The start to this summer has put blistering heat into the area, however this makes for some awesome freshwater afternoon fishing sessions. Plenty of people have still been getting mackerel and similar species out around the Kepple Island groups. Coorooman, Corio and the narrows have been fishing well, but during the majority of October, the Fitzroy was in flood, leaving the river a chocolate brown colour and full of weed.
With 1 November upon us, closed season now applies to barra, however it doesn’t mean you can’t get out for a lure fishing session to target the many jacks, blue salmon and threadfins in the river, not to mention large bream and grunter up in the narrows.
The river will likely be a no go zone this summer, after some big rainfall this winter with the gates of the barrage open for almost all of October. The freshwater side is at 100% capacity, so any amount of rain will set the river into flood again. That being said, once the port has had time to clean and salt up, the influx of fresh and in turn bait and nutrients should be great for the king salmon and mud crabs.
The estuaries are always loaded with fish this time of year during the transition of winter to summer, especially with the mild nights upon us. There’s been quite a bit of prawn and mullet around, especially in areas like the causeway lake, making stocking up on bait very easy for those who like to do so. Many people are catching a lot of bream amongst the mangroves, flathead along the drop offs of sandbars and muddy ledges and a huge amount of tarpon and cod around the systems lately.
In the channels through the estuaries and beach gutters, there’s been a lot of activity from blue salmon and queenfish, both of which are very fun sportfish that can be targeted by using lures or baits. There are a lot of great options for people heading into the estuaries to fish, whether you go up to Yellow Patch on Curtis Island or stay in closer to home targeting the Narrows or Corio Bay. The most important part lately has been matching the baitfish at the time.
Recently, there have been a few hardbodies and plastics that have stood out for their catch rate. For hardbodies in the estuaries, the LuckyCraft Pointer range and Rapala XRap have been key standouts. On the plastics side of things, the ever-present in the tackle tray River 2 Sea Fish Candy vibe has still been performing wonders. Recently I’ve also been fishing my old-school Berkley PowerBait watermelon pearl scales on the back end of my jig heads.
The freshwater lagoons around the area have plenty of activity this time of year and many of the accessible freshwater areas around the Rockhampton region hold some of Queensland’s most iconic species. Surface and sub-surface lures that mimic insects are a go to this time of year. The sheer amount of moths around at the moment is amazing. A nice walk the dog action on a small popper mimics the action of a moth that has landed on the water pretty well and will attract just about every species.
Tarpon are a species you’ll come to grips with when fishing in the freshwater lagoons around the area. There are hundreds of them, they hit hard, jump a lot and just make surface fishing that much more enjoyable. They don’t fight as hard as a barramundi would, but the number you can catch per session makes up for that! Recently, the Lucky Craft Tone Splash was pulling good numbers until a big predator wrapped it around a log for me. Little cicada imitations and wakebaits have also been pretty good on freshwater species in the late afternoons.
If you’re wanting to catch a crab or two, the best bait lately is mullet head with catfish coming a close second. Fortunately mullet head can be bought from anywhere and it takes no time at all to rig a pot up with them. A simple bait clip between the eyes and the mullet head is good to go.
The rules still apply at four pots per person with the pots and floats both labelled. Label kits can be picked up for next to nothing and come with a waterproof marker, labels and zippy ties. Do the right thing when out crabbing to preserve this fishing method for future generations.
Connor from Frogleys Offshore pulled this great golden snapper.
Mitch has been smashing the jacks lately pulling this one from some great looking structure.
Mitch with another nice jack!
Renee was able to land this lovely sickle running her new NS Amped rod and Stradic FK reel.Reads: 833