January is here with all the things we expect; heat and humidity, and great fishing options.
On the estuarine front things are steady, with flathead, bream, whiting, and crabs being the most popular targets for families during the holidays.
These bread and butter species are important during the holiday periods as many of us hang up the specialist equipment, and head out with the family; which often include young children, just busting to catch something.
The Pine River just keeps on giving for these species, and offers vast sand flats at low tide for stretching the legs and bait gathering.
Bribe Island and Pumicestone Passage are pick locations for the family day trip as well. Queenfish, trevally, and jacks also get thrown into the mix.
Sand and mud crabs are in good numbers at present right across the South East.
Redcliffe foreshores are fishing well, and are a good option for shore-based family days out. Bloodworms are the gun bait as always, with live yabbies a close second.
The hot conditions provide great opportunities in our freshwater dams and lakes for early morning and afternoon sessions, involving all out native species.
North Pine and Kurwongbah are still keeping anglers busy with bass, goldens, and saratoga, in all areas available to shore-based anglers.
Tilapia are a regular catch for many bait anglers in both dams and give great sport on light gear. They are noxious fish so pay attention to all the regulations that apply.
Spinner baits are still going strong and lipless crankbaits have been a popular choice with many customers last month.
When travelling out to the many creeks and rivers, there are many freshwater aquarium fish on offer. A list of these are included in the freshwater section of the boating and fishing regulations. Small traps and scoop nets can be used to catch them and most natives will require a lot less attention than their tropical cousins.
Threadfin salmon are still keeping a lot of anglers busy in the lower reaches on a wide range of lures and plastics. And keep in mind that a lightly weighted live prawn is hard to pass up for most threadfin.
Whiting and flathead are in good numbers around the month and surrounding flats. Snapper are also always about in the outstanding fishery.
Mulloway are still being caught, but numbers and size are falling a little due to warmer water. Bull sharks are popular with many young anglers and truly are tackle busters. Heavy equipment is a must for these river rockets.
Bream are showing up in good numbers, particularly in the mid to upper reaches.
There are still some good snapper getting caught around Scarborough Reef, which is a good place to go particularly for those on kayaks. There are a lot of by-catch to be caught like bream and estuary cod, all of which can be readily got on soft plastic or bait. The water can be shallow around Scarborough so it doesn’t hurt to do a reconnaissance mission on low tide to get to know the area.
Curtain artificial has been doing well for snapper, cod and even the odd marlin have been caught there in recent times. Curtain does have a fast running current as it is close to shore with the channel running straight through it. Use live bait on about a 6-10 ball sinker (depending on run) and drift over the wrecks to target kingies, cobia and snapper. Once you have finished your drift motor back up quietly and do the drift again.
Mud Island has also been fishing fairly well with some decent pan-sized grassy sweetlip and small snapper. You can fish all sides of the island so it is easy to get out of the chop for a more comfortable trip. Remember to get a good berley trail going and the fish will come to you. Be patient though, berley will take from 10-30 minutes to work depending on the run in the water.
It’s looking like a very promising summer with good numbers of marlin and wahoo coming from the Trench all the way to the cape of Morton (26 56 000S) (153 25 000E).
Keep a close eye on the sounder to locate the bait schools and temperature. Feeding birds and or dolphins are also indications of bait. Temperature between 23-26ºC are ideal. Locate the bait and there’s a good chance you’ll find the fish. Troll pusher style lures around 200mm in length.
Live baiting with yellowtail or slimy mackerel is another option for those chasing pelagic speedsters. The use of a teaser can be advantages as it will help get the attention of fish in the area.
Snapper are still being caught around the Cape on soft plastics with the bonus of some very good quality spangled emperor. Some good fish are getting caught on even small 3” Z-Man but you can use anything up to 8” plastics. Berkley Gulp are another favourite plastic for the offshore boys. Use jigheads from 3/8oz to 1/2oz around the shallow waters of the cape depending on the amount of run in the water. In the deeper water around Deep Tempest you may need to go up to a 2oz head.
Cobia are still about so don’t forget to get your berley and live baits out. Western Rocks at the top of Morton Island is a great place to fish, especially in a southeast breeze. – Don Toole and Ben UlettReads: 950