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You have to admit, it’s getting better
  |  First Published: December 2011



Christmas is almost here and things just keep getting better on our local coastline and estuaries.

ESTUARIES

Flathead, whiting and bream are all showing up in good numbers. Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage are also producing some fantastic whiting action. A rising tide in most locations is still favoured after speaking to a wide range of anglers.

The Redcliffe foreshore has been holding up its reputation as an excellent whiting ground, with quality fish in all areas. Worms are still the most popular bait, but other options are yabbies, soldier crabs, squid and fresh peeled prawns.

Jacks are getting a lot of attention now with plenty of good catches on hardbodies. A few worth trying are the Maria MJ.1 D9OF, Pontoon 21 Greedy Guts and Crack Jack, all of which have taken fish recently. Remember a dark moon through our warmer months is the best time for chasing jacks, particularly in upper reaches of rivers, creeks and canals.

If bait is preferred, fresh strip baits fished on wide gape hooks is a great start. These hooks are excellent for single pinning strip baits and produce clean hook-ups.

Live baiting for jacks is best done with smaller baits if possible to ensure good hook contact on strike.Headlands are a popular spot this time of year with many species on offer. If taking part in this type of fishing pay attention to the ocean and don’t fish alone. Preparation is paramount in this form of our sport, as much of the equipment is specialised. Footwear and personal floatation are a must in heavy conditions.

FRESHWATER

The freshwater scene is cruising along nicely and all natives are active, as expected.

Saratoga always make an appearance about now and are in good numbers. These fish are interesting in many ways, not only a voracious surface feeder their diet also consists of caddis, fish, shrimp and grubs, so surface fishing is not your only option.

Lake Borumba is truly a hot spot for these fish with good facilities and beautiful views.

Togas have extremely hard mouths so well sharpened hooks are a must. Consider switching to single hooks for hardbodies to help penetrate and hold while they do their usual series of jumps during retrieve. The township of Imbil is able to cover all your needs during your stay at Lake Borumba.

Local dams fish well now and during the holiday period although they do see a lot more traffic. Searching shorelines, coves and small bays can be very rewarding when main bodies of water are too busy to fish.

Somerset, North Pine and Lake Kurwongbah are fishing well with everybody enjoying high water levels. Shore-based anglers at North Pine are doing very well lately with some thumping 50cm+ bass showing up regularly on bait and artificials.

Goldens will be patrolling the shallow edges of dams from now until February so put some casts in before you walk to the waterline from a crouched position: this can be an effective tactic.

Redclaw are always plentiful around Christmas and if possible make much better eating if they are purged for 48 hours prior to cooking. Regular water changes make for a great meal. Try to keep your bait in the centre of your trap as this will improve your catch numbers greatly.

MORETON BAY

Moreton Bay continues to fish well with cobia a stand out. Spotties should thicken as this month progresses and school mackerel are a welcome by-catch. Mud Island has been producing some good cod on lures trolled over shallow rubble and they are a regular for this area in December.

Emperors and snapper are still obtainable but an early start is essential if a night session can’t be arranged. Tuna through October and November have been difficult on some days in all areas of the bay so a quiet approach to these fish is most important.

Back to cobia for a second: when conditions allow, unweighted drift baits are very effective on cobia as they are on other large bay species. Fish of 40kg+ can be possible in the bay as well as offshore so terminal tackle needs to be top shelf. All in all, the bay is a busy place right through the holidays, so take care and register your trip.

OFFSHORE

On the offshore front, the usual suspects for great top water fishing should be rearing to go, with Spanish mackerel and wahoo on top of the list for most small craft offshore fishos.

Trolling for Spanish mackerel and wahoo goes up a notch from bay work, with higher speeds one obvious difference. Lure type is important when making this jump, not only must they track well, there is also the tooth factor on our previously mentioned targets, so sturdy construction is a big help. Some good choices if you’re just getting started, are the Laser Pro Series from Halco, Rapala CD-18 and Lively Lures bibless mack bait.

Pearl perch from all regular offshore haunts are a welcome addition to any esky at this time of year and have fished well on the lead up to Christmas.

When preparing your mackerel instead of cutting traditional steaks, try filleting and boning. This method allows your catch to be prepared in different portion sizes and many more styles of cooking, including baking and casseroles, without the worry of bones ruining the dish.

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