Fish the tide and head out wide
This past month has brought some of the best weather the Gladstone region has seen for a very long time. As you could imagine, every angler and their dog had taken the opportunity to head out wide and the reports just keep rolling in with some exceptional captures.
OFFSHORE Inshore and around the islands, the pelagics are continuing to chew with some beautiful spotty mack, long tail tuna and even the odd Spanish showing up in close. If you're down around the bottom end, don't forget your popping gear, as there has been some large inshore GTs being caught along with some quite nice cobra. Jigging on the local can also offer a great fun day stretching your arms to the limits, with many pelagic species hanging around, not to mention the schools go nannygai, grunter and big black jew. Slow pitch jigging is a relatively new style of fishing and is proving to be very effective when fishing various depths of the water column, depending on where the bait is suspended. If you show up to the wreck and there is someone parked directly on top of it, don't get too disheartened, as there are still plenty of good fish to be caught around the outskirts, it's just a matter of using a quality sounder and having a good look around. I have caught grunter up to 1km from the main structure itself. I also find that anchoring on a wreck is much better than drifting, as the more drifts you do the more fish you drag away form the area and eventually they will be scattered all over the show and you will have to find them again. Rock Cod Shoals has fired lately and is producing plenty of good quality red throat and tuskies, but the main talk is about the Spanish mackerel. They have been holding there in good size schools, with catches in the 10-15kg bracket, which is the perfect eating size fish. These fish can be targeted very easily on a floating pilchard or gar, along with live fusilier and whiptail. If bait fishing just isn't your thing, you can also troll hardbodies, but the most exciting way to chase them is poppers and floating stickballs, as they can sometimes launch in the air like a large missile. The wider islands and reefs are fishing the best we have seen for a long time. We have plenty of reports coming in about catches of big red emperor, heaps of coral trout and red throat. Masthead is the first island you reach once leaving the harbour, so it usually cops a fair hiding, but because the atrocious weather we had throughout summer it got a much-needed break and seems to have bounced back unbelievably. It has verb producing some beautiful coral trout, red throat, tusk fish, stripies and even some quality Spanish. Just make sure you go hard, because where the fish are the sharks are and there are super thick at the moment. Another style of fishing it seems that many people are exploring is the deep drop style. To get to the 100m line the closest point is off the eastern side of Sykes Reef, but the contour runs south past the Fitzroy/Lamont area and north up past North Reef and Innamincka. Species showing up from out wide are pearl perch, comet groper, gold band snapper, snapper, flame snapper, sharp tooth, iron jaw and rosy job fish not to mention the pelagic such as yellowtail and mahimahi. When fishing this depth of water it really pays to have a quality sounder, especially one that reads at speed as there can be many miles between ground and to be able to sound at speed means that you're not missing anything while traveling between spots.
ESTUARIES The estuaries are still continuing to fish really well and for grunter, barramundi and mangrove jack, especially South Trees and the Calliope River. For the keen anglers venturing outside the region, Turkey Beach is definitely worth a look a long with the Narrow's. If you are doing some estuary fishing, be sure to take a few pots along with you, as there is some quality crab on the move. As it starts to cool off, you can expect the jacks and barra to slow down and salmon, flathead and big bream start to make their way through the harbour and in to the estuaries. The last two hours of the run-in tide, as long as the wind isn't blowing too much, Barney Point Beach has been producing some excellent whiting, bream and flathead. The bait needed for fishing in this area is small prawns and worms rigged simply on a running ball sinker rig (size 0-2) with a long shank hook.
HARBOUR Gladstone Harbour offers such a vast range of fishing options, and the past few months has proved this, with anglers reporting some memorable captures. Large jew are high on many anglers' target list and can be caught throughout the harbour all year round. Vibing for jew is fast becoming many anglers' favourite ways to target these dirty fighting fish. Along with jew, there are also plenty of other species to tussle with while throwing vibes, such as barramundi, queenfish, trevally, estuary cod, coral trout, grassy sweetlip and golden snapper.
LAKE AWOONGA Early morning and late afternoons are still your best bets for landing a mighty Awoonga barra. As it starts to cool off it will become more important to fish the afternoons in the sun warmed bays, as that's where the fish tend to be most active. However, at the moment the fish are looking for more stable temperatures in the standing timber and are commonly being found in depths from 2-5m. When fishing the standing timber, you can use a host of methods to entice these fish to bite. One of the more productive methods has been slow twitched suspending hardbodies with long pauses. Other productive ways include the slow rolling of large paddle-tails and hopping of a mixture of hard and soft vibe lures.
For all the latest info on what's biting and where, drop in store and see the boys!