January Jacks
  |  First Published: December 2011

Happy New Year to all and welcome to what we hope will be a very productive fishing year. Warmer ocean currents should bring on the pelagic fish which generally congregate just outside the ‘Pin Bar.

Spanish and spotted mackerel, tuna, cobia, wahoo and even small marlin will be out chasing the bait schools and will be feeding all month long. Look for birds working the water or try fishing along the dirty waterline out from the bar if weather conditions are good.

The bar can be very dangerous so be sure to be safe and head out with someone who has experience in bar crossing.

Trolling dead baits like gar, yellowtail or slimeys is a great way to temp these hard fighting fish or simply just float line them out the back of the boat down a berley trail and hold on. If there is no surface action then trolling deep diving lures should also produce some fish.

If the days are sticky and hot then that’s a great time for mangrove jacks, cod and trevally. You will definitely need heavier gear than the traditional bream/flathead outfit that most of us have for fishing these waters. Usually 20-30lb line and leader should be enough but even then you will still lose big fish as I’ve seen jacks snap 80lb hand line tied to a handrail.

Live and bloody flesh baits will work the best but jacks will still take most baits like prawns, squid and pillies if they are in the mood. Or if you like to move around try trolling lures along rock walls or past sunken snags. You may lose a few lures but that is where the fish are and the nature of that sort of fishing.

Flathead are still going from strength to strength, as the ‘Pin area is the perfect habitat for them to thrive and breed. There is an abundance of small to medium lizards out there and the best part is they are becoming easier to catch with plastics. These fish are not just for the pros anymore, almost anyone can get into it and land good fish with limited tuition.

When chasing flathead, it is definitely worth the effort of flicking lures and there is no better feeling than the strike of a fish. Pillies are the go for bait fishers or try whitebait, froggies, prawns or hardiheads.

The hour before and after high tide has been the best time to fish so try planning your fishing trip around that. Best spots to try are the Top of Crusoe Island, Kalinga Bank, Cobby Passage and between Pandannus and Tipplers Island.

Whiting have been going well in the Pimpama and Logan rivers on blood and beach worms. January is a great time to fish for them as they move with the tide in search of a feed.

Using red tube and red beads with your worm bait is a great way to give your bait the appearance that there is more worm on your hook and temp the fish into a nibble. The pick spots to try are the sand flats near the Pig Styes, top of South Straddie, Tipplers Island and the mouth of the Logan River.

The crabs had a slow end to last year so lets hope they pick up in the New Year. Stick to the rivers and mangrove lined banks of the ‘Pin area for muddies and the deeper holes and drop-offs of the main channels for sandies.

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