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The wonders of a warm winter
  |  First Published: July 2016



The recent weather has been very good for fishing, the cold really didn’t hit until the start of June.

The cold waters have created many different fishable areas from awesome early morning flats fishing for estuary species to the patches of warm water where big barra come on the bite. Bream, flathead and salmon are starting to group up on the flats, and barra are moving to warmer spots or down deep where there is little temperature change throughout the day. Further out, the reefies are certainly out to play. 

Freshwater

The freshwater areas around town have been active considering the cooler water. This winter, if you could call it that, is meant to have some pretty cold days, which will shut the fresh down for barra and tarpon. Even though two great species will shut down, the fresh is still viable for species like yellowbelly, saratoga and sooty grunter. There are many great areas around Rockhampton to find these fish, and the best way to find them is on Google Maps. Go for a drive and try to find a spot. The highway is littered with bridges that will take you to areas that produce good fish.

The Fitzroy

The river has been fishing well for many anglers and a lot of people have been finding good fish. It just shows that persistence pays off. A lot of the fish have been taken between the bridges up in the city reaches, especially on low tide where many anglers walk the rocks to fish the pockets of water left over.

The barra have been starting to sit a lot deeper in the areas where the temperature changes throughout the day. Devils Elbow and the mouth of Gavial Creek have been fishing well for both barra and king salmon, and most have been taken on vibes. Otherwise, anglers have been using deep divers like the Lucky Craft Pointer XD.

You only have to look on the local Facebook pages to see the amount of people catching fish and the correlation to the fact the commercial netting is gone from our river system. It would be very hard for this to be a pure coincidence as there was no major flooding event or other significant change to the ecosystem this season. We have already begun to see fish stocks improve. With all this in play, I cannot wait to see what this amazing river system brings in the next few years. 

Inshore regions

The Keppel Group has been fishing well along with coastal headlands around Curtis Island. A great variety of species have been caught, and anything from large jewfish through to mackerel and coral trout can be expected in winter. A lot of people have been chasing these fish with their barra reels and micro-jigging rods.

On the bigger reefs out wider a lot of anglers are still using the large jigging outfits. If you have one of both combos and a 30lb rated slug-casting combo, you’ve got most bases covered for a good day inshore. Places like Lisa Jane and Hummocky have been fishing well, with many good reef species being captured. Some absolute horse-sized Spanish mackerel have been captured off Ship Rock next to Hummocky. 

Estuaries

The estuarine regions have been fishing very well for almost every species. This year, the bream have been on the move and the flathead will be more active in a few weeks.

Fishing the rock bars around the estuaries has been fantastic to pull grunter, cod and on the drop-offs near the rock bars, some medium running hardbodied lures have produced a great number of whiting.

Anglers have been having some great fun with lots of smaller queenies and a multitude of different trevally species holding up in spots normally reserved for species like bream and whiting.  

Crabbing

Although the river has been getting cooler, many people are still pulling ripper crabs out around the port and Thompsons Point. From what others are saying, they are getting these crabs deeper in the channels.

Mullet heads and heavy duty pots have been selling like crazy, and this is likely due to the fact that heavy duty pots won’t get shifted as much in the river run and the feedback from people and the photos has been insane.

Anyone who likes a crabbing session should definitely get down and get some crabs while they are going hard, or if you’re new to the process, crab pot kits are readily available.

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