Bream and Flathead Flurry
  |  First Published: February 2012

Summer is in full swing and predicting the weather is like picking the opening batters for the Aussie cricket team – a gamble!

With southeasterlies blowing, rain and the odd beautiful day thrown into the mix, the Northern Bay has copped its fair share of tumultuous weather but this hasn’t stopped the fishing from being above average for this time of the year.

Water temps have kept the fish very busy keeping the baitfish schooled up inshore, and therefore keeping the predators lurking. Water clarity has been an issue of late, with blustery winds churning up our beaches, which has made fishing challenging for even the best and most experienced anglers.

During this summer, mangrove jack have been the show stealers as anglers have enjoyed catching these toothy speedsters in all corners of our Northern Bay. The two hotspots over the past month have been the upper reaches of the Pine River and Coochin Creek at Bribie. Anglers have been targeting these streetfighters on the incoming tides, pitching their live baits and hardbody lures right up amongst the mangroves.

Upgraded leaders seem to be the key to landing jacks with anglers using a range of 12-20lb depending on the type of structure present but in most cases of fishing, you may have to sacrifice a few to bust off’s by fishing lighter leaders.

The odd small summer snapper have been appearing around the Redcliffe Peninsula over the past month keeping the bait anglers happy as the sizes have been ideal for the dinner plate. Lightly weighted pilchard halves and squid strips have been doing the damage with anglers finding the most rewards appearing on days when a mild 10-15 knot SE wind is blowing. This is due to bait schools being blown up and held around the reefs of Redcliffe making it an ideal hunting ground for small snapper.

Lure fanatics have also been rewarded in shallower waters with longer profile lures doing the trick. Bassday Sugar Minnow Slim 70 and Jackall Squirrel 61 have been the pick of the bunch with a slow rolling retrieve accounting for the majority of the catches.

While on the subject of luring, this brings me to my next two species that are summer specials and that would be the ever-present bream and the trusty flathead.

Bream have been in great numbers over the summer months and are set to continue this trend for the rest of this season. Throughout the school holidays, anglers have enjoyed landing these feisty fighters on land as well as out of a tinny. Choice of bait has been the key to success with the preferred presentations being mullet strips, green prawns and fresh yabbies. Keeping your baits lightly weighted as bream target anything floating throughout the water column that could potentially be their next meal.

Hardbody lures have also done their fair share of damage throughout the summer as light 2-3lb fluorocarbon leaders have helped breamers bag good quality fish. Lures of choice are Atomic Crank 38 deep in Ghost Wakasagi, Bassday Sugar Minnow Deep in colour C83, Jackall Chubby in clear shrimp and Pontoon 21 Crack Jack mid 48 in bleeding tiger prawn colour. Slow rolling retrieves with the occasional pause is your best bet, as bream love to follow their prey before striking. Topwater lures have also been working a treat with lure junkies getting good results on Bassday Sugarpens, Maria MP-1 and the trusty Megabass Dog X Jr with an erratic retrieve then pause being enough to entice the most finicky of bream.

Flathead have also been found in numbers recently with the pick of the areas being throughout the Pumicestone Passage especially around White Patch, Mission Point and the mouth of Ningi Creek. Good reports also have come in from the mouth of the Caboolture River, Scarborough Foreshore and the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek. Live poddy mullet, whitebait and soft plastics have been the biggest winners over the flathead this summer with the pick of the plastics being 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers in bloodworm and 3”Atomic Prongs. Targeting these bottom dwellers on the incoming tides is a must, as they lay dormant waiting for their next prey to pass by.

Another species taking the Pumicestone Passage by storm in the hotter months has been the humble summer whiting. The majority of the bags are being caught on the usual bloodworms, however, over the past months anglers have been catching good numbers on small surface lures, such as Atomic Pop 50, Ecogear Px55F and Bushy’s Stiffy Popper 50. Using these lures over shallow weed or rubble flats is a must-try as the surface strikes can be very exciting. Combine your lures with light fluorocarbon leaders and long pauses during your retrieves, and you are sure to come home with a few of these irresistible table delights.

While spending time this summer wetting a line on your boat, be sure to set out some crab pots as a few sand crabs and muddies are still being pulled throughout the Northern Bay. Places of interest are the lower reaches of the Pine River, Deception Bay and around the peninsula. Woody Point is especially for good sand crabs and for the muddies try the Upper Pine and Caboolture rivers, Cabbage Tree Creek and even Coochin Creek at Bribie. Ensure your pots are clearly marked with the right information as stated on the DPI Website.

Happy fishing and remember the sunscreen!

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