Put some Grunt into it!
  |  First Published: July 2009

I love fishing any time of the year but I am not a great lover of fishing in August as everything seems to close down a little. Fish are difficult to find and you have to work harder to entice them. But for those that do manage a fish or two the rewards are worth it.

The mouths of most rivers and the wider reefs are the best spots to fish in August. The inner reefs and shoals are almost ready to fire up and become productive when a warm day follows an extended cold snap. This weather pattern is very common at this time of year and strangely enough the odd warm winter day always seems to produce the goods.

In the Estuaries

The waters of The Narrows are good for spontaneous activity this time of the year. Areas where there is a significant variation of depth such as Black Swan Island are worth investigating as they hold good grunter around the deeper mangrove edges and solid bream around heavy structure.

Baits with a bit of sporadic flicking seem to get the most attention but slow moving baits will also attract some fish. Perhaps, like me at this time of the year, fish are a bit on the lazy side and will only respond to aggressive action, which triggers more of an instinctive response rather than any desire to feed. Whatever the reason, it seems you need to be active on the rod to get any fruits for your labour.

My money is on the area around Ramsays Crossing being the hot spot this month. The old cattle crossing has plenty of structure to keep bream interested and if you work the bait with the current to keep it moving, you might pick up a heavy strike. Use a long trace here because working the tip causes more action at the pointy end than when the bait sits on a sinker. You will be able to feel the bottom as you move the sinker around but it is a good idea to let the current move the bait just off the floor to attract interest. There is already a lot of movement on the river floor with weed and flotsam in this area so you get better results if you separate the bait from all the other action.

Grunter should be cruising the area in good numbers, and there is also the possibility of a good salmon. They should be due to start their run up The Narrows any time now.

My father-in-law, John, and I recently travelled around Rawbelle Creek and Hobble Gully after dropping a few pots in Graham Creek. The crabs have become quiet in winter, so we pulled in empty pots on this trip. We only had the pots in for a tide change during the day so we were hopeful without being expectant. Grunter are still fairly active along the mangrove edges and we pulled in a few decent specimens. Both black and silver bream are also being caught around the old jetty in Rawbelle but it was a fairly quiet, relaxing day on the water.

On the Reef

The wider reefs are still producing the goods with North West proving the most popular location. It is still a fair run in most boats so you would hope the contents of the esky at least covers the cost of the fuel. There is no doubt that the bigger fish are being caught here.

The shoals have been fairly quiet of late. But over the past month we have had several days when the weather has glassed out and hordes of boats have been on the water. These days show the inadequacies of the boat parking area in Gladstone, but that is another story.

Stories from Rock Cod Shoals have been a bit mixed with very few coral trout featuring in catch reports. Grassy and redthroat sweetlip are still proving the staple catches. On the warmer days, I like to hunt around the shallower reef shelves. On clear days you can see the bottom and the fish. I suppose the disadvantage of this is that they can also see you.

It is never a good idea to anchor here because, apart from the severe damage caused to the reef, the dragging of the chain almost always frightens the fish away. There are several sandy patches on which to drop anchor if you must. You will find that the local custom on Rock Cod is to drift during the day with most fishers setting and resetting drift patterns according to the current.

In the Harbour

Whiting are being pulled from the beaches at the Lillies with worms being the preferred bait at the moment. Prawn are also getting some results when they are peeled, indicating the fussy pickers are around. Campers at the Lillies are enjoying extraordinarily good conditions with glorious clear and sunny days. Half their luck!

The mouth of the Boyne River is also producing whiting in larger models than normal. Bream are also present but you have to throw back plenty before you hook onto anything legal – and if it’s not 30cm, you should throw that back as well.

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