Prawns the key to threadfin
  |  First Published: December 2007

Over the past few months my fishing trips have once again changed focus. I have moved away from the bay islands chasing big squid and bream back to the river targeting the resident threadfin salmon. It’s great fun targeting a relatively new species to our waterway, trying to understand their unique habits, time, area, tide, food source, structure and moon phase are only some of the things that go into trying to map out a particular species.

Over the next year or so I am planning to target these fish over the entire length of the river. Hopefully following them from the mouth, up-stream towards Ipswich where they take up residence in the brackish, semi-tidal regions of the river and gorge on the annual prawn migration.

I aim to give an accurate report each month on where and how to target these monster fish every few months. Throughout January the areas to target will be much the same as the last few months. Flats adjacent to deep water, around the mouths of creeks, or where ever the prawns school in relative shallow water, will hold threadfin. Being in the area when they move through in schools is the key to success.

I have found lately they are much more aggressively feeding on the change of the tides with the low water definitely being the better bite period. I have caught them in six different locations from the Gateway Bridge to the mouth in the last few weeks and each time I find them they are in areas that hold good numbers of flathead and whiting. Flathead and the odd shallow feeding snapper are the main bi-catch when fishing the flats for threadies. Areas worth a look are at the mouths of Bulimba and Boggy creeks, the flats on the northern side of the river at the mouth, and any of the sandy areas from the Gateway to the mouth.

Prawns are another key sign to look for when targeting threadfin. Both times we have ventured out after dark of late we only started catching fish when the prawns started to flick on the surface across the flats. Both times the water was glassed-out which made it easy to see the surface action and target the areas where the prawns were most jittery. The prawns should hang around the mouth of the river for another month or so, so it’s worth getting out and targeting a threadfin before they move on for another year.

What’s on the chew?

Most species that live in and around the mouth of the river are active at tis time of year, feeding up on the readily available prawns. It’s a great time of year to be fishing the river so get out and enjoy what’s on offer.

Crabs have shown up in the river and around the bay island with vengeance. The season started a little late compared with previous years but hopefully it will last longer. Good numbers of sand crabs are being caught just past the reefed flats around most of the smaller bay islands like Green, St Helena and Mud Islands and around the river mouth and both sides of the Boat Passage. I’ve been getting some nice crabs in the deeper water from the Gateway Bridge to Pinkenbar boat ramp.

Bream have started to improve in numbers around the mouth coinciding with the annual prawn migration. A good option is the Pinkenbar rock wall and the sunken wall at the mouth. Small hard body lures like Ecogear SX40 work a treat at night on a flooding tide, while strips of fresh mullet or gar fished unweighted across the structure also catches heaps of fish.

Flathead and whiting are around in reasonable numbers across the numerous tidal flats around the boat passage and the mouth of the river. For the land based anglers, it’s a good time of the year to wade the flats on both sides of the Boat Passage for a feed of whiting and good size flathead.

Snapper and the occasional jew are being caught along most of the shipping terminals from the Hamilton stretch to the mouth. Bait fishing these areas has slowed up for majority of anglers, but you may still have success if you work for and have actual clearance to fish from the docks. Port Security has stoped boats anchoring alongside the docks only allowing anglers to fish under the power of an electric motor. This stops most of the bait fishos getting close enough to fish these areas successfully.

Prawns are worth targeting around the south east for the next few months. They have only just started in the local creeks and river mouths so if you’re not ready yet you still have time. Prawns start their annual migration around late November in the river and continue through into March and early April. They move out of the numerous creeks and estuaries early in the New Year (or with a good fresh water flush) to the flats in Bramble and Moreton Bays, before they move back into the systems. Later in the year around March the prawn population in the southern bay explodes and the majority of action in the south east corner is concentrated around the southern bay islands and the mouth of the Logan river. It is worth having a cast net handy in the boat for the next few months as large schools of prawns can appear anywhere.

Mackerel are being caught around the shipping markers throughout the bay. They are very patchy at present with good catches one day and nothing the next. Keep moving, just try each marker for a few minutes until you find them. I’ve been getting a few by fishing wide of the boats anchored around the beacons. I’ve been casting Ecogear Grassminnow M soft plastics on ¼ ounce jig heads rigged and slow lolling them mid water back to the boat. I’ve rigged them on a small single strand trace about 10cm long to stop bite offs. Cast towards the anchored boats, sinking the plastic to about half or two thirds of the way to the bottom before starting a slow to medium constant retrieve.

Tuna should start to move around the bay and will travel large distances depending on the prevailing winds and food supply. Keep an eye out for the next few months when travelling around the bay because tuna are fun to catch and make great crab bait and strip baits for tailor season.

The bay islands are producing great catches of bream in the shallows on surface poppers and shallow subsurface hard bodies. Small snapper, with the occasional larger specimen and estuary cod are in abundance around the reefed ledges and at night along the reeded flats. When the wether allows it, it’s worth fishing the shallows at night with poppers or larger minnow style lures for a mixed bag of species. Lures like Ecogear MW 62 and MW 72 work great for this style of shallow flats fishing.

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