There is plenty to do out on the water this month as this summer shapes up to be an absolute cracker!
Plenty of spring rain means there is lots of food available for the fish and, consequently, good reports have been coming in lately from just about everywhere from the dams to the Continental Shelf.
Some of the species to look for in the bay this month include flathead, mangrove jack, snapper, sweetlip and mackerel (school and spotted). If you hop out over the South Passage bar then you can add Spanish mackerel, wahoo, spangled emperors, small black marlin and a fair few others to the list of possibilities.
In the run up to Christmas there is often golden fishing opportunities for pelagic species, before the holiday crowds arrive on the water. Early mornings are the best for a spotty mackerel hunt around the bay, while tuna will feed at any time of the day. Some of the good places to look in the Southern Bay, include the channel between Peel and Goat islands, the Rainbow and Rous channels and along the edge of the sandbanks between Peel and Harry Atkinson reef.
Spotties are a terrific sportfish and one of the highlights of the summer season for many. They eat baits and lures, while crashing around on the surface and to top it all off, they run hard and taste great. Spinning with small metal slugs in the 20-35g range is a very popular way to catch spotted mackerel. Just be on the lookout for the schools balling up bait against the surface, then slashing through the bait, sending up distinctive sprays of water.
It is best to approach the schools slowly, so as not to spook them, if possible from the up-current or up-wind direction as they often feed into the current and wind. I usually leave my motor idling initially while I fish: constant turning on and off of engines can spook the mackerel, and most other pelagic species, more so than just leaving it running. If there are a number of pods of fish working over an area, then it can be more productive to switch the engine off and go for an extended drift, casting at anything which pops up as you go.
Snapper, sweetlip, cod and tuskfish are excellent targets this month on the shallow reefs. A fair number of jewfish have also been caught in adjacent deeper waters recently as the rains have encouraged them to move out of the rivers. Peel, Coochie and Green Islands as well as drop-offs along Wellington and Cleveland Points are popular areas to fish for the reef species.
Soft plastic anglers have had good success in recent times with pale translucent plastics such as Rainbow Shad and albino in Zoom Superflukes or Clear Shad and Albino in the Assassin range. The Gulp Minnow in pilchard colour has also been a killer. If the water is more stirred up from wind or rain then it can be well worth trying a fluoro colour, however, many of the reports have been on the aforementioned pale, natural colours.
When bait fishing the Southern Bay reefs at this time of year, many anglers turn to prawns as the favoured bait. Apart from the fact that fish like to eat prawns, they also attract less attention from the small sharks, which can become a real pest in the summer months. Of course if you enjoy catching sharks, then now is a great time to start dropping down fillets of mullet or tuna for some fun with the toothy critters.
If you are spending time in the creeks and canals, then hard pulling mangrove jack, cod and trevally are high on the list of species at the moment. Early mornings and late evenings are best for these critters as they do shy away from boat traffic.
Midweek is a good proposition as well. Some of the best bites occur on the really hot uncomfortable days. When the wind is blowing out of the northwest can be the kiss of death for many species in the bay and offshore, however, in the creeks and rivers it can trigger a good bite session. The exception to this is Raby Bay canals that can fish very well on a southeasterly wind.
Fillet baits of mullet and tuna are good for these predators, however a live mullet or herring is pretty hard to beast. Some of the more popular lures for jacks and trevors of late have been smaller minnows such as Prial First Minnows, Lucky Craft Bevy Shads and Pointers and the Jackal Colt Minnow. Jointed swim baits from Izumi and Sebile have gained a real cult following as well.
Until next month, tight lines! If you would like more information about fishing the Southern Bay, just drop in and see us at Fish Head in the Victoria Point Town Centre (just across the car park from McDonalds) or send an email to --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 2634