In recent weeks we finally got a break in the weather, so the offshore brigade were able to get their fix. They were rewarded with some large Spanish mackerel, which have been taking fresh trolled baits such as doggy mackerel and garfish. If you prefer lures, two of the best producers have been Samaki Pacemakers and Yo-Zuri Hydro Magnums.
Bottom fishers have been doing well too, with some great captures of largemouth nannygai, red emperor, red-throat sweetlip and trout. As well as the usual baits, anglers have had good success with plastics like 7” Gulp Jerk Shads and 7” ZMan Jerk ShadZ, and also micro-jigs such as the Entice Flop an Entice Juicer.
There was also great fishing at the Boyne Tannum Hookup, which attracted a great turnout. A lot of fish were weighted in both the live and dead categories, with one of the most notable captures being a huge red emperor that weighed 14kg – cleaned!
People fishing the wrecks have been having a lot of fun as well, catching golden trevally, cobia, nannygai, tealeaf trevally and grunter. The wrecks are best fished on neap tides with either live baits or soft plastics and jigs.
The mangrove jacks have been firing in some of the local creeks, with some beautiful fish in the mid 50s making an appearance. I have spent a lot of time chasing them on surface lures, including walk-the-dogs, fizzers and even poppers. The best times are early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Once the sun comes up it’s worth throwing a suspending jerkbait around 80mm long or a 4” soft plastic rigged weedless, and fishing tight into the structure.
Grunter fishing is good at the moment, and the best baits are live prawns and live herring, followed by strips of mullet or gar. Toolooa Bends and Grahams Creek are good spots to try, and I like to fish for them on the smaller tides. These tides concentrate the fish in the deeper holes, making it easier to target them with soft vibes and Gulp Shrimps. Things to look for while chasing grunter include gravel bottom and deep bends in the creek, as they provide perfect ambush points.
There are still plenty of barra being caught throughout the Boyne River region and Gladstone Harbour. Blue salmon are in the harbour as well, and are starting to move into the mouths of estuaries and up into the Narrows. Vibes are good for salmon and barra, particularly the Samaki Vibelicious, Jackson Quiet Beats and Zerek Fish Traps. On the neap tides, concentrate your efforts in the deeper holes around the estuaries. On larger tides, you’ll find the fish up over the flats, gravel bars, sand bars and mangrove-lined banks. And since the rain the mud crabs have started to move, so its worth dropping a few pots in.
Anglers are catching plenty of golden snapper (fingermark) and black jew at the moment in Gladstone Harbour. They’ve been taking live herring, fresh squid (preferably live if you can get it), and fresh mullet fillets. It’s best to chase them around rocky outcrops and deep gravel bars, and even in some of the deeper creeks in the Narrows.
Large queenfish have been giving anglers a lot of fun around North Entrance and Gatcombe Head, taking poppers, soft plastics and stickbaits. Queenfish tend to like an erratic retrieve around current lines and dirty water lines. They can also be found around deeper rock bars.
Fingers crossed the good weather will continue through June so we can keep heading offshore to chase pelagics and bottom fish. With the dropping temperatures, the Spanish mackerel fishing should keep getting better. Longtail and mac tuna are also more common in the cooler months, as are salmon and grunter.
The barra will start to slow down in June, but they still have to eat. Some canny anglers only target them in winter, because of the lack of fishing pressure. If you like a challenge, you can try targeting these sluggish barra with live mullet, or keep an annoying vibe in front of their nose until they finally decide to hit it.
For all the latest information on what’s biting and where, drop in and see Dylan and the team at Pat’s Tackle World Gladstone on 23 Lord St, or give them a call on (07) 4972 3692. They’re also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Pats TackleworldGladstone.Reads: 1776