What a shock to the system, this winter has been the coldest for forty years in Bundaberg. With constant strong westerlies, you would think we relocated further south.
The advantage with these southern winter conditions is that the more temperate species are really pushing into our area, making the fishing very exciting.
The cooler weather has moved the snapper in-close. In fact, there have been reports of big schools of squire poking around the Burnett river mouth. Bait fisherman have been getting the better fish on fresh pike and the trawler wreck on the north wall of the river is a consistent source.
An easy way of getting some pike in the boat is to use a larger bait jig and sweeten the hooks with small bits of pilchard. This will get them in a feeding frenzy and they will come thick and fast. The guys using soft plastics are smacking them with Berkley Gulp 5” Jerk Shads in the nuclear chicken colour. Rig them like normal baits (pilchards) on running sinker rigs and they work fine wafting around the bottom like a dead bait.
There have also been plenty of mackerel around and they are partial to a nice pike these guys love them alive,
Rigged under a balloon or rigged and drop to the depths can produce deadly results.
Another good winter target is the humble flathead. A simple but effective way of catching a few is to drift with baits or plastics. Plastics are recommended, as they don’t get picked apart by small fish. This leaves them looking good for your quarry.
Drifting works well because you will usually be moving with the tide. Flathead spend most of the time facing into the oncoming current waiting for food to be washed past their hide out. Rivers like the Burnett, Kolan and the Baffle are great places to drift as they all have long straight runs across sand and mud flats.
To set yourself up for flathead drifting, all you need is a light spin rod (an eggbeater with a soft tip) with some 10lb Berkley Fireline tie on some 20lb leader. The leader can be a fluorocarbon or some heavier line that has an abrasion resistance. You will need a few different size jig heads, some light ones for the shallow water and some heavier ones for fishing faster deeper water. Start with a small selection of plastics, proven ones to start with are Berkley 4” Saltwater Minnow and Gulp Minnow grub in the pumpkinseed and electric chicken colours. These plastics have great tail actions that jig up and down on the drift. This really attracts the fish and these colours have been quite successful.
Once set-up, take your plastics down the river and find a nice long stretch of water. Select an undulating bottom that ranges from 1-12’, drop the plastics on the bottom then just drift and jig them up and down making sure they spend plenty of time on the bottom.
I just love going to the boat show, as I get to meet plenty of you readers and really enjoy your feedback. This year I will again be there doing workshops and presentations. If you have any questions about the Bundaberg area or fishing in general I will only be too happy to answer them as best I can. My presentations will be on improving your estuary lure fishing and impoundment barramundi fishing.
For those readers that follow the tournament fishing scene, you may know I won the Southern Barra Tour Angler Of The Year last year. This has qualified me to fish in this year’s AFC as a barra-pro and I am really looking forward to it. I will be heading straight from the show to start shooting the series, so I hope to see at the show and go team Berkley.Reads: 1350