Winter is well and truly here and the mornings are getting colder and colder, so not as many people want to be heading out before sunrise to be getting a feed of fish.
We have many options in the Southern Bay for the anglers that want to sleep in a bit long and not get up at the crack of dawn. Bream, jew, flathead and squid; they are all great winter options.
Getting up into the shallows around the Islands can account for the variety of species aforementioned. One of my favourite winter options is chasing bream in the shallows. Whether it’s on topwater lures to small cranks and plastics, there is just something about hunting down big fish in under 2ft of water.
The good think about fishing the shallows in Moreton Bay is that you don't have to have a boat to do it. We have some really good bream and flathead territory that is easily accessible by kayak or even by wading the shore. Areas such as Cleveland Point, Ormiston, and Point O'Halloran are just a few.
Around the Islands a boat or kayak is definitely the way to go, as there is so much ground to fish and an electric motor assists you with covering the ground a little more effectively and stealthily.
Fishing topwater lures are definitely one of my favourite techniques for chasing bream in these areas. You are normally fishing over shallow reef, rock and rubble so it means you aren't hooking up on the bottom at all but also I love it because it is very visual. One of the most popular topwater lures is the Lucky Craft Sammy 65; it has one of the best walk the dog actions getting around. Poppers also work well but right up in the shallows I find the walk the dog or stickbait style work better as they don't have as an aggressive action.
Bream are very moody fish, so it pays to try different retrieves. Some days they will be super aggressive and will love the lure moving fast with no pauses. Other days they won't come near it unless you pause it for a few seconds. Some days they won't even look at a surface lure and that’s when your shallow minnows, cranks and soft plastics come in to play. Lures like the Maria MC-1, which is a super shallow crank that dives just 1-2ft, are very effective options. A slow roll is often the best retrieve for this style of lure.
As the bream up in the shallows can be very flighty, a real finesse approach is quite often needed. Whether it is topwater, slow rolling or hopping plastics, long casts and light leaders up to 6lb will definitely increase your catch rate.
Bream are not the only species you will run into up in the shallows at this time of year. Other common catch are flathead, tailor, trevally and even squid will also attack your topwater lures. It always pays to have a small 2 or 2.5 size squid jig tied on ready to go. A good feed of calamari never goes astray.
After fishing the rising tide for bream and squid in the morning, you can then spend the afternoon on the outgoing tide chasing some nice flathead. Bouncing plastics and casting lures at the edge of weed beds and sandbanks can produce some really good numbers of flathead at this time of year.
Finding the bottom with your lures is the most important thing when fishing for flathead. With plastics that is easy but if you are casting hard bodies you really need to know what depth you are fishing and what depth your lure dives to. You really want that lure bumping into the bottom and kicking up sand as you retrieve it back to the boat. If you aren't hitting the bottom you are wasting your time.
I generally use plastics in the 3-5” range in the shallow water, but when targeting them in the deeper holes I will go as big as 7”. When using hard bodies I will stick with lures in the 70-90mm range.
I know it’s harder to get out from under the blankets during these colder months, but I encourage you to still get out there amongst the fish through the day as there are still plenty of opportunities to hook onto a big one.
If you have any questions on this month’s article please come down and see us at Fish Head in the Town Centre, 349 Colburn Ave, Victoria Point, and we will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.Reads: 1335