The cold is here and this month it’s all about the bream and snapper that have moved in to spawn and feed on all the bait that’s in the bay at the moment.
Most significant reefs are holding snapper up to 85cm with the Burrum 8 Mile, Artificial and Arch Cliffs being the closest hot spots. Rooneys Reef and the gutters are prime territory for those with the capabilities of getting out further.
Store bought baits worth trying are pilchards, garfish, mullet fillets and California-style squid. Local baits worth a shot include yakka, pike, herring, big prawns and fresh squid. The effort to obtain local bait pays off and don’t be afraid to try them live, all of my best snapper have been caught on live bait.
When live bait isn’t happening or you don’t have the time, then plastics are the answer. Plastics have the ability to select out the bigger fish from the little ones and are deadly on snapper. Fish your preferred patterns as light as you can and hang on!
Other fish being caught amongst the snapper have been coral bream, trout, cod, nannygai and blackall that all respond to the same techniques used for catching snapper.
Big bream are everywhere marauding prawns, small crabs and baitfish around creek mouths, rock bars, mangroves and on the flats.
Bait fishing is taking the numbers but plastics and hard bodies are pulling the quality. Fish in the 40-45cm range have been smashing lures fished tight to structure and can be seen pushing smaller fish out the way to get to the lure. You can expect to lose a bit of gear this way, but the quality makes up for it.
Grunter have increased in numbers and are another good option on lures or bait and can be found on our local reefs as well as up the creeks and in the shallows.
Flathead are still fishing well and tend to be caught as by-catch, as they respond to most styles of fishing.
Winter whiting have been a little scattered last month but hopefully are holding in bigger schools now. So grab the beanie and get amongst the red-hot winter fishing in the bay this month!Reads: 935