Dirty Water Tricks at Bundy
  |  First Published: March 2006

Hopefully by March the daily temps will have started to drop making for more pleasant days on the water.

In the cooler water you will find more fish hunting in the shallows, so it’s a good idea to target bankside snags.

Early morning bites will increase in the shallows, so if you like visual fishing get some top water lures out and have a go. I have been experimenting with surface lures lately and have been having a ball. I’ve caught plenty of fish, including mangrove jack, on the Berkley 7cm Frenzy with gold being the best colour.

Dirty water lure fishing

Late season rain can turn our clean waterways murky. This doesn’t mean we have to forget lure fishing altogether, we just have to think a bit more. Estuary predators will still feed when the water clarity is down; they just rely on their senses more than their vision. This gives lure fisherman a good chance.

Lures that have a good inbuilt action attract more strikes when retrieved at slower speeds. Cheaper, imported copies of good lures struggle to maintain an action at any speed. They may well work for a little while but its better to invest in lures with good reputations. When the water is murky fish will move around a lot more, stationing themselves on drop-offs and on small snags. March is a good time to watch your sounder.

The Burnett River often becomes dirty around March. Trolling is a very effective way of covering ground and keeping the lure in the strike zone. Leave your lure in the water for longer so the fish are able to find it. Anglers who spend most of their time trolling tend to produce plenty of fish because they watch their sounder and choose lures that suit the terrain, depth and species they want to target.

When fishing the river mouth for mackerel, tailor, trevally and queenfish I head straight to the channel edges. If bait is hard on the bottom in 20ft of water use a deep diving lure like a Crazy Deep Halco Scorpion that will sink down to the fish. If baitfish have been herded to the surface, a shallower lure will be more successful. While you’re trolling and watching the sounder you should build a mental map of the bottom noting where the drop-offs are and where baitfish are hanging. This will be valuable for future trips as well.

Downsize to success

If you’re struggling to put fish in the boat, then downsize your lures. Cast or troll small bibbed minnows around 5cm. Lures like the Tilsan Bass, Mann’s Stretch 5+ and small Scorpions will all catch fish. The middle reach of the Burnett is a great place to fish these smaller lures.

I have caught some thumper bream across the sand flats near the ferry crossing casting little lures for flathead. Some big trevally have been around in the very shallow water. Further upriver the fishing will depend on how fresh the river is. Try to push up with an incoming tide as the fish will bite with an influx of seawater.

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