With January’s storms and constant hot days, the smaller creeks are either too hot or too fresh and dirty so it’s a good time to head to the bigger systems like the Baffle, Burnett and even down to the Burrum River.
For the lurefisher it’s a good time to get up early and fish shallow water snags before doing a bit of trolling in the deeper holes. Once the sun starts to bite after 11am, it’s time to get off the water.
The Burnett keeps on producing the goods and an early morning troll around the north wall and the dumping ground should see you land a few mackerel. For the super keen, casting some big Halco Rooster Poppers at the wreck on the north wall as the sun rises should see some good queenfish and trevally action. These fish will move into the deeper water in the main channel and can usually be located with a good sounder. Dropping some big plastics in amongst these fish is a great way of getting more action as the day heats up. Further up river the holes near the ferry crossing fish very well at daybreaks, trolling deep diving minnows or jigging Prawnstars on the rocky bombies is a great way to get fish on the move here.
The upper reaches of the Baffle will probably be very fresh or very hot so it’s a good time to hit the middle reaches of the system. The ferry crossing area can be very productive. An early start casting lures around the islands down from the ferry crossing should see some nice jacks, cod and plenty of flathead on the move. My favourite plastic for this area is a Berkley 4” minnow grub in either clear or purple. Work them across the shallow sand and down into the deeper drop-offs. This usually attracts a few flathead and trevally. Down river the old boiling down rock ledge will certainly be worth a crack for some jacks and cod especially if there is some baitfish hanging around the point.
The Burrum is usually pretty crowded over the holidays but most anglers, especially if they are visitors, only cruise around on the top of the tide. I’ve found that fishing on the last of the run out tide and the first of the run in provides the best fishing. Go out at daybreak to avoid the crowds and fish the better spots like the Black Bank and the mouth of the Gregory before the boat noise and traffic.
I was fortunate enough to have a week away and fish Lake Proserpine in the ABT BARRA tour. It was a great learning experience trying to put a plan together where you have to cast and retrieve for 7 hours in a dam. Then once you had hooked a fish you only had half a chance to land it.
My fishing partner Brad (Chainsaw) Cooper and I caught some great barra on Halco Scorpions trolling points and bays prior to the tournament. We used our trolling path on the GPS to pinpoint where fish were holding. This was my first trip with my Matrix 87 colour sounder in the freshwater and it took a little while to figure out what the barra looked like in the open water on the sounder. The barra showed up on the sounder as suspended stripes stacked on top of each other when they weren’t moving. When they were on the move they looked like larger bass.
I did manage to get one barra by fishing under the electric motor where the fish were moving in and out of the sounder beam. I rigged a 5’’ Berkley Jerk Shad plastic and jigged it in front of one fish for about ten minutes before the barra just couldn’t resist it. That barra went 105cm and was taken on 14lb Fireline on my spin rod. And yes, it did give me some curry; fortunately my fishing partner was a good net man. I finally managed to take some money from ABT and the whole experience was a great one. I will certainly be booking in to do the whole tour next year.Reads: 764