Clearwater jacks a summertime favourite
  |  First Published: February 2016

We are supposed to be in for a wet during February, which is good news, as the past few months haven’t really produced many good creek flows.

The creeks need to get a good flush every year to move around the natural food sources of the aquatic environment. In simple terms, the small fish feed and breed then the larger fish feed and breed.

The Burnett River has been very busy over the holiday period, and I am sure all the local retired anglers that fish during the week will be looking forward to a bit less traffic on the water. The Burnett has still been fishing quite well despite the pressure with whiting, bream and flathead still showing up in good enough numbers to warrant putting the boat in.

There have also been large schools of school mackerel hanging around the mouth of the river and they have been readily taking trolled lures and floating pilchards. I managed to get into a few with my daughter trolling Tilsan Barra lures in front of the lighthouse recently. There was a professional fisher there with his nets spread around and in the low light they were difficult to see, so keep an eye out.

Baffle Creek has been hit and miss over the break, with the water temperature getting up to 30°C, which does slow the fishing down. There has been a little bit of rain in the catchment, which will really help Baffle, as when it gets very clear it can be hard to tempt a jack to eat a lure.

I find fishing surface lures up there in the clear water does fire a few jacks up, and I fish them pretty much all day, not just early or late in the day. My go-to lure is the Cultiva Zip n Ziggy in gold, with a walk-the-dog style of retrieve. You may make a lot of casts with no result, but when a red devil decides to eat your lure, it’s an awesome sight to see.

The mouth is still fishing OK for whiting and bream, but the flathead are pretty much spread out all over the place and may take some finding. Trolling small hardbody lures around the islands at the mouth should see you come in contact with a few flathead at this time of the year.

Offshore the Spanish mackerel have turned up on most of our local reefs with live baits, jigs and trolled lures working on them. The mackerel will usually stay high in the water column while the light is low, but will drop closer to the bottom as the sun rises higher.

You can tempt those fish that have dropped deeper by dropping jigs down to them and then ripping it up through them at high speed. This is a very active way of getting them to bite, but it is a great way to fire them up. I have fished with boats around us not getting a bite on the mackerel, while we have had double hook ups high speed jigging for them.

The bottom species have been harder to temp of late with most anglers reporting slow fishing of the bottom and some anglers coming home with just a few hussar for the day.

February will see much the same fishing as January, only less crowds, but if we do get enough rain to flush the creeks out, March and April will be great.

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