It’s not easy to recap summer’s fishing after the past four months were filled with wayward weather. The biggest issue we had were some strong and long-lasting northerlies that made the beaches and fishing chaotic. Blue bottles and weed also made things difficult for swimmers and anglers. Trying to keep a bait from being covered by weed was a difficult task. The northerly winds were not the only combatant as rain and big swells started to roll in after December and stuck around for much longer than expected.
Spotties arrived in plague proportions in December/January and a few people were fined for trying to net them around the Moffat Beach area. They moved out around the mackerel grounds and dispersed around Currimundi, Rapers Shoal and Point Cartwright much to the delight of anglers who chased them.
By the middle of January the reefies were getting harder to find in consistent numbers thanks to the water temperature and conditions. There were very few days that gave boaties the opportunity to get out amongst them and that continued for weeks on end. Dolphinfish were around the Caloundra 12 mile and in patches that were so thick that watching them leap from the water and breaking the surface became a common occurrence. A few Spanish mackerel were taken and we all waited eagerly for the big boys to arrive. Unfortunately record numbers of bait schools were everywhere and the bigger predators had no need to take our lures or smelly pilchards as they had no trouble finding a fresh feed.
The Barwon Banks has finally had a quiet run which is unusual. It appears that Mother Nature is taking care of its own. This quiet spell continued through February with very few reefies being taken and only some light pelagic action to be had. Overall it was very quiet compared to previous seasons. Night time proved to be the best time to fish when the waters were quieter, cooler and much more productive.
The word around the traps was that everyone suffered towards the end of February with the traditional bad, blowy and rainy weather. Most of us just forgot about getting out in the boat and relived the early days and took to catching bread and butter species to fill the gap. I managed to nail some great estuary fish over a three-week period and a few nice crabs to boot.
The rain was needed to flush out the Pumicestone Passage and bring in all the baitfish. We now have an abundance of smaller hardiheads, herring and pike swimming around and these attract predators such as trevally, queenies and bigger flathead. The bream have been strong at various spots in the Passage with the Boardwalk and the Blue Hole two of the better places to set up camp and have a go. Large grunter to 2kg, have been taken on the shallows around the Surf Life Saving Club in Caloundra with the making tide the better option. The best baits to use for the grunter and bream are peeled or whole prawns and if you can get them, live prawns are the killers.
The flathead have been around in good numbers but they are patchy and smaller in size. Soft plastics have been accounting for some nice fish around the 50cm mark and it’s the Squidgies and Prawnstars that have been doing the most damage. Now that the big tides have gone for a while, fishing around the bar will become a lot more productive.
Mangrove jack are still being taken around the mangroves and deeper channels but in particular around the Coochin Creek area and the bridge pylons. The best one I have seen this season is just a little over 2.5kg and that was taken on a live poddy mullet around Egg Island.
There have been some fantastic whiting reports recently. These fish have been the main stay over the latter part of summer and this will continue as we move into our winter change over period. Some bigger whiting can be taken on the drop-offs around the Blue Hole, Gemini Towers and the Power Boat Club. Yabbies and worms, along with peeled and halved prawns are the better baits to try and will bring you plenty of success. Remember to fish in the early morning and late afternoon before and after the noisy part of the day. Travelling over to the northern tip of Bribie is another spot to try for whiting. During the tide change a nice hole and smallish gutter forms which holds plenty of whiting and small bream. The window of opportunity is only around 40 minutes before the tidal flow takes over and makes it nearly impossible to keep a bait in the area.
The beaches have again copped a bit of a pounding and have been flooded with weed and blue bottles for too long. The Wurtulla strip is fairly barren as far as good holes and gutters go. Fishing around beach access 36-39 has produced some nice bream and dart but mostly on the low tide. There have only been a few flathead around compared to the last couple of seasons. I can remember taking a good number of both duskies and bar tails in previous years but they have been hard to find this season. The spotties have been scarce as well but there are better times ahead as the cooler weather sets in.
As we now move into the cooler months the reefies should start to come on in numbers and this should include some fantastic snapper. It has been a long time between good fish and I’m looking forward to nailing some brutes. The estuaries will see a resurgence of bream and in a couple of months the bigger boys such as trevally will come out to play. The mullet will run and the whole process will start again for another year.Reads: 737