Bait about and fish active
  |  First Published: April 2011

The start of April marks the end of the snapper closure so for many anglers it marks the time to get out on the Bay again.

There has been plenty of bait around the shallow reef systems on the bay, so there should be plenty of snapper hanging off them. Any of the well known areas from Mud Island South will be worth a look. Some spots to have a look at include any of the rocky drop-offs into 6-8m of water around Mud, Peel or Green islands as well as the northern end of Macleay Island. Harry Atkinsons and the artificial reefs at Peel and Coochiemudlo will all be worth a look too. Baits such as mullet fillets, large prawns and garfish should all produce well and soft plastics such as 4-5” Gulps, Assassins and Zooms will also get you amongst them.

On the pelagic front, the bay should be home to increasing numbers of longtail tuna as well as mac tuna, frigates and bonito. On the shallow offshore reefs, various mackerels as well as the odd wahoo and mahi mahi will hang around as long as water temperatures permit.

Inside the bay, some good areas to hunt for tunas includes the western side of Peel Island and the edges of the sand banks leading up to Harry Atkinsons. Depending on the prevailing winds, longtails frequently feed all around Mud Island, but the north-east corner is a favourite for many. Across at Moreton Island anywhere from the Sandhills running north along the shipping channels to the top of the island can hold good pods of fish. Back at the bottom of the bay, the Rainbow Channel can really turn it on for longtails and mac tuna at.

Offshore, trolling lures and baits or casting stickbaits over the shallow reefs has been very productive over the last couple of months. Off Point Lookout, places like the Group, Middle Reef and Boat Rock all fish well, while north of the South Passage Bar, the various coffee rock reefs in 10-25m are the place to be for the pelagics. The best time is first thing in the morning though the late afternoon sessions can be superb, especially for the anglers casting surface lures for them.

While on the subject of offshore fishing, it has been a season for giant trevally throughout south east Queensland. Whether this is due to floods making more food available or the warm ocean currents, I’m not sure, but barely a week goes by without news of a few more 20kg+ fish being caught and as always, larger ones lost! Any reef in 5-20m with a good drop off or pinnacle, is subject to reasonable current and holds some bait is a good candidate for slinging 120-200g monster size poppers and stickbaits. GT popping is not for the faint hearted, but there is not much that comes close to the sight of a monster trevally exploding out of the water to annihilate a lure. Some of the strikes look like a small car has been dropped on the water!

Bream fishing along the shallows of the southern bay is set to fire up this month as the water begins to cool a touch. Any gravel and rocky areas with 20cm to 1m of water on a rising tide is worth a look. Making long casts from either the shore or a boat with surface lures and shallow running minnows is the way to go through the day: keep the line very light and you should be rewarded with some excellent action. If soaking bait is your preferred method, try the same areas after dark on the rising tide. Fish with minimal or no weight on the line for stealth and sensitivity and use berley to keep the fish close to you. Once the fish do start feeding, keep movement and lights to a minimum as bream can be very spooky when they are right up in the shallows. Good baits at night include mullet gut, chicken gut and other smelly oily baits such as tuna fillets.

Another critter to become more active in April is the squid. The last few years have seen a big increase in the number of anglers chasing squid and this year should be no different. Most of the squidding on the western side of the bay is done in fairly shallow water, so light weight jigs around 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 are most useful. As squids preferences can change for day to day, I usually take a selection of bright fluoro and more subdued natural toned jigs to cover all the bases. A rising tide around rock walls and jetties is generally productive, both day and night. Jetties such as Wellington Point, Victoria Point and Redland Bay can all be very productive as can smaller spots centred around patches of rock and weed along the shoreline.

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--

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