Bait Boosts Bounty
  |  First Published: April 2011

So far this summer the weather has been less than ideal. Constant flooding rains, afternoon storms and the occasional cyclonic activity up north, coupled with ESE winds, have turned the Northern Bay into one big washing machine at times. But this hasn’t deterred diehard anglers from pulling some decent catches around the traps as the flooding waters have provided the bay with a plethora of bait, including hardiheads and even jelly prawns.

Searching for bait schools have been the key to finding decent catches lately. The fish have been on the move searching for cleaner waters and more food as the bay still tries to clean itself up from recent rains. Keeping an eye on the wind patterns can give you some idea of where bait schools are likely to be found.

The bait are often pushed up into bays and coves or hiding behind rock bommies to get out of the elements. This can make them prime targets for predators as they often hang around these schools waiting to pounce. Using lightly weighted baits or deep diving lures around these schools reap the best rewards as these aggressive feeders will pounce on anything looking out of the ordinary.

Out on the water there has been some great reports of fish being caught, especially in the Bribie area. The Pumicestone Passage has been on fire recently with good fish found throughout the whole system. The Donnybrook weed flats, mouth of Ningi Creek and Cooks Rocks have been the pick of the spots for chasing bream with a few 36cm+ specimens even coming out of the Caboolture River in the last month.

The bait fishers’ choice has been thin mullet strips rigged on a size 1 or 1/0 hook with an extra long trace being the trick due to fishing in shallower waters. For the lure fanatics, shallow running hardbodies with long light fluorocarbon leaders have produced awesome results along with topwater lures like Luckycraft Sammy 65, Atomic K9 Walker 60 and Megabass Dog X Jr grabbing heaps of attention as water temperature is still up and the fish are feeding on the surface.

Sand whiting have still been caught in good numbers in the passage with Ningi Creek and Lime Pocket being the likely places to produce good fish. Bloodworms are certainly top of the list for baits with fresh yabbies a very close second. The last of the flooding tide has been prime time as fresh water has still been flowing out on the ebbing tide.

The upper regions of Redcliffe Peninsula have been a little hit and miss over the last month but shows signs of firing for the remaining months of our summer. As waters clear day by day, areas like Castlereagh Point, North Reef and Queens Beach have started to hold good schools of bait therefore bringing better catches.

Bream, flathead and trevally have been the most popular species caught with estuary cod showing a huge presence in these areas. For the land-based anglers, the eastern side on Woody Point jetty and The Wells under the new highway bridge, have been very productive lately. The new jetty on the Redcliffe side of the old Hornibrook Bridge is nearing completion and it definitely looks like a great place to check out.

The unpredictability of the weather lately has forced some anglers back into the local estuary systems, which has not only been safer for smaller craft but been surprisingly fruitful. The upper reaches of Cabbage Tree Creek have been producing good bags of bream and flathead, especially on the rising tides.

The most successful bait has been cooked prawns. Trawlers cleaning scraps off their decks from the morning’s catch has provided awesome berley for local fishos as the scavenger breeds come out to play. But be warned, great berley also brings greater number of toadfish!

One of the recent rains has seen the increase in the numbers of bass flooding the upper reaches of the Pine River. Land-based anglers, kayakers and small boaties have been extracting good size bass out of the Pine with a combination of surface lures, TT spinnerbaits and deep cranks doing the trick. Bass usually congregate in deep water but move up to the shallows to feed on shrimp and small bait fish. Make sure to mix up your attack of both deep and shallow presentations.

As we slowly see the back of another summer, we can only look forward to a great winter in the Northern Bay. The fishing has shown a late run this year which points forward to a great winter ahead.

Squid should start to arrive on the scene in the coming months for their yearly spawning pilgrimage around our reefs. Also the arrival of winter whiting in Deception Bay should see anglers starting to target these areas more regularly. Snapper and squire should become more prominent around the reefy systems of Redcliffe and Woody Point as winter is their usual time to fire.

So from this month onwards it’s nothing but exciting times ahead for the Northern Bay, so be sure to keep an eye out for the start of those westerlies as winter is just around the corner!


The Donnybrook weed flats, mouth of Ningi Creek and Cooks Rocks have been the pick of the spots for chasing bream.


Gold spot estuary cod are showing a huge presence on the eastern side on Woody Point jetty and The Wells.

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