August is a pretty good month for both insiders and outsiders. The creeks and estuaries usually have plenty to report and the islands aren’t far behind.
King salmon can be found in the Fitzroy River towards town, while the rest of the river has flathead, blue salmon and bream. Some small grunter have started to make another appearance in the stretch down from Pirates Point. When the wind is coming from a westerly direction, the Fitzroy is a quite good option.
Coorooman Creek is a reasonable choice for the Emu Park crew. Whiting, flathead, bream and salmon are all caught in various parts of the creek. One father and son who never have a lot of luck at Coorooman call it ‘Heartbreak Creek’ because of the fish they can’t find despite hours of effort.
It’s not impossible though. I suggest watching your sounder for structure and drop-offs; using live, fresh or quality frozen bait; talking to local bait and tackle shops and working the tides. Target one or two species that are feeding when you are there and fish the places they feed. Coorooman Creek can be hot and cold but as a rule it is quite a decent spot.
Corio Bay has all the general species: bream, whiting, flathead and salmon. The beaches heading north to Farnborough and Sandy Point have whiting, dart and flathead around the gutters and features like Bluff Rocks and Wreck Point often hold a swag of keepers. The other beaches such as Mulambin and Kinka could be a chance on the run-in tide for whiting. Yabbies and beachworms are the pick of the baits – you can pump your own yabbies or buy worms from any bait shop.
Steelbacks or flat salmon are in huge proportions in many of the local waterways and Coorooman leads the way. Last weekend we went down there to chase up a couple of lizards and everywhere we went our lures were savaged by steelies. Some blokes at the ramp told us that they are a reasonable table fish, so we opted to take enough for a feed. They do taste pretty good fresh and a big steelback provides just enough flesh for one meal.
Trolling lures at approximately 2-3m worked well and fluoro colours had the best results. Steelies readily grab just about any chromie presented in a similar style as for dart or salmon. Give these little fellas a shot – they go well on light line and their acrobatic skills can be very entertaining.
Big bream have been haunting the Corbett's to Kelly's areas of Waterpark Creek, Fishing Creek, Corio Bay, The Bluff Rocks, Ross Creek, Stevenson's Rocks, Wreck Point, Double Heads, all the points heading south to the River, The Causeway, Coorooman Creek, Pumpkin Creek and The Fitzroy River. These big bream put on a fight in the snag country and more than one bream lost to a snag has been called a mangrove jack. In Pumpkin Creek, there is also apparently no shortage of big lizards.
We get two or three different types of bream in our region, the most common being silver (yellowfin) and pikey bream. Of the two, pikey aren't as good as a table fish because the colour can be a little off-putting. I skin pikey bream but leave the skin on the silvers. Keep it simple when cooking bream: dust the fillets in flour, shallow fry till brown and add a splash of lemon. You can also bake or grill them whole for something different.
Bream respond very well to berley. When fishing the beaches and creek banks, go down at the bottom of the tide to the spot you want to fish later in the tide. Bury some old fish frames, bread soaked with tuna oil or the blood from your pilchard bags just under the surface of the mud and sand. When the tide starts to rise, the bream scavenging in the leading edge of the tide won’t be able to resist the smell and will hang around looking for a feed. If you have a well-presented bait you should reap the rewards of your prior preparation.
Bream like prawns, yabbies, small mullet, mullet gut, flesh baits, chook gut and worms. If nothing else is available, even the trimmings of fat off a piece of steak will do the job. All species of bream like structures that create eddies, mud banks, oyster beds and cruising the beaches with the tide. The headlands along the coast all have a resident bream population and generally they are the biggest in size, though there is nothing wrong with the fish in the creeks and rivers.
Doggies, spotties and Spanish mackerel will be in quantity at times throughout August. The mackerel spots out from Keppel Sands and out wider should continue to work well. Spotties are thick in the bottom end of the bay at the moment, and as the month wears on they will move up to the northern spots so that we can have a crack at them.
Spotted mackerel are a favourite fish for heaps of boaties around here because you don’t have to travel far to catch them and they have top quality flesh. Fresh spotty ranks with the best of them in the taste stakes, especially when you bleed them on capture and chuck them on ice straight away.
Some anglers mistake the splotches on a doggy mackerel for spots. Spotties have heaps of small black spots around 6mm in diameter. Five fish each is the limit and don’t risk keeping any more. Mack tuna and the bait schools of bonito and ribbonfish keep turning up so mackerel baits aren’t a problem at present.
The other highlight of the month is that grunter are back in quantity at some of the locations north of Yeppoon. They are a bit on the small side but the bigger fish should start arriving soon. Grunter are also picking up slowly in the Fitzroy, Coorooman Creek and Corio Bay, with some decent fish taking most fresh local baits including herrings, yorkies, prawns and even squid.
Grunter prefer sand and mud bank drop-offs or channels. Lots of good grunter hunters like to drift over their chosen location and work their baits down deep. At times, Cape Manifold, The Pinnacles and The Barge can produce grunter up to 4kg and better.
This time last year sweetlip and red fish dominated the wide scene, and we should expect more of the same this year. Coral trout will be moving into shallower water for breeding over the coming weeks. The best value locations lately have been the wider spots, with huge reds, rosy jobfish, coral trout and scarlet sea perch all on the chew. These big fellas are best fished on the slower tides, as it is too hard to get gear to the bottom on the bigger tides.Reads: 2156