AS THE WATER warms and the lure fishing gets better it’s time to explore a few of our smaller local creeks and rivers.
Woodgate Beach’s main creek, Theodolite Creek, is home to all our favourite lure-munching species: mangrove jack, estuary cod, black bream, tarpon and even a few barramundi.
The creek mouth is very shallow and virtually walkable at low tide so a small tinnie is definitely the go. These flats are home to flathead, trevally and queenfish, all of which can be targeted with soft plastics. My go to rig for the trevally and queenies is a 3” Slider in the Baby Bass colour rigged on a heavy wire 1/4oz Nitro jighead worked erratically through the water. If you want to catch flathead just work them across the bottom. They work very well.
Once you push up past the sand flats you will come to a couple of creeks. The main one is House Creek, which has some great rock bars in it – great places to try for jacks.
Further up the main arm, the creek winds its way up into the scrub which has left plenty of big snags that the predators use for cover to ambush their prey. I like casting Prawnstars in and around these snags, because if there’s a jack in there they can’t resist a prawn imitation. A dropping tide fishes the best but it can make it difficult to get back to the ramp if you’re only out for a half-day. There’s a mud ramp in the top of the creek that I use but it’s suitable only for car-toppers and canoes. It’s very hard to find but well worth the expedition.
Still in the backcountry of this area, there are a few waterholes that run into the creek. These hold good populations of tarpon and also a few small barra. Surface luring in these holes is great fun as the fish are accustomed to eating insects, lizards and frogs. Unfortunately, due to the dry winter the waterholes are very low so they aren’t fishing that well, but if we get a few drops they’ll come good again.
As you move north through the bush from Woodgate you drive through Kinkuna National park. This has two creeks in it – One Mile in the south and Coonarr to the north.
One Mile is the smaller of the two and can be walked and fished if you have good shoes and a spirit of adventure. There are plenty of fish in this creek but they bite best on the last of the run-out tide and the first of the making. You will need a 4x4 to get there but if you’re adventurous enough it’s worth it.
Coonarr Creek can be navigated by boat at high tide but can be dry in places at low tide. At this time of year this creek really fires, with the jacks being mean and living mainly along the many rock ledges. These fish know how to find home so you should wear your brown jocks.
I sometimes fish this creek from the bank, which requires a bit of 4x4 driving – but that just adds to the adventure.
Pink Killalure Flatz Ratz and the Rebel Jointed Minnow have been proven standouts over the years on the jacks in this creek. There are plenty of bream there too, so pack a few smaller hard-bodied lures. The bream here get to a decent size and pull pretty hard on light gear.
The next system along the coast is the Elliott River; famous for its gin clear water. This river, which has a reputation for its feast or famine fishing, is a great October option as the fishing hots up as the water temp rises.
The Bundaberg Sportfishing Club regularly stocks barramundi into this system, which has made the Elliott a favoured barra spot for many anglers. The lower reaches are clean and clear and can be hard to fish, so use long light leaders and natural coloured lures.
The rock bar near the Riverview boat ramp is a trevally and queenie haunt, and fishing for them on light tackle is a lot of fun. The black bank out the mouth can produce anything, including 30lb barra, so it’s always worth a look.
As you move upstream the river becomes a typical mud-lined tidal creek with a few rock bars and big snags – great haunts for barra and jacks. Lures to try here are the Tilsan Barra, Flatz Ratz and Prawnstars. Vary your colours during the day as the tide and light change.
You can push a long way up the Elliott and there are jack and barra all the way up, including up past the road crossings. I have canoed a long way up this river and it has some awesome country.
The mighty Burnett has been fishing the best it has for years, with countless species being taken on lures. I don’t usually rate the Burnett as a great option for a lure fish but it has proven to be a ripsnorter of late.
The north wall is a great spot to try for just about anything. Look for the rubble on the drop-off and if you see fish on the sounder throw everything at them. Don’t be afraid to use large lures; small plastics are catching plenty but sometimes a big offering can produce a big taker. One very keen local angler trolls big lures along that wall and out the mouth a bit and has caught some fantastic big Spanish mackerel, and recently a monster blue-fin tuna (well done Stan). If you don’t try you’ll never know.
Next month I’ll cover a few more creek options. Until then, get out and have a go. This truly is the best time of the year.
1) After last year’s good rains and a little rain in August this year, the jacks in the Bundaberg area have started to fire earlier than usual.
2) There are plenty of tarpon in Theodolite Creek, along with mangrove jack, estuary cod, black bream and even a few barra.
3) The Elliott River is a favoured barra spot for many anglers.Reads: 9365