The lazy days of summer are back again: hot days, humid nights, storms and plenty of relaxation are what most people have in mind at the moment.
Through the middle of any fine day in January, there are sure to be plenty of people on the water having a great time. This is generally not conducive to great fishing, so if you want to catch a fish in January, it pays to either get up early or stay out late! It is also a good time to explore some of the small creeks, canals and lakes up and down the coast for bream, jacks, trevally and bass, so a sense of adventure can come in handy too.
Out on the bay in January, it can pay to prioritise your fishing time so that you fish for more traffic sensitive species early, moving on to others later in the day. Chasing spotty mackerel with small metal lures like 20-25g Sea Rocks and Raiders is one of the best ways to spend an early morning. They usually start to feed at first light, so being out there at the crack of dawn is generally most productive. Once the boat traffic starts to get heavier around mid-morning, spotted mackerel become more of a challenge to tempt. At this time you can switch from chasing schools of fish with lures to dropping pilchards or live baits down a berley trail. Alternatively, it can be a good time to go and chase another species instead.
If you can get out there even earlier – pre-dawn we’re talking now - then there are some good snapper to be caught around the reef drop offs of Peel, Mud and Green islands, as well as the reefs along Cleveland and Wellington points. There are plenty of snapper to be caught after sun up as well, but in January it is common to get a burst of feeding activity from larger fish prior to the sun hitting the horizon. When the majority of boats hit the water from 7am onwards, the peak time is generally over. If you have a larger boat or are willing to stick it out when the afternoon nor’easters blow, then the snapper will often come back on the bite again. This can be from the wind stirring up food along the reefs and the fact that there are fewer boats around, since most head for home as soon as the wind blows.
Once the early morning bite has dropped off and there are plenty of other boats on the water, then there are still some good options available. One option is to move up into the shallow weed beds around Moreton and North Stradbroke islands to chase some tasty squid. Throughout summer, squid move in numbers on to the weed beds on the eastern side of the bay, where the water tends to be much clearer than in the western Bay. Squid jigs from Evergreen, Daiwa and Yo Zuri are all very productive in #2.5 to #3.0 size, particularly in natural prawn like colours.
Further down the Bay among the southern Bay islands, a good approach to get away from the crowds is to head away from the main channels and move on to the sand flats to chase flathead, bream and whiting. Drifting the flats either using worm and prawn baits or flicking a few lures is a great way to spend a few hours. Fishing the last couple hours of the run in tide and the first of the run out, allows you to get up onto the shallow areas away from most of the cruising boats, as well as catch a variety of fish.
A third option is to head upstream into smaller creeks and backwaters, searching for bream, cod and jacks. These fish will feed right through the day on lures and baits, particularly if the weather is really hot muggy and uncomfortable. Smaller bream and bass sizes lures and light leaders are the key for daytime action, which can lead to some heart in mouth moments when big jack come out to play. That said, it is impressive to see the quality of jacks which are being landed on quality light tackle these days. Some good smaller lures to try out up in the creeks include Maria Cranks and Jerkbaits, Prial Cranks and the smaller Lucky Craft Pointers and Bevy Shads.
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: 1811