fishing Still Good Offshore
  |  First Published: July 2006

Bundaberg’s fishing usually shuts down this time of year as the water temperature cools so I have been pleasantly surprised by recent results.


We did a heavy tackle trip out to the shelf in early June running large Black Bart lures in 500m+ of water. This can often be the most boring type of fishing as it isn’t uncommon to drive around all day without even seeing a fish. Bundaberg is totally unexplored as far as gamefishing goes so it’s usually hard to put the pieces together and find the fish.

We started the day running a spread of large lures putting the final points on the hooks with a stone. We ran three purple and pink style lures and one lumo colour. Mooloolaba had been going off for the two weeks before and I could only see the fish moving north to Bundaberg. The boats at Mooloolaba had been getting 20 bites a day and I had been sitting in Bundaberg waiting for our chance to fish.

The fishing started with our first bite around 10.00am with a blue coming up and smashing the short rigger in a wall of white water. The fish went grey hounding across the surface pulling of about 400m of line before going deep. Our angler put in a big effort to get the fish to the boat still green and the 200kg blue was released unharmed from its ordeal.

We trolled for just under another hour when the same lure was smashed. This fish made such a big commotion as it hit the lure that it was like time stood still. I didn’t know if the fish had hooked up as it had travelled at right angles to the lure spread and stopped in its tracks. All I could see was white water where I presumed the fish was either eating the lure or trying to shake it free. My heart stopped for a moment before the fish took off and jumped. This was a big fish and all I could see was the white water above and below the fish as it jumped in the air shaking its body around in a big bending motion. The fish started stripping line off the 130lb reels and I jumped out of the fly bridge to help clear the gear as we only had one angler and one deckie. Once the gear had been cleared the angler was seated in the chair and noticed that there was only about 200m of line left on the spool so I charged up the fly bridge stairs and pushed the boat in to reverse to try and regain some line. We charged all over the sea in reverse as the fish decided to go deep – typical blue marlin behaviour.

I started to do the sums in my head and having only the previous fish to compare with I guessed this fish was about 300kg+. Over an hour and a half into the fight the fish was lost 10m from the back of the boat just as I saw the Dacron from the leader come into view. The tired angler meant the line went slack and the hook fell out.

We decide to head in and do some light tackle fishing as the angler was out of steam and wasn’t prepared to fight another big fish. As we headed in we hit the 200m contour and as I moved up onto a heavy tackle Spot X on the plotter I was telling one of the blokes that we had hooked a black marlin around 150kg last year here when a black charged at the long rigger. We all watched in astonishment as the marlin zig-zagged in and smashed the lure and we were on again. It was great!

The fish was easy compared to the fish we had been hooking earlier in the morning and in no time we had a 120kg black marlin to the boat in around 15 minutes.

It was such an exhilarating morning. As we put the heavy tackle gear away and started putting the light tackle lures in the water I could see the bill of a baby black marlin that hooked up and let go. On the other side of the boat we had a small black around 6kg that quickly jumped off. We went on to have a total of eight hook-ups in the next hour with small blacks and only three tagged. We ended the day with a few dolphinfish and headed home. I couldn’t wait to return the next day; after such a great day I expected big things.

The next day we had our first bite around 11.00am from a 150kg blue marlin. The blue was fun but nothing else happened for the rest of the day even when we switched to the light tackle late in the afternoon. Just goes to show how different two days can be.

David and Brendan Postan had a good day recently fishing the western side of Fraser Island showing this is one of the great light tackle spots offering small marlin and sailfish in relatively smooth water that is great for small boats. Rooney’s Point is the place to catch these dynamos and you only need to troll in shallow water right up against the beach.

David and Brendan had triple hook-ups on their trip and these fish are often lost due to hard mouths and blunt hooks. This is why we use Gamakatsu 12GLS flyfishing hooks that are chemically sharpened and ultra thin with for minimum resistance to penetration. These hooks are very soft so you can’t lift fish on them but with light tackle most drags aren’t set over 2kg. With all this taken into account you can lose plenty of fish on these hooks as I have proved time after time. I had one day where we lost 12 light tackle fish. Disastrous! But the next day we made up for it and tagged six from six.

You can never underestimate these fish. These hooks are available in 8/0 and 10/0 sizes and are great for baits such as gar and mullet as well as lures. David and Brendan were rapt to have a couple of marlin under their belts in preparation for this year’s tournament.

For heavy tackle, especially blues, there is a new Katana light gauge, chemically sharpened hook made along the same lines as the 12GLS. Charter operators in Mooloolaba have found them very successful for hooking fish.

Reef fishing

Every one I talk to at the moment is talking about how well the gutters are fishing with big trout and reds caught everywhere. The snapper are still present and are helping to fill the bag with fish as big as 10kg being caught regularly.

Mackerel are all along the coast and should provide some fun for the month ahead. Tuna, mackerel and queenfish are in all the river mouths and can be fun on the days when it’s too windy to fish outside.

River and estuary

With waters cooling down, lurefishing will slow down but there does seem to be a good bream bite happening with some big flathead being caught as well. Tailor will be inside the river and along the foreshore and are great fun on light spin gear. Barramundi and jacks are really slow now but the determined lure fisher can still catch them around creeks like the Baffle, Deepwater and Littabella. I really enjoy hitting these creeks on windy days as the fishing is usually great and especially during the week when there aren’t too many boats around.

Don’t forget the MASA competition in October. This is not to be missed family friendly event and if you go to only one comp this year make sure it’s this one.

If you need some info on what’s biting call me at Bundaberg Fishing Charters on 0427 590 995 as I have my finger right on the pulse with reports coming in everyday from Gin Gin and offshore.

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