Following the floods and fresh flush out
  |  First Published: May 2017

Bundaberg dodged a bullet when ex tropical Cyclone Debbie passed over. It dropped a lot of rain in places where we really needed it. The cyclone then moved very quickly down the coast, which spared us the flooding that unfortunately followed. Most of our rivers and creeks broke their banks and had a very good flush out, which bodes well for the rest of the year’s fishing, at least.

The Baffle will run fresh pretty much to the mouth for a while, but will really fire up in spring thanks to the rain. This month it will be still worth a look around the mouth with mangrove jack and barramundi probably getting to the end of their season as the water temperature drops.

Whiting, bream and grunter will be on the move as there were a few smaller prawns around before the big wet. Keep an eye out around the weed beds in the north channel at the mouth and the deep hole in the junction of the north and middle channel. This is a great spot when there are prawns around.

The Burnett River had a decent flood with a lot of water coming down from inland. The town reach end of the river will probably stay dirty for most of May and clean up as the water temperature drops. The mouth of the river has fished reasonably well since the flood with salmon, barramundi, mangrove jack and a few big grunter being caught.

During May I would be hitting the deeper holes in the river. Again, keep your eye out for prawns or bait. That will be where you’ll find the fish hunting them. Once the water cleans up in May there will be plenty of tuna to chase and a few mackerel around. Get in early before they move offshore. Speaking of offshore, our little reefs and wrecks have turned it on lately with some nice coral trout and even a few nice snapper showing up.

The Kolan River is not a spot I fish a lot, however, a lot of barramundi were washed over the barrage when the flood came through, so it will definitely be on my list of places to fish over May. The mouth fishes pretty well for bream, whiting and flathead. As it’s just had an influx of barramundi and all the other fish that where stuck there like garfish and mullet, the eco system should fire up.

Of course the professional netters have already been in the river netting these fat freshwater barramundi, which will taste awful until they have spent a few weeks with salt flushing through them. I don’t usually begrudge someone working for a living, but what these guys are doing is just taking advantage of a weather event and being greedy.

The price for barramundi is around $20/kg for wild caught fish. When these fish hit the market they won’t be worth a quarter of that, as the quality will be way below par. I know they have taken tonnes of fish out of our rivers locally since the floods, which only makes money for the netter, wholesaler and the retail outlet.

If we had a fishery that offered net free zones and world-class barramundi fishing, we would have anglers travelling from all parts of the country and the world. They would need fuel, food, accommodation, tackle, boat hire and much more. Anglers will move to areas just because the fishing is amazing, bringing population growth and labour skills. We need to look at the big picture. Rant over, have a great May.

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