With warmer weather, offshore night fishing has been worth the trip lately.
Big schools of grunter are coming on the chew the minute the sun goes down. Grunter hang around the 6 mile Cetacea Wreck and the Banana Gutter at night. They love a well-presented squid and the latest boxes of California squid are some of the highest quality, best condition baits I have ever seen. Use two 6.0 hooks ganged and a light lead to catch these lovely table fish. The average has been around 2kg – a great fighting fish.
For the headland fishers, longtail tuna have been providing great fun and good eating. You don’t need a boat – they can be caught off The Catwalk on 1770 Headland. The red fish didn’t disappoint in September and October and there was plenty of weather windows to chase them. Red Emperor, small and large mouth-nannygai were in abundance on the deeper rubbly reefs inside and outside the Bunker Group.
Plenty of coral trout were taken from the wides, 8 fathom patch, Fitzroy bommies and the weather face at Boult Reef. The West Warregoes continue to produce quality trout, probably because it’s so close to the large Warregoes green zone. My son Chris chased yellowtail on the deeper wrecks and after pulling a kingy up from deep, its mates were easy targets for cast stickbaits.
November is the month when our grey smelly algae blooms flourish off 1770. It also signals great reef fishing. Sometimes the blooms are so thick they sit in huge patches and look like sand banks. A lot of people call this coral spawn, but that’s a mistake. Probably the worst thing about the blooms is they wash ashore and coat the beach in a smelly, muddy looking slick and some of our campers have mistakenly reported it as an oil slick. Luckily, it’s only around for a few weeks and the beaches are pristine again by Christmas.
November is a great month to come reef fishing at 1770 with mostly calm weather when the town is quiet before Christmas. When camping in 1770, stay at the boaties’ paradise, 1770 Camping Ground.
– Des Carnell
Over the last month we’ve had glorious patches of weather with clear blue skies and light winds. This has seen the water temperature in local creeks hit 25°C by mid-morning. These rising temperatures have woken a few of our estuary brawlers from their wintery slumber. Those lucky enough to fish the run-out tide to a mid-afternoon low have been rewarded with mangrove jack and barra.
Fishing tight to structure has been the key to tempt one of these brawlers to smack your presentation. I’ve been using Zerek Hot Legs and Keitech Easy Shiners in 4 and 5”, rigged on the TT SnakelockZ Heads in 1/4 and 3/8 to get into the back of snags. Tight drags and high concentration levels are must in this situation. Watch your line for any visible signs of a hit to help with your reaction. As your plastic flutters down on the drop, a high visibility braid can help in too. When fishing with high visibility braid, run a long 30lb fluoro carbon leader of 1.5m, especially in clear water.
Trevally and small queenfish have been actively feeding up the creeks in the 1770 area. Many of these have been smacking lures that are quickly retrieved after casting for barra and jacks at the back of snags.
I’ve enjoyed countless sessions with my children in Round Hill Creek pumping yabbies to chase whiting over the many sand flats this creek has. Pumping yabbies can prove challenging at times with the creek holding thousands of tiny yabbies. The trick is to keep moving around the creek until you find a bank with bigger holes than the others. I’ll move up to four or five times.
Armed with a bucket of yabbies, my daughters and I have hours of fun on whiting and bream. Fishing from the banks off the 1770 Campground has seen my daughters catch up to 25 fish per session. Fish the last hour of the run-out and first hour of the run-in – this has proved most successful. Most fish have been undersized and released with care, but we usually manage a small feed of whiting much to the delight of my daughters. The joy on the kids’ faces catching these fish is priceless.
Flathead have been feeding up for their annual spawn. Troll small deep diving lures over sand bars and along mangrove lined banks. We’ve had success on the Wilson Tango Shads and Pig Lures, which are made on the Gold Coast. Pig Lures are great to get extra depth along some of the edges of the deeper holes toward the river mouth. Of course, flathead will take a yabby and drifting the banks with one will also yield a lizard or two. If you want to get the kids onto bigger fish, this is definitely the go. We landed flathead up to 60cm with most around the high 40cm mark.
Good luck for the coming month as water temperatures continue to rise into summer and stir those jacks into more action. Remember, the closed season for barra is approaching and if you hook one while jack fishing, handle it with care and release it so we can continue to have a healthy population of the silver beauties in our creeks for the future.
The annual barramundi closed season along QLD’s East Coast will be effective from midday 1 November to midday 1 February. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said officers will be stepping up surveillance during the three month closure to protect this valued fish species during the summer wet season.
“The barramundi closed season applies to all commercial and recreational fishers,” he said. “It’s important that barramundi are not targeted for catch and release during a closed season as the stress of capture may actually prevent the fish from spawning.”
– Wayne Bryant
Chris Carnell nails his favourite yellowtail king.
Kira Bryant and her prize flathead.
Wayne and Laura Bryant with a beaut barra.
Wayne Bryant 52cm with a huge jack.Reads: 2131