TRADITIONALLY February is hot, windy and generally uncomfortable, but when the conditions are right the area can produce some sensational fishing. It is in these harsh conditions that timing your fishing trips to coincide with the better tides will see you waste less time and produce more fish.
If the area continues to get the wet weather it has in January, fishing the incoming tides with the saltwater pushing into the systems will be your best bet. The action slows when the tide drops and the cooler, dirty water pushes into the estuary.
The shallows are great places to look as the warmer water holds predators that are using the dirty water edge for cover and ambushing their prey. Gold Bombers, surface poppers and buoyant, shallow running lures are the best choice in this situation. All these lures should be worked slowly and erratically to imitate a wounded or disoriented baitfish. The predators such as jacks, bream and flathead do not miss this opportunity.
Rivers like the Elliot, Theodolite and the mouth of the Baffle are good places to practice this technique. Each system has large sandflats near the mouth that are dotted with fish-holding structure. The fish use this structure as a home base, go out and patrol the flats for food and then return to the structure to rest and wait. You can see the fish do this if you quietly poke around the shallows.
Over the past few years I’ve found that the water temperatures in the smaller creeks rise to the point where the fishing is very slow during the day but improves in the evenings and at night. Fishing the deeper holes in the larger rivers usually produces fish that are sitting in the cooler water. Deep jigging Prawnstars and big plastics on located fish is a very good technique for producing big fish.
Bundaberg has seen a rise in fingermark captures for the second year running. It seems that anglers are improving their techniques, which is showcasing what our area has to offer. These fish have been here for years and it’s the growing popularity of lure fishing that has seen these fish showing up more regularly in angler’s bags.
If the weather and wind are favourable, a quick trip offshore should be on the agenda. With the large sea sprat now in the area, pelagics such Spanish mackerel, big queenfish, trevally and the ever-present mack tuna will be moving very close to the coast. Locating feeding schools and casting lures such as lead slugs and small poppers will attract all of these fish, but the bigger Spaniards can be specifically targeted. Get a couple of wolf herring off the Burnett’s north wall, rig them on ganged 12/0s and troll them slowly once you reach the mackerel grounds. Matt Coster from Salty’s Tackle store has been having a bit of success this way. Make sure you’re aware of the new mackerel regulations though and don’t exceed the bag limits.
Monduran Dam has been a bit patchy with some guys nailing four and five fish a day and others not seeing a barra. If you plan to fish the dam, fish the shallow bays. The anglers getting out of their boats and walking the bank do produce fish because they are putting more casts into the one snag. This constant casting, with the noise from the lure, eventually gets the barra curious. Many believe that the more casts you put in, the greater your success will be and this is certainly true in Monduran at the moment. A word of warning though – there are a few snakes about, so if you do choose to fish from the bank just keep a wary eye open.
One local tip when looking for barra in Monduran is to locate flocks of birds. These birds are feeding on bony bream and the barra in Monduran love to eat bony bream. If you combine a flock of birds with a shallow bay and plenty of casts, you may well go away with the catch of a lifetime.
The local bass hole is fishing well at the moment and a recent trip by Kim Bain saw some good fish fall to plastics and lipless crankbaits. Most of the fish were in 5-8 feet of water and were most active during the middle of the day. There’s also some suspended schools of small fish in the middle of the lake, but these fish seem to be feeding on smaller bait and a drop in plastic size is necessary to take these fish. Overall though, the Isis is worth a fish at the moment.
1) The occasional trevally is making an appearance. This one had been hooked before, as is evidenced by the ganged hooks. This didn’t stop it from chasing down this Lead’s Lure.Reads: 433