After a good drop of rain at the end of January things are looking up for the autumn fishing season. The whole ecosystem benefited from an injection of freshwater, which carried nutrients and food into the Sandy Straits and Hervey Bay. The only downside has been the influx of fork-tailed catfish that inhabit the reefs and estuaries after a good drop of rain.
March is one of those months where it’s hard to decide what to chase; there is simply too much action happening. Up the creeks there are jack, mulloway, barra, grunter and threadfin. Work the drains, snags and rock bars with live baits and lures. The bread and butter species like summer whiting, flathead and bream are a good option on baits and artificials in the lower reaches and adjacent estuaries.
On the flats expect golden trevally schools, mackerel, tuna and queenfish, grunter, threadies and most other estuarine species along Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Straits.
Sharks are an ever-present problem that seems to have gotten worse on the Fraser Coast. There is no getting away from them no matter where you go. The other day I fished live whiting on the flats to try and get the kids on to a goldie for a bit of fun, after a couple of nice grunter the sharks moved in and shut any chance of a decent fish down. As soon as a livie hit the water little whaler sharks around 1-2m long would smash it. It’s got to the point that reef fishers are lucky to get one out of ten decent fish to the boat no matter how far out you go.
I’ve heard many stories over the years of tilapia found in some of our local lakes and dams but only recently saw the problem first hand. They live alongside our native species in brackish water and thriving in the conditions. I observed their territorial defence of their nests, which resembles a crop circle in the sand about 1m wide, and I could pester them into hitting a lure by peppering their nest with casts. Considered great table fish overseas, they are illegal to even have in possession in Queensland and must be destroyed. I fear it may be too late to stop them spreading into other waterways increasing pressure on native fish stocks.Reads: 595