Small snapper on our doorstep
  |  First Published: June 2007

Bundaberg’s reefs are being inundated with small snapper and this is the time of year to catch them in numbers. You’ll simply need to fish inshore on reefs such as the Cochrane Artificial, 4-mile, 2-mile and Ryans. Snapper will also be on the wider reefs in addition to all of our other red fish.

For those fishing from the bay, Rooneys Point is a great safe water anchorage and easily accessible from the great snapper fishing reefs in the immediate area. The offshore areas off the eastern side of the spit harbour big snapper, but you will have to compete with the sharks.

Shallow water is a great place to try some soft plastics; these lures have been very popular in Moreton Bay around pylons and small reef structures. In our area we have plenty of shallow water and softies work well.

Bait fishing is also very successful – try fishing all the water columns (the bottom, middle and top) as snapper on the move will not necessarily stay on the bottom.

Last year while running a charter we fished the Baron of Bundaberg and ran over a huge school of 6kg snapper. Lots of these fish ended up coming aboard and our customers were suitably impressed.

Many anglers report that they have been catching lots of trout at the moment. These fish are one of the most prized table fish in the area and they are back in numbers. In the gutters we are fishing small reefs with repeated catches of coral trout day after day. In the past we have caught a couple every trip but this year they just keep coming.

The 30-degree patch is one of the most popular places to catch fish at the moment. This area has small coral heads and lots of small reef areas that fish swim through and inhabit and this year it has fished really well for big trout reds and sweeties.

A popular technique in Bundaberg is to fish the northern grounds in the big run and head more easterly over the spur country with the smaller tides. This year people are having continued success in the north, fishing up as far as the Warregos. However, be wary of the green zones.

While up north it is always worth a trip to the Karma. We have caught some great fish here and the pelagics love this spot. The very first fish I caught here was a small black marlin and the second fish I caught was a 30kg Spaniard. The wreck hadn’t even been there for 12 months at the time.

My mate Jason Bould has been catching some great snapper at the coral patch of Rooneys and has also been cleaning in the gutters with livebait such as pike and yellowtail. On top of this, he has been catching plenty of trout in the southern and northern gutters.


We are still seeing plenty of small billfish about and on the heavy tackle scene we have had some good-sized blacks and blues up behind the boat. I don’t know how long the dream run of large fish will go on for, but I’m sure as the water cools they will move on.

Some huge sharks are around at the moment, especially on the close in reefs. I’m not a big fan of shark fishing but I do have customers who love to see these monsters. Game fishing in places like Sydney and Port Stephen is predominately shark fishing in the winter months and is very popular.

Most of the pelagic species will disappear until August when you will see small blacks return off 1770. They usually turn up at the spit around September.

Barramundi Fishing Monduran Dam

In May’s article I told you about the blokes from Bonshaw who were staying at the Hotel with us. They went barra fishing after their offshore charter was blown out. I only recounted half of their trip, so thought I should fill you in on the rest of their adventures.

On one of the last nights of their trip, we hit the dam around 10pm. The moon had just come up but it was still very dark. We headed up the dam past White Rock and I noticed a big school of bait top to bottom on the sounder, with large arches out the side, which were obviously barra feeding.

Almost immediately we hooked up onto a monster barra that flicked the hooks out within three jumps. As if I was game fishing on the shelf I turned the boat around and trolled straight over the school again. Another fish smashed the lure and within minutes we had a 93cm fish at the boat.

We tried this a few more times with no result so we headed over to the Cattle Yards where Alex nailed a small fish around 85cm. We headed back down the dam to go home and came along another bait school just like the first. We pulled two more fish off this school in a similar fashion to the first fish we caught.

Monduran can be one of the toughest barra dams – you really need to be patient. These blokes had spent many days on the dam without a result. Then suddenly they hit a purple patch and caught four fantastic fish in one night.

The hardest part in fishing the dam is that you might be catching fish in one spot, but when you come back two weeks later, there are cattle grazing on the same spot. The water seems to be going down very fast so we can only hope that this makes the barra easier to find.

If you’re keen to have a fish in our area, pop into the Gin Gin Hotel for advice or to tell us about your adventures.

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