Bring on spring
  |  First Published: September 2011

Well hasn’t that been a great winter. Over the past few months the fishing in the northern bay has literately been awesome! Combine the early year floods with a good dose of southeasterly winds through autumn, add in a sprinkling of a very chilly winter and you have a great recipe for some electric fishing throughout our wonderful bay.

Although there was a plethora of species being caught in all corners of our paradise, the real standout performer this year has been the humble flathead. Over the past years, flathead numbers have certainly been sporadic with many theories flying around on the reasons why this was occurring. This year has certainly been an exception with great numbers of flathead hitting the shallows of our bay. The pick of the spots are the foreshores of Shorncliffe and Margate and the inner reefs in and around Scarborough. Woody Point and Bongaree jetties have been the popular choices for land-based anglers.

Most fishos have switched to soft plastics to maximize their catches. Definitely worth a try are 3” Z-Man Shrimps in rootbeer gold colour, 4” Atomic Prongs and 100mm Squidgie Wrigglers in bloodworm or wasabi colours. Be sure to vary your jighead weights to keep your plastics close to the bottom as these ‘floor feeders’ are keen for any target within their striking range.

One species that has started to fire up after a relatively quiet winter has been the humble bream. I believe this year’s spawning season will lead into a good summer with solid numbers of bream schooled in deeper waters will ensure their presence will be high in the shallows as our waters start to warm up.

Over this month be sure to chase these aggressive predators on the rising tides as bream will cruise the shallows scouting for baitfish and crustaceans to satisfy their insatiable appetites. Hardbody lures are the proven pick for shallow breaming with the favourites being Atomic Mid Crank 38’s and shallow Jackall Chubbys and topwater lures like the Megabass Dog X Jr. With the bay’s water clarity being relatively good, be sure to pick natural clearer colours that will certainly grab any fish’s attention.

For the bait fisherman, good catches have been reported on thin mullet strips or chicken breast pieces rigged on a size 1-2 baitholder hook. Be sure to keep your sinker weigh at a minimum as lightly weighted baits have accounted for majority of the catches. Areas of interest during this month should be North Reef at Scarborough, the Highway bridge and mouth of the Pine River, Cook’s Rocks at Beachmere and the mouth of Ningi Creek.

Tailor have also shown great presence of late with this trend set to continue into early spring. Redcliffe foreshore and Scarborough’s outer reefs have been the pick of the spots for these toothy speedsters with many catches reported on both baits and artificials. Half pilchards and whitebait are worth a try with most tailor falling victim to soft plastics like 100mm wrigglers and 2” Gulp Shrimp.

Another great performer over the past months has been the table favourite snapper. This year has been a cracker snapper season with the northern bay holding its fair share of nice plate size fish being caught on both baits and plastics. I have had great success lately fishing soft plastics in waters between 12-15ft and using relatively light gear often reserved for bream or flathead. Downgrading leaders as low as 4lb is worth the risk of a bust off in order to get a bite and the odd decent fish. Downgrading soft plastic sizes to 2-3” have also worked a treat with the pick of the plastics being the 2” Gulp Shrimp in banana prawn colour. Rigged on a size 1/0 TT jighead, I have been switching between 1/8-1/6oz weights depending on wind speed and tidal flow. When the snapper are quiet, the trusty bream have shown their presence to keep us entertained between bigger catches.

Winter whiting have still been appearing throughout the bay with some modest bags being pulled from the southern beaches at Bribie and offshore from Nudgee Beach. Bloodworms and squid have been the pick of the baits with most catches occurring in the mid morning and afternoons especially on the receding tide.

Among the plethora of fish being caught in the bay lately, there has been a keen presence of Jew fish appearing off the reefs of Scarborough. This area has been quiet for quite a while, but now many reports have come in lately of anglers catching good size Jew mainly on soft plastics in the area. Hopefully everything is shaping up for this to continue over the next couple of months.

With spring upon us, we will welcome the warmer weather to the northern bay as the increasing water temperatures should keep the fishing activity at a premium. Not only will fishing activity increase but boating activity will also rise throughout Spring, so be sure to take good care on our waterways and exercise a little patience when using your local boat ramps. Happy fishing!

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