Finally we’re seeing a return to warmer water temperatures, which has stimulated the fish to feed more actively. Over the past month it’s been tough trying to induce a bite, especially when fishing for barra, with many casts producing limited returns for the day. Sailfish have been plentiful, often coming up into the spread, but they’ve been very fussy with lures and pitch baits. Reef fishing has been great though, with lots of good weather providing plenty of opportunities to fish.
Stephen Cheng from Bass Marine has had some great early season luck catching small black marlin at 1770. Large schools of bait are outside the bar from 3-12 nautical miles out, and with persistent trolling you can pull one of the small blacks that are harassing the bait.
Rule number one is to ‘always stick with the bait’; never think the grass is greener on the other side. Stephen Cheng stuck with the bait and managed to nail the first black of the season. This was typical of the results he gets with his new range of lures, now available on the Australian market. We first received our lures from Stephen last year and have won a tournament with them and have had more consistent strikes all year than we usually get. It may be just a good year for billfish, but I like to stick with what works so I’m not likely to change anytime soon. Stephen is partial to a black and orange skirt, but I’m more traditional and prefer to stick with purples and lumos. Stephen caught his first black of the season with the black and orange skirt though, so I feel I have to try it now. I’ll let you know how I go.
Just recently we spent a day with Rob Paxevanos from WIN TV’s Fishing Australia. Rob is great fun to fish with but when he and I get together things always seem to go wrong. Two years ago when he was up in Bundaberg we were trolling in the river with deep diving lures and with his constant rambling I didn’t realise we were so close to the bank. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that everybody on the beach was hooked up into a fish. We had caught everybody’s line on the beach as we trolled past, and nearly wet ourselves with laughter (as soon as everybody stopped throwing rocks).
This year’s trip with Rob also started with a mishap. Our first fish – a massive wahoo – hit the gaff 20 minutes after we started to troll, only to dislodge itself from the gaff and the hooks as its head popped over the transom of the Watch-Tower. Things didn’t get much better when we dropped three Spanish mackerel and one big GT. We had no choice, we had to get Rob off the rod to break the hoodoo. Sure enough, the next fish made its way to the boat without Rob on the rod and without any problems.
A squall came through about lunchtime, and with the wind picking up the sky grew dark and the sea got lumpy. It was one o’clock before the squall passed, leaving a flat cobalt blue sea.
As we headed to the north we noticed a small black in the spread. Rob was running around trying to feed the marlin a switchbait but Dave Woollard managed to spoon feed the fish and had him hooked up – only to pass the rod to Rob and have the fish spit the hooks. The hoodoo was still there. We went on to hook up another six sailfish that day, and lost every single one. Things changed by the end of the day though, with Rob landing a good size dolphinfish.
All up, the show turned out great. Even though we didn’t tag too many fish we had a great day’s fishing and our bad luck didn’t deter us one bit. I’m looking forward to fishing with Rob again, and word is he might make it back to fish our Game Fishing Tournament in November.
Monduran Dam looks like it’s in for a hot year with an early run of small barra. I have been fishing with Andrew Yeh and we managed to pull a couple from the snags.
Local charter operator Paul McKay has been going great guns on the barra, nailing plenty of healthy fish. Paul’s favourite place to fish is in the shallows, around 6ft deep, right up in the trees.
Paul has been doing well on the bass also. He and his partner Dave Hislop managed to come third in the IBT comp held at the dam, leaving the other locals for dead. Dave Hislop also managed to catch the largest bass of the tournament at 47cm.
The Hervey Bay Game Tournament will be held on in November 18-20 and is one not to be missed. If you’re interested in competing in this tournament you can still ring me to find out some of the details.
Robert Wood’s charter business, Bundaberg Fishing Charters, provides a range of options, from reef and gamefishing tofishing the estuaries and impoundments. For information on booking a charter or hiring a boat, or just for the latest on what’s biting around Bundaberg, phone 0427 590 995 or (07) 4159 0995, or email Rob at --e-mail address hidden--
1) The first black of the season, taken on a Tropic Angler lure in black/orange.
2) Andrew Yeh with a Monduran barramundi.Reads: 809