Mercury Falling
  |  First Published: June 2011

Water temperatures have been coming down hovering about 22-23º.

It’s funny, a lot of anglers don’t worry about the water temp, but I find it’s the most used tool on my sounder and the first thing I look for when it gets switched on. It gets used a lot in the impoundments when chasing barra, but when it comes to the ocean it gets forgotten about, which is a big mistake. Get your water temp reading to coincide with your favourite moon phase and you can target a species with greater success and accuracy.

When the water temp drops to 20-21º I will go on the hunt for tailor. If my predictions are correct, when the water hits this temp for a consistent few days to a week, there will be tailor scattered all over the passage until the end of June to the beginning of July when they will start to school up in numbers.

There are three locations that stand out when chasing tailor: the first green beacon south from the Toorbul boat ramp, the green beacon at 112’s out from Donnybrook and the blue hole at Caloundra. We all have our favourite tailor catching methods whether it be a floating or sinking pilchard, live herring, chrome or gold slugs, hardbody lure or poppers, they all work a treat. I find poppers or sub surface hardbodies are the most exciting option, with the slugs coming in a close second.

When schooled up and in feed mode it is not uncommon to catch your bag limit of tailor in half an hour. In my experience they only bite for a very short period at dusk or dawn. I find fishing dusk into the darkness gives much longer bite periods, sometimes either double or triple that of the dawn period. For best results in the darkness, use the humble pilchard or herring. If you’re not a fan of the pilchard, use sub surface or shallow running hardbodies with a rattle, shallow running gold or chrome bombers also work a treat. June through to August these guys will be a target species.

Bream, whiting and flathead have been the main stay for most anglers; I’ve seen average to good catches by most. Let’s face it, these three species are three of the best. You will see kids chasing them from pontoons, jetties, boat ramps and small tinnies, and then you have the same species being chased the big boys (kids at heart) in their big toys. It’s nothing to see fishermen in $100k+ boats chasing the same fish. The passage, from the Caloundra bar through to the most southern tip of Bribie Island is one of the best habitats around for the bread and butter species. Around 90% of anglers on the passage are chasing them with good success and good reason.

Mud crabs are in great numbers, but the majority of them have been females. These girls can destroy your bait very quickly. It’s nothing to pull your pot up with half a dozen big girls in it and not a buck in sight. The amount of food they can devour is surprising; the only way to save your bait is to construct bait bags consisting of 4” down pipe. You’ll need 10-12” long pieces of 4” down pipe and 2x4” dust caps – one for each end. One dust cap should be secured, the other should be removable so you can place and replace your baits into the pipe. Put some rope on the removable cap as a handle, as this makes it easier to put on and take off. You will need to cover the whole bait container in 1/2” holes, which allows the flavour and oils to drift out. Use a couple of zip ties to anchor it to the bottom of your pot. The great thing about this trick is you can use all of your old fishing bait, e.g. pilchards, herring, prawns or squid; just throw as much or as little in as you want. There is no worry with keeping it in your crab pot as it’s all held together in the container and can’t get out. These bait containers are really useful when doing a 24 hour drop as they ensure you will always have sufficient bait supply. They work just as well on the sand crabs.

While enjoying your time on the passage keep your eyes out for tailor busting the surface. Hopefully I’ll see you all out there.

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