The worst of the dirty water has come down our rivers and is slowly mixing with the salt. Given that the big flood was a short-lived event (as opposed to recent years where we had weeks of constant rains and bouts of minor/major flooding) our waters should start to clear fairly quickly this time.
There has been plenty of “floaters” moving about on the surface in the Straits since the floods, so check the condition of any crabs caught to make sure they are nice and “full”. Throw back any that aren’t. Running your pots along the mangrove-fringed shoreline either side of the Straits and around the islands south of the Mary should see you get a feed. Run them back into the creeks and upriver once the salinity levels improve.
For those that got out and took on the dirty water, results were mixed. Chasing reefies, barra and inshore pelagics (queenies, trevally, mackerel) were the more productive options. Here’s a wrap up and a few ideas for the immediate future …..
The Great Sandy Straits
The recent big tides pushed the dirty freshwater from the Mary down into the Straits. You will find barra along the western side of Fraser from Kingfisher south. There are some really big barra over that way, often seen/heard boofing baitfish over the slack of the tide.
Threadfin salmon are active in the dirty water up on the flats and in some creeks around drains during the lower stages of tide. As usual, they are proving difficult to tempt on artificials at times (mostly when they can be seen feeding on tiny minnows and jelly prawns in water barely deep enough to cover their backs).
There have been small numbers of big flathead reported from around the creeks, together with some big bream. Estuary cod, jacks, fingermark, jew and barra are all possible from some of the rocky ledges along Fraser’s western shore.
The Mary/Susan System
The larger volume of floating debris moved out of the river just before last weekend, but a heap of new logs and other flotsam have settled on sandbanks and along the shorelines of the river, so take care boating for a while yet.
Barra have been the main target, showing up in small numbers around the rock bars in the lower reaches. Be prepared to use small lures at times to match the hatch as the main baitfish left in the river are very small at present.
The Burrum System
Saltwater is starting to slowly push back into the river, but the lower reaches and adjacent stretches of beach are still the best bet. Not much reported from up that way. There are some huge new snags in the rivers, making for hazardous navigation in some cases. Watch for new sandbanks as well, as there have been major sand shifts in these rivers. It looks like being quite some time before the “Wal’s Camp” boat ramp will be re-opened (if ever).
Whilst the weather has restricted access somewhat recently, there has been plenty of action on our deeper local reefs. The ledges and other grounds off Moon and Coongul are packed with bait and fishing well, but the sharks are a major problem. Lemon, bull and whaler sharks are proving unbeatable on some reefs so move on if they find you.
Expect to find coral trout, cod, mackerel and queenfish taking livies, with blackall, sweetlip, scarlets and grunter taking prawns and squid, and even a few squire off Coongul.
Big grunter are turning up on reefs and rubbly grounds throughout the lower and central bay. Don’t be surprised to find a few around the Fairway, the Burrum 8 Mile, the Arti, Fathom Hole and points in between.
Queenfish are very active in patches from the top of Woody to Arch Cliffs. Spanish, school and broad-barred mackerel are working bait schools off Coongul, Arch and further north into Platypus Bay. Working the incoming tide is best, with cleaner water being pushed in with the tide.
No reports from out wide due to the weather this week. Once opportunity allows, then the Gutters will be worth a look. Immediately after the flood the Southern was quiet, but the Northern fished well. Expect all the reefies like trout, cod, reds, scarlets, sweetlip, jacks, moses perch, cockies, spangled emperor, hussar and even a few snapper. School and spanish mackerel will be a hassle for reef fishos, as will those big cobia that love hanging over the ledges up that way. Be prepared to move elsewhere when the sharks move in.
No reports from over the Breaksea Spit this week. Prevailing easterlies all week would mean strong current, so it would be a tough task for reef fishos, and more suited to those chasing pelagics.
Those tuned in to post flood fishing snuck down to our town beaches and found threadfin salmon, barra, grunter and queenies ripping into the washed out schools of mullet and small prawns in the filthy water. The best action came around dusk prior to the recent spring tides.
The water is still dirty, but clearing in patches, so expect a few whiting to move back in over the next set of big tides. Jelly prawns will begin to gather in the shallow fringes of our beaches and around the rocky areas soon, which will make for ideal conditions for those who enjoy tossing micro poppers and stickbaits for whiting.
The Urangan Pier
Dirty water is still an issue at the pier, as is a lack of baitfish. Some good threadies, the odd grunter and other estuary species have been caught recently. Night sessions are most productive at present, though rays, sharks and catties can be an unwanted result for baitfishos. Queenies and goldies don’t mind a bit of dirty water, but don’t expect too many other pelagics for a while yet.
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For the latest on what’s biting and for all the gear and tips on how to catch them, drop in and see the guys at Fishermans Corner.
If you would like more detailed information regarding fishing within our fabulous region, visit the Sunfish website where you can get information on local boat ramps and much more.