For the mad keen pelagic anglers, Platypus Bay is the place to be this time of year and it is teeming with life. Massive congregations of bait have made their way into the bay and the predatory fish have followed suit. Longtail tuna are the main draw card at the moment. Big schools of fish have been seen working the bait balls and driving them to the surface.
Paying close attention to the birds and their flight patterns will also help you get a rough idea of where the tuna are going to pop up next. Good numbers of fish have also been seen hooning down the flats on the first of the run-out tide and are very exciting sport to sight cast to in shallow water, as you watch them hone in and demolish your lure.
This time of year you can target them with a variety of different lures and techniques, as they are not only eating the smaller profile baitfish but also the big Atlantic longtom schools, which makes them very easy to tempt with a variety of different offerings.
Metal slugs have been working a treat with anglers favouring the Gillies Baitfish 40g and Samaki Torpedo 35g. Fly has been another great option with white clousers and surf candies getting the bites. If you really want to get the adrenalin pumping, anglers throwing stickbaits like the Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper have been rewarded with some incredible surface strikes.
Sharks are still a continual battle to get your fish past, with their numbers increasing rapidly. If sharks become an issue, rather than donating more fish to the tax man, drive away and try to locate the smaller patches of fish. More often than not there will be less shark pressure.
The queenfish population have had a strong presence throughout the entire bay, with good numbers of quality fish being caught off the rocky outcrops and headlands, around the inshore islands and even the mainland. Fast paced and erratically retrieved lures draw these fish into committing to an eat. Up the island, wide of the Arch Cliffs area, there have been big numbers of fish busting the surface as they continue to gorge themselves on the masses of bait, which has made for some incredible sight fishing.
For those with the capacity to venture further afield, the southern and northern gutters area has continued to fish well for the usual demersals with some XOS coral trout, cod, tuskfish, sweetlip and Spanish flag being taken on both fresh cut baits in the form of pencil squid, green prawns or mullet fillets. Live baits have been having great success, especially pike and yakka.
Soft plastics and micro-jigs have continued to account for some great captures with anglers reporting the artificial lures out-fishing baits on the day. Good numbers of pelagics have been found within close vicinity of the reef. Mixed trevally, tuna and mackerel species are easy to tempt with a fast paced lure, either cast and retrieved or trolled.
Across the bar has been fishing well. Anglers deep dropping have been rewarded with full strings of pearl perch, snapper and rosy jobfish. Fresh pencil squid have been the bait of choice with rigs running lumo tubing and squid skirts receiving the greatest attention. If you’re keen on getting your arms stretched, deep water jigging has been rewarding anglers with quality amberjack and some mind blowing bust-offs.
Working flutter jigs and knife jigs in the 150-250g range in 80-120m of water has produced quality captures, with the shark numbers dropping off the deeper you move. For the heavy tackle anglers, blue marlin are still around and are being raised in the 100-300m mark. They have been a little tentative, often just billing the lure or tracking it for a while.
Moving inshore, the MBS and Fairway beacons have been quite popular with good numbers of queenfish, golden trevally and school mackerel being caught. Metal spoons like the 35g Flashas or live baits have been rewarding anglers with some line burning action. A little reminder to those anchoring around the beacon, anchor well up current and fish back onto the beacon. This will account for far better results than anchoring right on top of it.
The inshore reefs have continued to produce quality table fish. The coral bream are in plague proportions, cod are thick and some quality coral trout are in the mix. Fresh baits have been working best with firmer baits like pencil squid, hardiheads, mullet fillets and cubed pike helping to fill an esky. Trolling hardbody lures has continued to be a very effective technique and the 3-4m mark produces great captures.
Lightly weighted soft plastics worked erratically over the shallow reef flats have also been working well. Black-spot tuskfish or ‘blueys’ as the locals call them, have been a semi-regular capture for those anglers fishing with crab baits. The odd fish up to 20lb has been reported and there are plenty of smaller models.
Don’t forget your squid jigs, as pencil squid are still being caught in good numbers over the sand patches in the main channel passages with the deeper water fishing best. The Yamashita 1.5 jigs have been the standout, yielding the greatest numbers.
Moving further down the Great Sandy Straits, the various river and creek systems have been fishing well for quality grunter, which have been taken on live yabbies and small river herring. Otherwise, soft plastics like the ZMan 2.5” GrubZ in bloodworm are local favourites worked tight to the bottom.
Best numbers of fish have come from deeper holes and gravel patches located on or near bends within the system on the run-out tide. In close proximity, threadfin salmon have been caught working the drains on the last of the run-out tide with small vibes and shallow diving hardbodies like the Bomber 14A being a go-to lure.
Lake Lenthalls has been fishing better than ever with good numbers of bass and barramundi being caught on the cast. Bass over 50cm and barra up to the magic metre have graced anglers’ decks. Topwater has been an exciting option during the low light periods of dawn and dusk with the Bagley Finger Mullet in natural mullet colour received plenty of attention.
Once the sun is up anglers have been opting to go sub-surface to weedless rigged paddle-tail soft plastics and shallow diving suspending hardbodies. Wind blown bays and points with structures in the forms of lilies or timber are the main targeted areas.
Once again Hervey Bay has turned it on for the month. The bay is full of life and many happy anglers with some awe-inspiring photos and fishing tales. Fingers-crossed we see this incredible fishing roll over into next month.
• This report was compiled by the team at Fishermans Corner in Hervey Bay. For more information on what’s biting, where and how to catch them on the fantastic Fraser Coast, drop in and see the crew at Fishermans Corner 59 Torquay Road, Hervey Bay, or give them a call on(07) 4128 1022.Reads: 604