By Jack Mangrove
With autumn now upon us and with strong SE winds and swell keeping boats garaged, now is the time to start planning for the arrival of the longtail tuna and yellow fin tuna. While we wait it is also a great time to do any work on hulls, trailers, bearings and outboards. Be sure to pull out flair kits, life jackets and other mandatory safety gear and check for expiry dates to save a costly fine.
For most anglers, the estuary has been the best option to get out of the wind with the dog beach, Munna point, Gympie Terrace all offering calmer conditions. The lower part of the river has seen some sizable flathead caught with many getting close to the no take 75cm size. To catch the bigger flathead fluorocarbon leaders of 12-16lb are best as the bigger fish have very raspy mouths. They respond well to small whole fish baits including whitebait, froggies and pilchards when used with smaller 2/0 gang hooks or a couple of smaller octopus style hooks and a small running sinker. For lure anglers it is best to use a 3-4 inch size grub style soft plastic for maximum attraction. Soft vibes are another great way to lure the big fish. Be sure to carry a landing net if after the trophy sized fish as they always have a big head shake in the shallows which sees many fish busted off.
For bream, smaller 2-3 inch grub style plastics, crabs and prawn lures are the go to when casting into structure and around pontoons. With the recent rain you can expect to see prawns getting washed down so try and match the bait size. Be sure to use some scent on your plastics and use 6-8lb leader for the best presentation and abrasion resistance.
Trevally and tailor are making the most of the bait fish that have been pushed into the river after the huge tides. With daybreak much later, now is the time to get up early and cast a variety of lures including surface and metal slugs in the 10 gram range. These mimic a baitfish and are a great all-rounder for those just starting out. If fishing baits then prawns, pipis and mullet chunks are all great options to help catch a feisty fish.
Crabs are also on the move with the rains and some good catches of muddies have been reported. Keep your pots close to the mangrove edges and away from the main boating channel for safety. Nothing beats fresh mullet as crab bait so be sure to use some when available.
Freshwater has been quieter with the drop in daytime temps so casting the weed edges with sub surface, suspending lures and spinnerbaits is a great way to trigger a bite. If in a kayak or boat having a lure out the back while underway is a great way to find the fish. Take a look at various hardbodies in the 70-80mm size range and aim to have two different lures out. This ensures you are fishing 2 different depths with two different colours that have different actions. Looking for schooled up bass is another great option when using down scan on your sounder. Once found try dropping vibes and blades in the 30-40mm size through the school to provide some great action.
So on behalf of Jack Mangrove, best of luck on your fishing adventures!