Fantastic February Offerings
February hosts plenty of opportunity for Gladstone anglers, especially with the saltwater barramundi season reopening. The warm waters have really fired up the estuary and harbour fishing and I expect that to continue throughout this month.
Reports of quality grassy sweetlip and coral trout from inside the harbour around North Entrance as well as Gatcombe Head have been quite common. It’s a great time of year for this type of fishing as there has been slightly too much wind to get offshore. The species list is endless in these areas, with lots of variety on offer including bluebone, stripeys and estuary cod. While bottom fishing is probably the best all around technique for these species, it’s always worth putting a lure out the back and going for a troll over the shallower rocks and reefy outcrops where the large ambush species like coral trout and estuary cod are lurking.
This season has been right up there for golden snapper in Gladstone Harbour, with some of the best quality fish we have seen in a long time. Neap tides always make this species a little easier to target, as they will be often found sitting in deeper rocky structure off the islands throughout the harbour. Bait is one of the best giveaways when targeting golden snapper. If you find bait balled up on the surface, golden snapper won’t be too far away.
Barramundi can be found in similar areas but they also like the big tides where they can move up on the flats and feed before retreating back to some deeper water. Artificial structure is always worth a scan on the side imaging as they often create perfect eddies for fish to sit out of the main current flow and actively feed on any cruising past.
The estuaries are still continuing to fish well, especially for grunter and mangrove jack. The small amount of rain we have had has gotten the jelly prawns on the move, which should also have the fish firing. The most consistent area for big grunter has still been South Trees Inlet with fish up over 70cm taken on soft plastics and vibes. If you’re not into casting lures a fresh prawn, herring or gar fillet will have you covered.
Mangrove jack have been on fire since the last bit of rain and the surface action at the moment is crazy. Lures such as stickbaits and poppers are very effective but I still prefer a fizzer so you can get the fish really fired up. Make sure if you’re going to give this fishing style a crack that you’re on the water for sunrise to optimise your chances, as the fish are much more active at this time.
My bet is that barramundi will still be quite spread throughout the local systems and they will be high on most people’s target list, as they have been off limits for a while now. Don’t forget to throw a crab pot in while you’re on the water. Crabs haven’t been thick but the ones that are around seem to be good quality.
Awoonga is continuing to fire with plenty of great reports coming in. Some local customers have been bagging upwards of twenty fish in a session. Some standout lures include the Barambah Bony Shad, Kietech Swing Impact, Zerek Live Mullet and the Chasebait Flick Prawn, with most plastics being rigged with Owner Flashy Swimmer weedless hooks.
Wind direction is a key factor in where the fish are sitting at the moment. Fish can be found everywhere throughout the dam but your best bet is fishing the wind blowing points and bays, particularly when the wind is over 15 knots as it and the oxygenated water attracts more bait. Surface lures have also proven to be effective up in the shallow bays with the smaller fish. However, it pays to be ready because there is still the potential of a big fish showing up.
The build to the full moon is the best time to fish Awoonga, especially the late afternoons and into the night. There’s no better time to be on the water than now, so get out there and enjoy.
For all the latest info on what’s biting and where, drop into the shop. The team have their finger to the pulse to what is happening in the area and are sure to point you in the right direction.