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Springing into Bowen Fishing
  |  First Published: September 2009



The past month has seen some absolutely glorious fishing weather in Bowen with better than reasonable conditions translating into some great catches for both blue water and estuary anglers alike. The waters around Bowen have certainly lived up to their reputation and the fishing has been nothing short of sensational.

Bluewater Fishing

The pelagic species have certainly been on the chew with dense schools of spotted and doggie mackerel continuing to take up residence at the local mackerel patches. These schooling fish have been feeding strongly on the copious amounts of bait, which have also made their home on the rubbly patches.

This month the bait congregations on the local patches have been incredibly thick with plenty of gar and wolf herring present as well, producing the perfect ingredients for a cracker mackerel session.

Jigging metal lures through the water column has been producing the most fish this month, though those soaking a few baits on the bottom have taken plenty.

The Spanish mackerel have also been around in good numbers this month although they seemed to have thinned out a bit on the inshore grounds and local patches. From all reports there are plenty of big Spaniards still being caught out wide around Holbourne Island and Nares Rock and off the reef edge at Olde Reef.

Trolled wolf herrings weighted with jig heads have been deadly, with baits trolled as close to the bottom as possible being the most effective. Surprisingly, hotspots like the area around Abbot Point have been slower than usual this month, though this spot has yielded some really big 30kg+ fish in the last couple of weeks.

The changes in seasonal cycle have also meant some great catches of reef fish especially on the inshore shoaly grounds around the Euri area and Glouster and Middle islands. With warmer water temps, reef dwelling fish especially coral trout have started to congregate on bait filled bombies and have been eager for a feed.

While fist-sized flesh baits have been successful, there have been plenty of local anglers taking some great trout on Berkley 7” nuclear chicken colour Jerk Shads.

Squid have also been around in huge numbers this month and it is always a good idea to keep a squid jig handy as a big fresh squid will almost guarantee you something special from below.

Black spot tuskfish or blueys have also been turning up and have come on the bite strongly. Plenty have been lost though, with some huge big blue brutes responsible for some pretty heavy bust-offs. Areas like the coral ledge off Middle Island, the Glouster Passage and the Abbot Point Ledge are best bets for chasing these prize fish with all these areas producing good blueys this month.

Estuaries and Creeks

Most people around Bowen this time of year begin to curse the hot weather while the creek anglers welcome it with open arms, packed tackle boxes and a baitcaster or three.

Water temperatures have really spiked this month and the mangrove jacks have reacted ferociously. Duck, Boat and Meatworks creeks have really been working well especially for the lure tossers who have found the red fish prevalent close to shallow structure and rock bar ledges.

While medium-sized hardbodied lures have been successful in snaring the red brutes, Berkley 4” Gulps in pumpkin seed colour have really been nailing the shy, hesitant fish lying deep in snags.

It is pretty common knowledge that Bowen is not renowned for its barra fishery. With the absence of a large deep estuary system and creeks that run practically dry at low tide, barra numbers are not as high as those in the Burdekin or Proserpine area.

But this does not mean barra are non-existent and this month has seen some great barra landed. Luring the mouths and rocky headlands from Adelaide to Kangaroo creeks south of Bowen on the last two hours of the bottom of the tide has yielded some great results with barra up to 90cm being landed.

While several good fish have been caught, the most promising sign is the number of barra seen lying lazily under overhanging trees and snags. These fish are yet to start participating in the game and have left behind some pretty frustrated anglers.

The month ahead

As air temps increase so will the action in the creeks, and if this month has been a preview the real feature film should be a cracker. Fish like barra and jacks will become more reactive especially when the humidity and afternoon storm activity commences, which really brings on a hot bite. Live bait will continue to provide best results.

On the blue water scene, the Spanish and spotted mackerel will drop off as the water temp warms up, but they should be replaced by schools of grey mackerel that tend to move in close around the Bowen Harbour chasing schools of wolf herring.

Next month should also see the appearance of longtail tuna schools between Queens Beach and Abbott Point. These fish are awesome fighters and taste great as well. As we move closer to the spawning season, coral trout and other tasty reefies will also be more prevalent and areas like Southern Cross Reef off Kings Beach and the various islands will become worth a fish.

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