Well the cooler nights have finally arrived and thank goodness they are here.
The fishing has already started to change with snapper being caught on the inshore reefs and plenty of bigger bream eating plastics in the rivers. I have been fishing the Burnett River quite a bit recently and have had lots of fun fishing soft plastics in the middle of the river in the deep water. I have caught everything form sharks to mackerel when fishing heavy jigheads down onto schools of fish that I locate on my sounder. The schools of fish can be sharks, grunter, mackerel, queenfish and even some very large trevally.
I have had most of my success on a white 4” Berkley Gulp Minnow that I rig on a heavy wire Nitro jighead. Once you find the school on the sounder, drop the plastic to the bottom and jig it up and down with short, sharp lifts of the rod. If you don’t get a touch when you have drifted over the school, rip the jig up quickly as trevally and queenfish love a fast moving lure that comes up from the bottom.
Most of my success has been in the early morning before the wind picks up but as winter starts to set in and as the southerlies turn into cold southwesterlies the river mouth should be a lot easier to fish.
For those who recall when ABT held their last BREAM tournament in the Burnett the anglers fishing soft plastics caught plenty of fingermark, jewfish, big flathead and trevally. These guys were using pretty small plastics mostly in the 3” range because they were targeting bream. Now there are plenty of good 4” and 5” soft plastics on the market it’s time to actually target these fish. One of the advantages to deep jigging is that it doesn’t matter if there is a lot of boat traffic on the water, fish will still bite if the plastic is put right in front of them – so watch your fish finder carefully and only drop your lures down when you know that you’re in the right place.
Lake Gregory’s bass are starting to fatten up and are looking better than they did a couple of months ago. The fish are still taking spinnerbaits around the weed edges and slowly worked plastics out in the middle.
I did a trip to Lake Awoonga recently and hired a local camper trailer to take the family for a few days holiday at the caravan park. I have been four wheel driving and camping all over this great country since I was 8 years old but this was the first true van park I have ever stopped in. It was great to have toilets and power and a shop for the kids but I missed the peace and quiet of a secluded camp. There were also a few more enjoyable aspects of the close quarters camping such as the social drinks and educational chats with other travellers.
The barra were certainly not too fussy over the long weekend with a lot of fish being cleaned daily. This was at first a little bit of a shock seeing so many big fish being taken for a feed and I had to remind myself this is a put and take fishery and the release of these fish into the dam is so we can catch them. I did see some purpose built eskies and freezers and some workman-like anglers going about the fishing like it was their job to catch their fill, which was disappointing. Most of the people I met thought themselves lucky to get one for a feed where these guys, who obviously do this trip regularly, weren’t there for the love of fishing they were there to take as much as they could legally fit into their huge icebox. This did remind me a lot of the so-called recreational anglers who drive up to the Gulf each year just to fill freezers. I just hope this fishery isn’t heading that way.
On a brighter note I did manage to get out for a couple of hours with Kerry Ehrlich (thanks mate) and on about the fifth cast of the morning Kerry nailed a beautiful metre long fish that played up and did some great jumps before being caught and released. I managed to land a smaller fish and then Kerry landed another two before it was time to leave. All in all I would recommend the place for mad keen anglers who want to land that magic 1m barra. Just take plenty of Halco Scorpions and have fun.
Don’t forget this year’s Volunteer Marine Rescue Family Fishing Classic is going to be held on June 23-25 at Burnett Heads. This event has been growing every year and now with the help of VMR it is looking to get even bigger. With an emphasis on juniors and on-water safety this will be a great family event. For more information you can contact Bill Wagstaff during office hours on (07) 4159 3312.Reads: 857