Barra season is over for the next few months, which now opens up the schedule for other popular species, such as fingermark and mangrove jack. The school holidays are almost here and the kids will be looking for something to keep them occupied. So here's a run down of the northern local area and what’s likely to be biting where.
We’ll start up at Five Rocks/Nine Mile where it is a minor mission by 4x4 just to get there. It is in the Byfield National Park where you will need a permit if camping. The Five Rocks area is a lot like the eastern side of Stradbroke or Moreton Island with heaps less pressure.
Off the beaten track, this area is one of the few land-based fishing spots where you can get a patch all to yourself. There are headlands and beach gutters providing opportunity to catch a number of different types of fish to suit the family or the serious angler. Swallowtail dart and whiting are right along the beach and the schools continually travel end to end searching for a feed. Any of the obvious gutters are worth a shot.
The best baits are always the locally caught stuff, such as yabbies and beachworms. Beachworms are thick up here and anytime you can get the last of the run-out or the first of the run-in tides, worms are available. If you aren’t sure how to catch worms keep an eye out for someone up the beach doing it and ask them for a few pointers. The average friendly fisher will probably show you and even give you a couple if approached the right way.
There is also a pretty active yabby bed in the corner of Corio Bay that you can drive to from the bottom end of Nine Mile, the track only goes to one place. Do not drive off the sand below the high tide mark, it can be very soft and the odd roof exposed on the far low is a great reminder.
The fishing in this corner can be exceptional in summer where salmon, whiting and flatties push over the flats with the incoming tide. When the green back herring schools ball up around the mangroves, blue salmon, flathead, barramundi, trevally and queenfish move in and hit anything shiny they can catch. Usually this is over the upper part of the tide and you can’t go far until low tide again.
We always take a crab pot or two that we walk out at low tide to the front of the mangroves and collect them next low. Most times we get at least one or two good mud crabs.
Corio Bay/Waterpark Creek and Fishing Creek are a short run up the beach from Yeppoon. Only drive or put your boat in where you see others doing the same and never leave your car idling next to the water, particularly on the incoming.
The other tip is that from half tide down you can’t get in or out of Fishing Creek so unless you are following someone that knows the area, Fishing Creek should only be travelled on the run-in and first of the run-out.
Waterpark is accessed from Kellys or Corbetts Landings and is a stretch of water that looks extremely fishy. Follow the general creek rules by travelling wide around the points and in closer to the bays. The vast quantity of structure leaves plenty of fish holding spots for barramundi, bream, cod, jacks and fingermark while the deep holes with the undulating bottom hold some fine grunter, most of the time.
You can’t use cast nets or bait nets upstream of the Kellies boat ramp so we get all our live baits downstream and work our way back up to the ramps. The muddy edges are great when there are any decent prawns around and sometimes it is easy to leave the rods in the boat and grab a bucket full of prawns for the esky and then worry about a few live ones for bait.
Mud crabs are another target in this area and over the coming months there should be stacks about. Be careful around the waters edge because there have been some big crocs sighted not far from the ramps.
Downstream takes you out into Corio Bay where there are large areas of sandbanks and small rock patches waiting to prune your prop. However, Corio is one of the prettiest places anywhere and when you are hooked onto one of the bays big critters you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
On the north end of Corio there are small beaches with little rocky outcrops at each end with rubble, slatey reef structures and deep holes that hold quality fish from fingermark, barra, bream, flathead and black jew at times. The eddies of these rocks are easily hit with a cast net for quality livies including mullet, greenbacks, whiting and hardiheads, then fish the drop-offs. On those hot windless mornings when the bait schools have moved in on the tide we have taken mac tuna, northern blues and doggy mackerel right into the estuaries.
Out the front is Corio Heads where a bunch of shallow bommies have huge queenfish and a variety of trevally, including goldens and giant, cruising when conditions are right. The deep hole off the big heads is the area's best jew hole, although they are better over winter it is not uncommon to get the odd fish around the full and new moons all year.
The entrance is not in the same league as the southern bars but should be taken cautiously when there is any sea running because it can stand straight up over the very shallow banks coming in or out.
The southern side of Corio is Deep, Sandfly and Fishing creeks where the majority of the local muddies are caught. They all have barra holes and hold most types of estuary fish. The tides are treacherous and if you don’t pay attention there is no getting out again until the next tide. The best options are to move up the creeks with the tide and come back out before the tide gets too low, usually before half tide.
Getting back to the nearest ramp at night is virtually impossible if you don’t have a GPS plot trail to follow unless you are one of the very few that know it that well.
Farnborough Beach has plenty of whiting and dart at present and is quite a safe beach to drive if you stick near the water. There are a fair number of gutters to choose from but the best ones are usually right up the top end or down around the mouth of Barwells Creek. When there is no sea running this is a good beach to launch a tinny to get out to Bangalee and Farnborough reefs 500m out from the beach. They are two of the regular mackerel spots where doggies, greys and spotties hang whenever they are in Keppel Bay.
Ross Creek is the creek in the middle of Yeppoon. The area right in front of the council chambers is a top spot for catching flathead, whiting, salmon, bream and barramundi. There are lots of parking spots so you can get a piece of the creek to yourself with the car nearby. There are quality yabby beds and lots of holes where bait gathering is very easy. If you use the boat ramp make sure you are back there with plenty of water, because it can dry right out before low.
Rosslyn Bay Harbour is like a swag of similar small harbours around the country where locals catch their live bait and often score some quality fish at the same time. There are big fingermark, bream, flathead, queenies with salmon, and the lesser mackerels on season.
The mackerel have come in better than previous months for the time being at least. Doggies are at all the local spots along with some spotties and the odd Spanish to make it interesting. I am hearing a few complaints that not only do they have to get the dogs past the mahi mahi but also past the Spanish mackerel, my heart bleeds for you guys.
The reefies have switched back on again after their slow period and some fine captures have been reported. Coral trout still hold the top spot around the islands with trevally and queenies giving the beach fishers a bit of stick on light gear. Remember the coral reef finfish closures 14-18 November inclusive.
Next Month we’ll do the southern half and the Fitzroy River.Reads: 4971