August is a pretty good month all-round with the weather and the fishing as a rule. The days are getting warmer, but the water temperature and the odd cool day is enough to keep many of the winter species on the bite.
Flathead quantities just keep rising as we near their spawning period. They have begun congregating already near the creek mouths and the entrances to the bays. Reports have been indicating anglers are releasing quite a few big female flathead along the deeper channel edges and rocky points. The smaller fish, mostly males, were coming right up into the very shallow bays feeding on the little greenback herrings. Plastics, hard bodies and Flashas are proving they work as well as bait or better sometimes.
Whiting have also continued to shine as plenty of fish up to 40cm have come in from Coorooman Creek and the beaches heading out from the mouth of the river. Lesser numbers and better quality make Corio Bay and Water Park the area to get a snodger or two. Large bream are still about in a few spots including the Rosslyn Bay Harbour, Fishing Creek, the Causeway, Coorooman Creek and the Fitzroy River.
Grunter are another favourite species for CQ residents. At present they are spread out over the area. Inside and outside grunter should be available depending on the conditions and the moon phase. Use the same rules as you do for black jew when chasing grunter: Either side of the moon is the best time for the offshore fish and not as important for the estuary grunter.
Blue salmon are around and Coorooman Creek is a great spot for salmon. The sandbanks and along the timbers is a great starting point. The Causeway, Ross Creek and Barwells Creek can all hold quantities of blues. A top spot is Rosslyn Bay Harbour where they congregate in the harbour entrance and along the inside walls. The deeper gutters near the mouth of Corio Bay and right down the beach past the main surf spot also hold salmon. We find they prefer a bit of run in the water and will hang just below breaking waves in the white water. Yabbies, yorkies, prawns and pillies are the baits of choice. Flashas and wobblers are next in line and can bring on a bite on a slow day.
Big black jew have been in force of late and it looks like they will be around for a while yet. Ironpot and Double Head fishers have reported regular fish during many of the cooler months, especially near the full and new moons. Corio Heads and The Pinnacles are arguably our best jew holes and easily hold a place among the best spots in the country. When the jew are on fire the tinnies come in droves and anchor with minimum room between them making the fight and chances of landing these big buggers very interesting. They circle the structures and test out your gear and knots for a couple of runs before coming to the boat nearly dead.
Many of the regular jewie fishers use handlines or big rods with heavy line and leader. The paternoster or snapper rig is the most used followed by a running sinker down to an 8/0. Both catch fish but the paternoster with the hooks up from the bottom is the pick. Squid, pillies, big live herring and flesh slabs of mullet, mackerel, mack tuna and ribbon fish have the baits covered. There have been a few ribbons in the jew holes during the day recently so you can pick up all the bait you need and come back after dark for the jewies.
Snapper are coming in better numbers every winter particularly in the closer spots like the Forty Acre Paddock and Conical Rocks. Considering where we are they are healthy sized fish as well. The average snapper is in the 6kg class and getting bigger. It is hard for us to imagine the 12-14kg snapper reported from other places or the numbers caught down south. If we get one or two snapper here it is a fair effort - if we get more then it is historic.
On saying that, a variety of fishers have at least seen or taken one of these fine fish. Our strategies are related to similar depths and features where big snapper are the norm in the southern regions. The quieter you are the more chance you have of scoring a top snapper. The average depth in Keppel Bay is only 6-8m at low where they hang around so it doesn’t take very much to spook them.
The size of the tides here plays a role with gear selection and locations that are easily fished. Try to fish with as little lead as you can and in the shallow waters of the bay right down near the bottom is the go. Because of the other species to be caught in the same spot it pays to have 15-20kg leader and 4/0-6/0 gangs or circle and suicide hooks with a stinger. Whole squid and pilchards rate as the best baits while fresh slabs of mack tuna, mullet and other oily fish work well. I have been trying plastics for a while now and I can’t get a snapper for love or money. Don’t despair, keep trying as the first might only be the next cast away.
Snapper respond well to berley and where they are thin in numbers they hang with the schools of nannies and red emperor. The spots with the best chance are Conical, Forty Acre, Liza Jane, The Barge, The Pinnacles, Outer, Man & Wife and any of the closer rubble patches or wrecks.
Dogs, spots and Spanish mackerel should start increasing in numbers over the next month or so. The macks have had the odd showing this year although the early floods and the wind at the time they arrive has kept the bay less than ideal for clean water pelagics. The smaller mackerels have not been in any large quantity so far since last year. The big schools bypassed the bay and hit the outer islands and shoals in the rotten weather. If we get the predicted ease in conditions and it returns to normal then more mackerel will come through instead of around.
The inaugural Tight Lines Fishing Classic is to be held over three days from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 August 2008. Judging by the amount of interest that has already been generated, it will probably become an annual event.
There is over $57,000 in prizes to be won so get your nomination form in as soon as possible. Early entries attract a discount (see nomination form for details). Hurry nomination positions may be limited. More news as it comes to hand. Take a look at the website www.tightlines.net.au or visit your local tackle shops for entry forms and details.Reads: 2689