AFTER 15 years of living in Bundaberg I’m still amazed at the new fisheries and techniques that are introduced to me. I’ve done a great deal of exploration finding hidden waterholes, creeks, dams and even reef patches out the front. The problem is, when I do get a free weekend to fish (when I’m not travelling hundreds of kilometres to fish tournaments) I have trouble deciding where to go. If the weather is fine it makes the decision even harder, as there are so many inshore patches of reef and gutters that my Polycraft can get to.
An hour or so drive south is Woodgate Beach where you can launch at either Walkers Point or off the wooded ramp on the beach. Just a couple of miles offshore lies the Woodgate Artificial Reef. It was marked with beacons for many years but it’s now up to you to find it. Usually this isn’t hard during the school mackerel season because you’ll see the early bird anglers trolling spoons or floating pillies around the spot.
Just a little farther north is Coona Beach, and there are some very good reef patches only a couple of hundred metres from the shore here. These hold mackerel, trevally and the usual bottom species such as sweetlip, parrot and even coral trout, but my favourite targets here are the big golden trevally.
There are also two creeks you can fish – Theodolite and Coona. Both hold bream, whiting and flathead, and in the upper reaches they have a healthy population of lure-hungry mangrove jacks.
Just a little farther offshore off Coona is the Four-Mile Reef, lying in around 40ft of water. This reef is home to the standard bottom dwellers, and at this time of the year it’s a great place to target snapper and longtail tuna. The reef seems to catch a current that brings a lot of baitfish to it, attracting the predators.
Closer in along the beaches, Coona Beach – which can be accessed only with a 4WD – produces some great dart fishing. In winter it also gets a good run of tailor but you’ll find the wilder the weather the better the tailor fishing.
Out front of the Elliott River is the Cochrane Artificial. I have written about this spot before so I won’t go over too much old ground.
Just a bit farther out you’ll find scattered patches of reef. These usually remain guarded secrets amongst mates but there is a GPS coordinates book out now which includes a few spots in this area (the books are available at tackle stores).
Just in the mouth of the Elliott is Dr Mays Island which is a great spot to fish and relax. The clean, clear water around the island is home to a carpet of flathead, all waiting to get a feed as the river empties. Queenfish and trevally are my favourite targets here, and they respond well to poppers, high-speed jigs and flies. You can also expect a few tuna to come in close here.
Inside the river the fishing can be patchy. If you’re there when it is on the fishing can be mind blowing, but unfortunately these great days only happen when I’m at work. There is a rocky hole near the Riverview boat ramp which can be accessed on foot and which regularly produces small queenies and trevally, usually on jigs worked off the bottom at high speed.
As you head north toward Bundy from here the coast takes on a totally new look, with a volcanic rock coastline breaking every now and then into clear, white sandy beaches. It’s magnificent sight when you’re cruising along the coast in calm seas. The fishing is a bit patchy though. You need to find the schools of bait if you want to target pelagics, and if you want to target the bottom dwellers you need to find some isolated bommies.
We have now reached the heads, and this can be accessed at the boat ramp in Burnett Heads. The first thing I do when heading out here is look for birds, as this area gets a lot of tuna travelling through it. If you want some fun on line-burners you can chase the tuna with high-speed spinning using metal slugs. If the fish are hard to get near, big soft plastics on jigheads have been working well for me. Just cast in front of the feeding school and let your plastic sink deep, then slowly wind back with some stops and starts. This usually gets the hit. Plastics with lots of tail action work well with this technique – just be sure to use good quality jigheads that can handle the pressure.
Just to north of the mouth is a small patch of reef known as Ryan’s. This is a good spot when the whiting are running, and it’s also a regular spot for mackerel fisherman.
This is just a taste of the options available in Bundy. Next month I’ll cover some creeks.Reads: 2859