Early Risers Catch The Fish
  |  First Published: June 2011

It can take a bit of motivation to get out early in June. The cool mornings that make you want to snuggle down in the doona for a while longer are also prime time to get on the water for a fish. Bream, tailor, squid and flathead are some of the main attractions this month, along with snapper and jewfish for those who are keen to hooked up to something larger.

Tailor are a pretty common catch throughout Moreton Bay in winter, from large schools of little ‘choppers’ rounding up schools of whitebait through to big greenbacks hunting pike and squid in the shallows.

One of the most productive techniques for lure fishers is to work the shallow reefs and points at crack of dawn on the rising tide. Shallow running lures and surface poppers or stickbaits are the go. Smaller lures will pick up by-catch in the form of bream, but you can lose a few to the sharp teeth of a larger tailor. Some lures to try include Rapala’s slender Max Rap, Sebile Koolie Minnows and Splashers, Prial Pencils and the FCL SPP 90.

Fan your casts out and keep moving along the reef until fish are located. Jumping baitfish and nervous water is a dead giveaway. When you hook one tailor, others are usually not far behind. Once the sun hits the water, the tailor may continue to feed in the shallows for a time. More often than not, they move out to the reef edges in 6-8m of water, becoming the bane of snapper anglers fishing with soft plastics. Their presence is given away by plastics being sliced to pieces as well as regular bite offs. Some hot spots to try include Southwest Rocks on Peel Island, the southern side of Goat island, Cleveland Point and the shallows in front of Ormiston.

Fishing in the evenings for tailor is very productive in the Southern Bay. The edges of channels around Snipe and Garden islands are popular spots, but channels around Macleay, Russell and Lamb islands are also good hunting grounds. The most popular way to fish these spots is to anchor up on the channel edge just on dusk and then position pilchard baits at various point out the back of the boat. As the evening goes on, the tailor will feed at different parts of the water column so having baits on the bottom as well as drifting in mid-water will pay dividends.

As mentioned before, pilchards are the most popular bait, but garfish and tuna fillets can also work very well. Tailor can also be very picky about the size of the pilchard they are interested in – generally towards the smaller end of the spectrum.

As always snapper are a popular target in the cooler months. Quality fish can be caught during the day and night, but a lot of the larger specimens in winter are caught in the nocturnal hours. For night sessions, big baits are popular. These include mullet fillets and tuna fillets, through to whole whiting, pike and squid. Large snapper are not at all fussed about eating big prey, but remember that it may take some time for the fish to swallow the bait properly.

Anglers fishing with soft plastics at night generally work on two principles: silhouette and sound. Larger than normal plastics (such as 7” where you would otherwise use 5” long lures) in a dark colour, make a good silhouette against any moonlight or starlight. Secondly, noisy vibration lures like Jackal TN60s and Megabass Vibration X are easy for the fish to find due to the sheer racket they put out. Both these ideas work great at getting the attention of snapper, even on the darkest of nights.

Some good spots to try for snapper in winter include the northern end of Macleay Island, the shallow reefs at the northeast corner of Coochiemudlo and the coral ledges at the ‘Hole in the Wall’ at Peel Island. Further up the Bay, try the new artificial extensions at Harry Atkinsons and the extensive reefy ground along Wellington Point. The new artificial reefs at Peel and Coochiemudlo have not produced many fish, but this will change soon enough as a multitude of organisms begin to colonise the structures.

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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