Hot fishing continues
  |  First Published: March 2005

The estuary fishing seems to just get and better and better in Bundaberg – it’s amazing what a good, steady wet season can do.

The Burnett River has been firing with mackerel, trevally and a horde of other pelagics hitting the baitfish at the river mouth. Trolling small lures around the bait schools is a very effective way to get in on the action. On a recent family trip we landed a few 80cm school mackerel, a few nice big flathead and some good estuary cod in a morning session. I also lost a couple of nice expensive Japanese lures to a couple of unstoppable beasts (I need the QFM editor to come back for a visit so I can raid his tackle box again).

I sounded around and found a lot of fish hanging on the drop-offs along the north wall, sitting under clouds of baitfish. We sank a few 4” Berkley Bass Minnows and it didn’t take long for the fish to find them.

There have been some excellent fish coming from up the river as well – big salmon, jacks and some good fingermark have been active.

Baffle Creek has also been consistent, with plenty of fish eating lures. There have been jacks, cod, trevally and a few barramundi in the lower reaches, with the upper reaches being dominated by jacks. March on the Baffle should see more of the same so long as the water doesn’t get too hot. By the end of March we should see the temperature start to drop slightly.

When is ‘hot’ too hot?

Hot water can have the same effect on fish as cold water does, causing them to become lethargic. They will only hunt when conditions are just right.

Sometimes in shallow, slow-moving waterways the high water temperature depletes the oxygen levels, and when this happens it’s time to move to a deeper system. If I’m fishing some of the smaller creeks with shallow edges and the water temp exceeds 32, I usually head for deeper water. An alternative is to fish the shallows on the run-in tide, as the incoming tidal water is also cooler and holds a few more baitfish.

Another technique on hot water is to fish at night. Popper fishing on a hot, moonlight night is a blast and you’ll be surprised at the fish that will rise to a popper under the cover of darkness. River View on the Elliott River is a great night-time popper-fishing destination. Get an incoming time on dusk and have a blast.

Next month I plan to feature the many boat- and fishing-related services available in Bundaberg, as there are a few new ones and some of the older ones have changed hands. If you are running this kind of business in the Bundaberg area, drop me an email [see the address at the top of the article] so I can include your service.


1) There have been plenty of jacks coming from the Burnett River and Baffle Creek.

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