On a winning run
  |  First Published: April 2011

Late Summer-early Autumn has continued to provide some fantastic fishing and most of the time the weather has been reasonably favourable.

Although La Niña is far from over, April and May are normally stable months so here’s hoping our good run doesn’t end just yet.

Last month I wrote how good the inshore run of small pelagics has been. Thankfully that trend has kept up, with numbers of striped tuna, mack tuna, bonito and rat kingfish.

A light sprinkling of spotted and Spanish mackerel has also kept up our enthusiasm although so far I’m yet to encounter any mackerel.

While the majority of the bonito have only been smallish, there hasn’t been any shortage of big bonnies of 3kg to 4kg and at that size they can certainly put on a performance on the appropriate tackle.

Water temperature and quality have also been very impressive right in close, which we don’t often see around these parts.

Unfortunately, though, I would have expected to see some more larger predators in close, with such good water and plenty of big yakka schools around.

Further out wide towards the continental shelf we’ve seen black, blue and striped marlin, as well as a couple of short-billed spearfish. I had even heard of a few sailfish spotted, which is very rare down here.

As we move closer towards the end of Autumn, this warm water action should taper off. The overall fishing won’t get worse, though.

From now on it’s time to start changing tactics. If the water remains warm and blue, by all means keep playing with the big and small pelagics but I would also be considering chasing species like snapper, tailor, kingfish and jewfish a bit more.

Some of these fish will be in very close around the headlands, backs of beaches and shallow reefs, especially as mullet numbers start to build.


Rock fishing this month will be a mixed bag of goodies.

High-speed spinning for the pelagics will still be a good idea and although they haven’t been around in numbers so far, keep an eye out for frigate mackerel. They make top bait for bream, tailor and jewfish as well as being a fun little fish to catch.

April on the stones can be exceptionally good for most other fish as well.

Tailor, bream and jewfish are probably the main species I would be concentrating on, although I wouldn’t neglect blackfish or drummer either.

If you like catching calamari for bait, food or fun I’d also be putting in some effort for them this month and next. As the water starts to cool we normally see some of the biggest calamari of the year.

The beaches should produce the goods this month. I’ve always maintained that April is the best month for beach jewfish so if you’re yet to pin your first jewie or want to try for a new personal best, this is the month to put in the effort with calamari, tailor or mullet baits.

Tailor, salmon, whiting and bream should also be in full swing along most beaches.

The ever-reliable pilchard pinned to a set of ganged hooks is probably the best approach for the tailor and salmon, with smaller baits like pipis, prawns and beach worms for the whiting and bream.

If you just want to focus on the Autumn run of bream, though, I would be using tough baits like salted tailor, bonito or frigate mackerel. Fresh baits will get just as many bites, but by salting down your fish flesh baits they’ll stand up to the pickers a lot more.


In the lakes and Brisbane Water it’s been very good for bream, whiting and flathead in recent months.

Unless we get flooding or an unusually cold burst of weather, the same species will remain active this month so don’t pack your surface lures away just yet.

Last April I enjoyed some of the best surface fishing for bream and whiting I’ve ever had.

Always remember to cast lures over places that you think are probably too shallow, because that’s where most of the fish will be, especially whiting.

If, however, that cooler weather does arrive a bit early, switch over to deeper lures or fish with good quality bait.

Brisbane Water anglers should also have a think about jewfish this month, especially around The Rip, Woy Woy and possibly further up the system around Gosford and the creeks.

When fishing the top end of the system, take a look at a tide chart and concentrate your efforts on the larger tides over 1.6m. The extra water movement gets the bait and the jewies more active up there.

Overall, if the weather behaves itself this month, get stuck into it because the action will start to fade away in another month or two.
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