– by Andrew Chorley
Those beautiful warm sunny days that southerners travel 1000s of kilometres to enjoy aren’t bad either. We are due for some actual winter weather soon as we have generally a mild winter so far.
The mild conditions have seemed to affect some parts of the local fishing scene, particularly the snapper. With the closed season from July 15 to August 15, snapper have been off limits as that period has been marked as their main spawning window by Fisheries Queensland.
Once the season is open again, we should see better reports of fish coming in with a late season of snapper expected this year. When targeting snapper, look for the yakka schools.
The best snapper bites often come from around yakka schools which may not be holding on any structure. So, keep an eye on your sounder while travelling for the bait.
A range of techniques can be used on snapper from working soft plastics to trolling hardbodie lures and using live baits. When fishing for snapper keep in mind, they are a wary fish. Idle quietly and turn off the engine if drifting and cast ahead of the boat when working soft plastics and lures.
Areas to look for snapper are the 25 Fathom, The Artificial Reef, Platypus Bay and the Burrum 8-Mile.
What’s biting around the Fraser Coast this month:
The Burrum River can be tricky this time of year with clear conditions making lure fishing difficult at times. Targeting bread and butter species like bream, whiting and flathead is the best way to get a feed of fish right now. Pumping yabbies and fishing the flats has produced some great sand whiting with some good size fish expected to come through in August. Winter whiting are also a good option out the front of Woodgate and Toogoom.
The local reefs have seen a few snapper catches before the closed season and will be worth a look when it opens again August 15. Fishing local, the low light hours see a better catch rate as the constant pressure on the local fish makes them even more wary. Berley can also get a bite going and bring in a few more fish and get them feeding. Sweetlip, coral trout and cod are still being caught right through winter on many of the reefs. Squid are a great target this time of year and can be caught over the shallow around the islands, sea grass flats and around Point Vernon.
August generally sees a run of big longtail tuna off the Pier.Setting live baits off the pier can see fish to 20kg come through and can create havoc for anglers. Big spanish mackerel are also about off the Pier in August with wire a must when targeting the big ones. In the shallows, bream will be in good numbers particularly on the bigger tides at night. Flathead, whiting and gar are also about in the shallows.
Platypus Bay and Wide Grounds
Platypus Bay will be a likely spot to target snapper through August with many other species generally being a little quieter up their until we see temps start to rise gain. On the surface, the odd school of mac tuna can be found sipping on small bait. Longtail tuna will also be about but generally are found deeper in the water column feeding on yakkas. Spinning soft plastics around the yakka schools will get results.
Diver whiting can be found south of Round Island, in the Turkey Straits and down around Boonooroo. Drifting with live yabbies is the best way to target them, but if you find a few anchoring no the school can be a deadly way to get some good numbers quickly. Flathead will begin to congregate as they get ready to start spawning in early spring. Targeting flathead on soft plastics and hardbodie lures in the shallows can be great fun and a deadly technique. In the Mary River system, a few salmon have been caught in the upper reaches on live baits along with grunter.