Bountiful winter smorgasbord
  |  First Published: May 2011

As another summer passes and the cool westerly winds begin, we can start to prepare ourselves for a fishing smorgasbord as winter is often generous to anglers in the northern bay.

The cool early dawn is not enough to stop the keenest of anglers to take advantage of the beautiful days during May as the cool mornings open up to crisp clear days making fishing more enjoyable.

Bream have been on fire lately as baitfish have still been plentiful due to the sporadic rains of our recent summer. The plentiful baitfish, the annual banana prawn migration and the bream’s winter spawning season make the northern bay a bream rich environment.

As bream slowly begin the ritual before their yearly spawn, targeting these aggressive predators in shallower waters during dawn and dusk has been productive. The best locations have been the upper reaches of the Pine River, the mouth of the Caboolture River and The Wells at Clontarf. These areas have held good bait consistently and fished well throughout the day, especially during the flooding tide.

For the bait fishers, hardiheads have been doing the most damage, but the faithful mullet strips are giving them a run for their money. For the lure fanatics Smith Camion DR, Berkley 3B Fat Dogs and Jackall Colt Minnows have worked a treat with slow rolling retrieves netting the most bream.

Gulp 2” Shrimp and 3” Minnows in banana prawn colour lightly rigged on 1/28 or 1/40 TT jigheads are also worth a try in around the shallows of the rising tide, but upgrade to 1/8 jigheads in slightly deeper waters during the ebbing tides. Using fine wire hooks will also increase your catch rate as piercing the bream’s robust lips can be nearly impossible with blunt or corroded hooks and trebles.

Good catches of prawns have been reported throughout the Pine River, Cabbage Tree Creek and the lower reaches of the Caboolture River. The smaller greasy prawns have made up the majority of the catches and the larger banana prawns have been spread throughout but should become more frequent as the month progresses. Be sure to keep an eye out for the hoards of cast netters who congregate around Shorncliffe when the banana prawns come into full swing.

Diver whiting have also entered our bay in the last few weeks. These tasty table delights have been picked up outside Deception Bay closer to Beachmere and at the northern end of Scarborough. Light paternoster rigs using size four long shank hooks are a great rig to use on these feisty fighters and as it’s great fun when you get a double hook up as whiting have been know to put up a good fight.

Sand whiting have also still been caught throughout Bribie with the sand flats outside Cooks Rocks and Lime Pocket at Donnybrook being the pick of the places.

After sporadic rains over the last few months, good numbers of sand crabs are still being caught throughout the bay with areas outside Woody Point, Deception Bay, Nudgee Beach and Shorncliffe Pier producing good hauls. For muddies, try the upper areas of the Pine River and the weed banks around Donnybrook.

Flathead had been pretty quiet over the summer months but really started to turn on in April. Bribie has been the most blessed fishery lately with good flathead being caught in Gallaghers gutter, the mouths of Elimbah and Ningi creeks and Buckleys Hole. Upgrading your leader has been beneficial while targeting flathead in these areas and it hasn’t affected the catch rate due to reduced water clarity in the past months.

Over the last few months some local anglers has feasted on Mother Nature’s past flooding fury and manage to source out some great catches of bass. As the fresh water has filtered through the North Pine Dam into the upper reaches of the Pine River, some adventurous land-based anglers have manage crack a pattern to snag some good bass up to 50cm.

Armed with TTs spinnerbaits, deep diving Atomic Hardz and even topwater lures, these anglers have thought outside the square to source out some memorable catches. So next time you drive past a local creek or waterhole, it might be worth a look as you never know there may just be fish lurking in it.

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