The strong southerly winds and rain squalls have been relentless the past week, making fishing conditions less than average. For the few brave fishos that headed out into the sheltered rivers and estuary systems, they managed to score a feed of Bream, Whiting, Flathead and Mud Crabs for their efforts.
As we head towards the May Day Long Weekend for the Gold and Tweed Coast the winds are tipped to ease and by Monday the rain will disappear giving everyone a great day for boating. Offshore conditions will be average given the large swell that will remain, making bar crossings hazardous. Always have the latest forecast before planning a trip on the water.
Let’s have a look at some fishing options for the long weekend ahead.
The recent rains maybe be just enough to stir up a few Mud Crabs around the Gold and Tweed Coats rivers and estuaries in time to chase a feed over the long weekend. The showers are tipped to hang around at least until Sunday. At least the winds are forecast to ease, making conditions much nicer to head out on the water. The recent rain should have stirred up the Mud Crabs before they quieten down as we get closer to winter. May is a good month for chasing a feed of Mud Crabs as they are normally good quality and full of meat after feeding up during the warmer months.
Some good areas to set the pots are Coomera River (including the South and North arms), Brown Island, Aldershots, Never Fails, Tipplers Passage, Jacobs Well, Cabbage Tree Point, Tiger Mullet Channel, Logan River, Russell Island, Lamb Island and Karra Garra Island. Fresh bait is always best, whole mullet, fish frames and fresh raw chicken will normally temp a crab if it’s in the area.
If you are crabbing during the daytime, try to hang around the area to keep an eye on your pots – just in case someone decides to check them for you.
The longer the soak the better, I recommend dropping the pots in late in the afternoon then be out on the water at first light to check them. A bait bag is a must have accessory that can be found at your local tackle shop, by placing your bait in a separate bag it makes it much harder for vermin like eels or small fish (and crabs) to get in and out of the pots to steal the bait. The soft bait bags work well and tend to get less damaged than the plastic-coated wire type.
Once the wind eases, it will be worth heading out to look for some Banana Prawns. Again, like crabs, the prawns will respond to a bit of rain. This tends to make them move out of the rivers and school up in better numbers. The cooler conditions we currently have are more friendly than the warm weather we have seen during March and the beginning of April. For those new to prawning, a top pocket cast next is a must have. They will cost more than a typical bottom pocket net but will make life much easier when the prawns are on. A bottom pocket net can be very difficult to remove your catch from taking up valuable time. When the prawns show up, they may only hang around for a short period, so the more casts you can get, the better. A top pocket net will trap majority of prawns in the top pocket. All you need to do is loosen off the draw string and tip your catch out, making things simple, ready to cast again in no time.
If you are unsure where to go just keep an eye out for other boats casting nets. When the prawns are on you will get large numbers of boats all bunched up together. For someone new, this can be a bit full on. Just take your time when maneuvering through the maze, most boaties are pretty good about it. Some spots to have a look are Jacobs Well, Cabbage Tree Point, Rudy Maas, Little Rocky Point, Powerlines, Lamb Island, Karra Garra Island and Macleay Island. If you have mates out on the water, sharing info will also help you cover more area to find a feed.
As the water cools down Flathead numbers are staring to increase. May is a great month to hit the water in search of these fun fish. Due to a lack of rain there seems to be much more weed in the water than normal. Hopefully this will start to clear up making lure fishing a bit easier.
Flathead will usually lay in wait head into the tide to ambush anything that swims past making lures the perfect choice to cover area in search of fish. Once you have managed to find a Flathead I recommend putting in a bit of time in to search that spot, as where there is one fish there will normally be a few more lying in wait. The bigger female fish will normally have several smaller male fish tagging along; these fish are the ones to keep if you are chasing a feed.
Soft plastics around the 3 to 4 inch size rigged on either 1/4 or 3/8 jig heads will work in most depths of water. Trolling hard body lures is a good way to find fish if things are a bit quiet, I also like using soft vibes in the deeper water as the movement is irresistible to a hungry fish.
Some good spots to look are Wave Break Island, Paradise Point, Aldershots, Tipplers Passage, Bedrooms, Coomera River, Jacobs Well, Tiger Mullet Channel, Cabbage Tree Point, Crusoe Island, Logan River and around Russell Island.
Quotes from the Boats
Brad from Brad Smith Fishing Charters reports:
“Here we are at the end of another working week. The wind this week has been absolutely crazy. The good thing about the Tweed is its size and contours provides areas to work and hide from all winds. We worked sheltered areas that provided us with a combination of deep and shallow grounds to troll, and deep-water jig for a variety of species. The species caught were Flatties, Bream, Whiting, Grunter, Moses Perch and School Jew with the best performing lures being slams, mmd prawn vibes and ecogear zx40 and breamers.”
Clint from Brad Smith Fishing Charters reports:
“Wild and windy this week, which is not abnormal for this time of year, soon it will settle more. Well, at least half the time. A very eventful week, I helped some jetski riders whose ski started sinking. They were clinging to it while the run out tide was dragging them towards the seaway, and no one else was around. Good timing, we were coming past, picked them up and towed their ski to the ramp.
Sand Whiting breeding season is wrapping up and they will be found up Nerang River, existing and feeding over winter. The Squid are increasing and we have been getting up to eight arrows a day, mostly on Ecogear blades and a few on Ecogear Dartmax squid jigs. I will be doing heaps of Squidding in the next four or five months so get in touch if you’d like to book a charter. Squid are so much fun and easy to catch, and so yummy to eat. Best thing is on squid charters we usually catch lots of flathead and flounder too. Flathead are suddenly appearing more in the shallows too. I did a wading charter yesterday and although the wind was Southerly 15-25 knots client Paul and I caught over 60 fish on yabbies and Zman ST Grubz, including 20 Flathead up to 56cm and Whiting up to 39cm. It was a fun session and no coincidence that the fish were aggressively feeding as the barometer climbed to 1020.”
LINKS & INFO
Stay up to date with all fishing regulations in Queensland https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries
Fisho Tackle and Coomera Houseboat Holidays now have Hire follow the link to view http://www.coomerahouseboats.com.au/our-fleet-type/hire-tinnies/
Seabreeze is a great website to access a local forecast http://www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/
Good luck with the Fishing. Brett