Winter is here, and you may notice the fishing around Bundaberg slow down slightly due to colder water temperatures.
Game fishing in Bundaberg starts in September or October, so if you want to get into the serious stuff earlier in the season, head to 1770. It’s one and a half hours’ drive north of Bundaberg or 50 nautical miles by sea. This time last year you could catch small blacks off 1770 in June, July and August.
The reef is only nine miles east from the mouth of Round Hill Creek and seems to hold plenty of yellowfin tuna as well. If it isn’t working for you try some bottom fishing. You might be pleasantly surprised by a great reef fish or even a pan-sized snapper.
The best technique is to use livebaits that are readily available in schools just outside the mouth. I recommend trolling your livebaits in the riggers with rubber bands and minimal drag on your reels. I usually use a bait needle with an open eye and a light tackle rubber band.
First, place the rubber band in the eye of the needle and pass the needle through forward of the eye of the bait fish, pulling the fish from both sides of the head by the rubber band. Next place the loops of the band around the gape of the hook, twisting the hook around until it is almost tight against the head of the fish. Then, place the hook point back between the top of the head and the rubber band, leaving the hook point facing forward. The hook should be sitting on top of the head facing forward and the line should pull the hook, which is connected to the fish by the rubber band.
The best trolling speed is usually 1 to 3 knots and if you don’t get a bite using this technique the fish aren’t there. You can also use skirted lures such as Pakulas but I find that Tropic Anglers are just as good and a little cheaper, especially if the mackerel are about. I have been using Tropic Angler lures for three years now and I can’t fault them. We have caught all types of fish on them from blue and black marlin to sailfish. They also account for lots of dolphinfish, wahoo, mackerel, all types of tuna, cobia and yellowtail kingfish.
If you don’t do any good on the reef just head north for 12 nautical miles and you will come across Outer Rock off Bustard Head. Try trolling on your way out there as you will encounter bait and fish schools all the way along and once you’re at Outer Rock the world is your oyster.
One other technique I like to use is swimming and skipping gar. You can mix them in with your lures on good days, but I prefer to troll them at around 4 knots.
Other successful techniques are fly fishing, lure tossing and jigging. Chrome lures such as small Raiders work well but rarely stick to the fish due to their small hooks and minimal weight – the fish usually flick them off with a shake of the head.
This is a great place for small boats to venture into light tackle game fishing and with the winter westerly offshore patterns you will usually be very safe in these waters.
One word of warning – the bar at the mouth of the creek can be unpredictable and dangerous so please refer to local knowledge and log on with Volunteer Marine Rescue to let them know of your plan.
You could write a book on fishing the area from Round Hill to Bustard Head. It is one of the great fishing destinations along our coastline and it’s only 30 nautical miles away from Lady Musgrave Island.
You could write your second book on fishing the creeks of this area – Pancake, Middle and Baffle – which also provide some of the best fishing along the Queensland coast.
When I head north towards 1770 I usually drop into the wreck of the Karma. This is a very large wreck that holds plenty of pelagic, coral and rocky reef species. The first fish I caught at the Karma was a small black marlin and since then I have caught some massive cobia, Spaniards and plenty of trevally on jigs. In a small boat you can access the Karma from the mouth of Baffle Creek.
If you would like to try one of our charters from 1770, we will be doing light tackle game fishing charters from $220 per head. This is a chance to fish on a real game boat and experience the tackle and techniques used to catch these fish.
Bundaberg reef fishing is still going well. The weather this year has been great, with one calm period lasting over two weeks.
We have had some of our best catches this year and the big cobia will be on the reefs in the months ahead, so get out there and have a go at trying to catch one of these monsters.
This month Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue is holding their annual fishing tournament. This is a great event for the whole family and a very good cause as well.
Last month I was talking doom and gloom for this dam, but thankfully, it seems like I was wrong. The guides have been catching as many as four barra a day, which is good in anyone’s book at this time of year.
The other great news is that the bass are going off. A Bassin Qld event was held on Lake Monduran on May 26 and 27, and my mad deckie Paul McKay fished with Stuart Adcock at the tournament.
This tournament demonstrated what a great bass fishery the lake is, with many anglers commenting that it is one of the best dams they have fished for bass.
Seventy-two anglers fished out of 32 boats and weighed in 126 fish. Because of the two-bass limit, most anglers upgraded many times, so in reality hundreds of fish were caught. All fish were weighed in live and released, and most were around 40-50cm with an average weight of 1.4kg. The heaviest bass weighed in at 1.95kg.
As expected there were many barra around and a number of anglers were busted off on the lighter tackle. Paul McKay won the prize for heaviest barra with a 92cm fish caught on a 3kg outfit. This fish also secured his entry to the upcoming Bassin Qld Barra Tournament at Lake Awoonga.
Most fish were taken on lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished through submerged timber in main channels in 8-10ft of water. Lures ranged from Jackals and Tropic Angler lures to all kinds of spinnerbaits, and the most popular colours were black and gold.
The bass seemed to like lures that made plenty of noise and refused to take soft plastics and silent lures, which are used so well in other dams. Bass were taken casting and trolling.
Thank you to Stuart Adcock, MASSA Gin Gin member and Bassin Qld team member, for the tournament report and photos.
It looks like we are in for a great winter in our area. If you’re feeling the winter blues, get away from it all and come up to Bundy. We are only three and a half hours from Brisbane and have some of the best fishing in Queensland.
If you would like some advice on what’s happening in the area or would like to use our guiding service for game fish, reefies, bass or barra, call me on 0427 590 995. Don’t forget you can also stay with us at the Gin Gin Hotel.Reads: 1997