The past month has seen more reliable fishing, particularly offshore, with an early run of snapper in the northern grounds off Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island.
Whiting are still dominating the scene on all beaches. Both the quality and quantity have been great. A couple of really nice gutters have formed at Double Island Point and near Middle Rocks, and these are full of these great eating tablefish. There’s currently not too much weed to contend with, which is great, although this can change from day to day. I have had good reports from fishermen getting into quality whiting on Teewah Beach as well.
Dart are also easy to locate, but they prefer deeper gutters and sharp drop-offs. I haven’t been a really a great fan of eating dart until recently when I tried some smoked. Very nice. I will definitely purchase a smoker in the near future.
Bait has been easy to collect on the beach, with plenty of worms and pipis around.
Bream and chopper tailor are getting caught near the yellow buoys at Inskip Point. The trick is to fish at night for the best results.
Flathead are in good numbers in Kauri Creek. Drifting over shallow banks with yabbies and flesh baits are working well. Flatties are also being caught on soft plastics at Carlo and Bullock points.
Mud crab numbers are improving a little but, between professional pots and extremely dry conditions, don't expect to clean up on them.
Mangrove jack are still biting well, particularly in Kauri Creek. This will most likely continue until water temperatures drop with the approaching cooler months.
I think we are in for a real treat on the snapper this year. Although we have had consistent catches of them all summer, we have seen the first run of big catches of snapper in the northern grounds out wide. Most of these fish are around 4-5kg, and the best time to chase them is in the afternoons leading up to the full moon.
Up north, snapper, scarlet perch, red emperor and parrot are being caught in the same hot spots.
We had another run of spotted mackerel with very good catches reported, although not as big as the catches in previous months.
The closer reefs are producing plenty of pearl perch, sweetlip, parrot and cod. Pearlies are making up the majority of the mix.
In the past month there has been a fair bit of swell on the Wide Bay Bar, with a report of a few amateur fishermen coming unstuck trying to cross it. A mate of mine was homeward bound from a day’s fishing and saw an upturned tinny in the white water. Three people were clinging to the side with not a single lifejacket on. The crew were very lucky to have finally been spotted, as five other boats had passed straight by them.
Which brings me to my next point: Wide Bay Bar has a bad reputation and has taken lives. If you haven’t crossed it before, don’t attempt it unless you’ve had some bar crossing lessons or have been across with experienced locals. Don’t just follow a boat attempting this crossing as the skipper may not know what they are doing either.
A number of people have called me and asked me how to cross it. I’m always happy to give advice, but I tell them that they still shouldn’t attempt it if they haven’t done much bar crossing before. It’s a skill that must be learned on the water, not just explained over the phone. There are just too many 'what if's in the equation.
If any QFM readers wish to call me about the Wide Bay Bar I’m happy to answer questions.
Ed Falconer’s charter business, Keely Rose Reef Fishing Charters, makes regular trips to the reefs off Rainbow Beach. If you’d like to go on a trip with Ed you can contact him on 0407 146 151.
1) A great mixed bag of red emperor, Maori cod, snapper and dolphinfish from a recent charter.
2) Ben from Brisbane caught this 14kg red emperor on a recent charter aboard the Keely Rose.Reads: 463