boges Hole anglers have caught blackall, cod and black spot tuskfish. The shallow reefs have turned on the same species, with coral trout falling to trolled barra lures in the shallows along the reef edges. This action should continue until late April at the earliest, weather permitting.

The mouths of the Susan and Mary rivers at River Heads continue to hold blue salmon. Anglers who target this species during December and January found themselves connecting with the occasional barramundi as a by-catch (these were of course released).

The pikey bream, common in North Queensland, have been a common catch in the Mary River system. In recent years (possibly due to the increase in water temperatures) this species has become more abundant, particularly around South Head and upstream in the Susan River. This is just another of many tropical estuarine species that have become more common along the Fraser Coast.

The Burrum River has fished well during the recent school holidays. Jacks have tested anglers’ skills along the snaggy banks upstream of Walkers Point. Of course, barramundi devotees will now be able to target their favourite quarry in similar territory (the season opened from noon, 1 February). Some excellent jacks have turned up in some of the semi-tidal lagoons at Eli Waters. The lads who enjoy the challenge observe strict catch and release procedure, and only take home photos.

Let’s hope that the weather will be kind to us this month. If we can use the last warm months as a guide, there should be plenty of opportunities.

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