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A great start to the season
  |  First Published: November 2011



November is here and hopefully we can rely on some consistent weather patterns. This should only improve on what has been a great start to the season.

Nearly all impoundments showed promise early and the rivers above and below our dam walls have been fishing particularly well. With a lot of country underwater our options for fishing these areas are fantastic.

Insects in various stages of life attract a broad range of feeding habits from all our native favourites. Spin, fly, bait casters and bait all have something to offer when targeting native fresh water species.

These days it seems more and more people are specialising some of their sessions to target one particular species, so let’s have a look at one such species in closer detail: silver perch.

These fish are often over looked as bass and saratoga enjoy most of the attention. Small shrimp patterns and tight swimming minnows are very effective, as are small surface cicada imitations. These freshwater rockets can produce blistering runs when hooked in open water or in tight tree lined corridors.

Silvers love areas with either sandy or gravel bottom and shallow fast moving water. One point to remember is these fish have a small mouth and are just as happy to forage near the bottom as they are chasing the artificials. Silvers are in greater numbers than you may think and are a good option when other natives are quiet.

Bass also take a variety of baits and artificials with small and medium hardbodied lures popular choices, but don’t forget large boney bream and garfish are a bass favourite. Large plastics can produce great results particularly in our dams. Their big bucket mouths have no problems sucking down shad and jerk baits up to 12cm.

Estuaries

Our estuaries throughout November are always a family favourite with clean skies and warming water making a great range of sport and table fish available to us. Whiting and flathead continue to keep us busy with additional larger more aggressive species on offer as well.

Jacks, queenies, trevally and grunter all make their presence felt as the temperature rises on the run up to Christmas. Lures, plastics and live baiting are all ways to round up these larger targets.

Night fishing also becomes more appealing this time of year, so check safety gear and lighting before heading out.

Popping for whiting continues to become more popular and is an exciting way to catch these tasty Queensland icons. Good polarised sunglasses are a must for this type of angling, as keeping tabs on fish under a wind rippled surface can be a difficult task.

If you’re more a traditionalist, a session using bloodworms is always a great way to chase those trophy 40cm+ fish.

Baiting fishing for whiting also gives us a chance to keep in touch with some of our older equipment that many of us grew up with. Long soft rods, very light line and Alvey reels are still very popular and will be around for a long time to come.

Bait fishing also gives us a good opportunity for a vast range of bait gathering activities, which are always popular with kids. Pumping yabbies, gathering solider crabs and cast netting are all things the whole family can enjoy.

Flathead, grunter and bream are a regular by-catch when using bloodworm baits for whiting and are a welcome addition to any esky.

The best way to keep your catch in good condition is to mix two bags of party ice with 10L of seawater. Chilled fish also makes for easy filleting and skinning at the end of the day.

The Bay

Hopefully the wind will leave us alone to enjoy some bay fishing this month as plenty of anglers are gearing up for spotty mackerel and other late spring and early summer targets.

While spotties patrol the entire bay area, a good option for a shorter trip is the ocean side of Bribie Island. Strong easterly and southeasterly winds can pack vast amounts of bait on this section of coast and when the wind subsides a window of good conditions appears.

Trolling is a great way to find mackerel of all types as they are rarely in small schools. Hardbodied lures trolled at varying depths will do for starters and once a feeding depth is discovered, adjust accordingly.

Double hook ups are common when the fish are on, so attention needs to be taken on where your mate’s fish is in relation to yours. Erratic swim patterns, sharp teeth and crossing lines will always end in disappointment if things are rushed.

Spotties can be handled by one person if need be with a trail grab when your mates are too busy to provide help. A glove is a good accessory for this type of capture.

After locating a school of feeding mackerel in close to coastlines, drifting with a feeding school can be an exciting affair. Switch to cast and retrieve and remember that the presence of a boat can send the whole school down.

If all goes quiet, sinking a wide variety of lures can search the deeper water for fish still feeding. If no result is achieved repeat the process by starting another trolling run to locate the same or different school.0

If bait is more your speed spotties are always happy to oblige. Pilchards, slimies and herring are all great choices for fish baits and flesh baits are popular as well. Baits can be fished at a variety of depth, however when conditions allow unweighted bait is preferred by most dedicated mackerel fishers.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to be in the company of two Bribie locals fishing 25m off Bribie and witnessed firsthand just how it’s done. These guys used their combined 60 years of experience to catch fish on bait and lures with no assistance from berley as the bait schools were thick. It was truly awesome!

A falling tide seems popular for fishing close to coast lines. A few spotties each is all that’s needed to feed your family and the neighbours, so maximum bag limits don’t need to be filled.

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