Hot coffee, ugg boots, doonas and beanies – here we go again! Winter is here and I for one am excited. There is plenty on offer for those out there early.
A doona on the boat may be a little over the top, however keeping warm this winter on the water may just be the ticket to keeping that unwanted cold and flu at bay. This means more fishing time.
Those anglers who have been braving the cooler early mornings have been rewarded of late with good reports coming out of all corners of our lovely Northern Bay. With the fresh southwesterly winds greeting us in the early mornings, this has been the pick of the times to fish as abundant bait schools have been on the move early to seek the warmth of the morning sun.
Snapper have been the big mover over the last month and we are set to have quite a good season. The Peninsula has definitely been the pick of the spots in particular North Reef at Scarborough and south of the green zone at Woody Point. Pumicestone Passage has also had it’s fair share of snapper action with anglers bagging fish at White Patch and deeper waters of Donnybrook.
Anglers have had success on both soft plastics and baits with a lot of the fish falling to the 6”Atomic Plazos Jerk Minnow in ghost orange and 5” Z-Man Streakz in root beer.
For the diehard bait angler, you can’t go past pilchard halves, fillets of mullet or pike and even squid. It’s also worth adding a little berley trail of mashed up pilchard pieces or loose bait discards to increase your chance of hooking a decent snapper.
When anchored up, it’s best throwing your lightly weighted baits up current and allowing them to drift back into the strike zone to maximize your chances. This technique should also be used with your soft plastic presentation.
Winter whiting are starting to filter through the bay for their annual pilgrimage. Reports of increasing numbers have been coming from areas outside Deception Bay, Beachmere and even the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek. Sand Whiting have still been caught in good numbers at Bribie with Ningi Creek, Lime Pocket and the southern beaches being the places to produce good fish.
Bloodworms are certainly the best bait with fresh yabbies being a very close second. Fishing the flooding tide has been prime time as these foraging feeders follow waters as they rise over sand banks and mud flats.
Flathead numbers have been on the rise over these cooler months with catches around the bay being very common! Due to the abundance of bait holding around river and creek mouths, targeting these areas has been the recipe for success especially in the Pine River and the upper reaches of the Pumicestone Passage.
Lightly weighted baits and slowly retrieved shad style or curl tail soft plastics have been doing the damage. Due to sluggish nature of flathead in decreased water temperatures, a slower retrieval works best with a few hops added in to entice even the slowest of flathead to eat.
For the lure angler, large, slender jerkbaits around 50-70mm have been working a treat but be sure to upgrade your leader size as your outing may turn into an expensive one like mine recently! I’ll learn one day.
Bream have started their annual spawn in the Northern Bay and report of solid fish bagged especially around the full and new moon phases.
When chasing bream early morning be sure to target shallower waters with crankbaits or lightly weighted plastics as these aggressive predators are rather ravenous at this time of the day. Lures generating the greatest interest have been Atomic Crank 38’s, Ecogear CX35HS, and Bassday Kangoku Shads. Light leaders have also increased catch rates during this winter as water clarity has been good despite rainy periods.
Squid numbers have been sporadic around The Peninsula lately but the next few weeks should see a rise in catches especially in shallower waters. A high rod tip and slow rolling retrieves often work well in these areas but remember to maintain line tension when you hook up to one as most squid jigs on the market have barbless hooks making it easy to remove these cephalopods once landed.
Reports of tailor throughout the bay have also been flooding in over the past weeks with anglers snagging good sizes on pilchards, shad style soft plastics and chrome slugs. Due to the numbers of good bait schools around, tailor have shown an increased presence, so don’t be surprised if you encounter one when retrieving your baits back to the boat. This is the prime time for these toothy speedsters to strike.
I look forward to braving the cold mornings in the following weeks – it is one of my favourite times of year for fishing, so don’t be shy to put on your favourite uggies and rug up as there are no fashion police in the Northern Bay!Reads: 970