Match the bait
  |  First Published: April 2012

The local creeks and rivers have had a good flush out over the last couple of months, which should make for some great fishing for next season.

When we’ve had a break in the weather, the bait has been in plague proportions around the bay islands. This will soon coincide with the start of the prawning season and should make for some great Moreton Bay sessions.

At this time of year I match my lures to the local bait, such as prawns, hardiheads and bay anchovies.

When the bigger bay prawns come in to season nothing likes eating them more than jewfish and snapper. This is a great time to be trying plastic profiles that really match the bait you see, like the Z-Man Shrimpz.

If you are fishing in the deeper areas of the bay and you can’t see the bait then check what is inside the fish you’ve been catching for a feed.

This method works on most species. For instance, flathead sometimes spew up something that they have just eaten. By matching the size and shape of the bait you will increase your catch and size of your fish.

The old theory of ‘big bait, big fish’ doesn’t always apply. Some of my biggest bay snapper have come on small 3-4” plastics and hardbodies. When you think about the bait that you encounter when fishing in the southern areas of the bay, that 3-4” size would make up 85% of the bait getting around. This is what the big fish in these areas are already feeding on, so it makes sense to use lures in that size range.

As we enter the cooler months of autumn, a popular species for lure anglers is the ever-elusive jewfish. There are many areas throughout the bay that hold jewfish; from the Brisbane River to the Jumpinpin. They are a very lazy fish that generally sit in sheltered structure in high current flow. Whether it is a tree-lined drop-off, a deep hole or pylons and pontoons, structures like this will hold jew. As most of the areas to target jew are in strong tidal flow, it is easier to fish the slack tide. However, this is not the only time they feed. If you have a spot where the tide is eddying, the jew will be sitting there waiting to pick off easy prey.

When deciding on gear, keep in mind that jew hang on or near the bottom, unless there is something drawing them up to the surface such as bait. You want to be bouncing soft plastics along the bottom or over structure. Whether it is a paddle-tail, curl-tail or jerk shad they all work well. I tend to stick with either the paddle-tail or curl-tail as I find it gets more of a reaction bite out of the fish, especially when they are a little shutdown.

On the offshore scene, there has been some really good snapper getting around over the last month on the shallow reefs. There have also been good reports of Spanish mackerel along the shallow coffee rock on Moreton. When you are chasing the Spanish in the shallows, trolling livies and dead baits seem to be the most productive method.

If you have any queries or questions on anything that I have written in this month’s column or enquires about products I have mentioned, please don’t hesitate to come down and see us at Fish Head in the Victoria Point Town Centre.

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