Time for hide and seek
  |  First Published: December 2013

The silly season is here again. It’s inevitable our waterways will be turned upside down with boat traffic; jet skis, wake boats, anglers and sail boats, the list goes on. This can often shut the fish down as they lay low and go into hiding.

How to beat it and still catch a feed? You will need very early morning sessions or late into the night under the cover of darkness, and go high up in the creeks or tuck yourself away behind a mangrove island. Now this can work in your favour as on the high end of the tide, fish love these areas.

The whiting around the passage are a main target. There have been great results when the water pushes well up in the mangrove system in 1-2ft of water well away from the rat race of the main channel. Very seldom do they feed with consistent results on low tide.

I’ve seen some great fish of late coming from Glassy Creek mud flats; again this is a high tide target area.

Head to the middle reaches of the passage as it is easy to tuck behind an island out of the way as the place is full of these little islands. If you’re up around the northern end, target the mount of Bells Creek and east from there out on the flats hard up against the mangrove system.

Although at times you will get frustrated with the traffic and the noise it brings, we are still spoilt with options.

Fish the creeks. We all know what lives high up in the creeks – big estuary cod and the mighty mangrove jack. Although these guys are dirty fighters, making them hard to catch, it’s well worth it when the luck swings your way.

Just remember when targeting these guys it’s all or nothing. Never switch off or turn your back. They have the power and know-how to ruin you and your tackle time after time.

When you do land one of these guys it’s nothing to see some bling hanging from their lips, up to 3 or more hooks, and then you will realise how brutal they can be. I have caught both species with hooks hanging from their lips deep in their throat and wire trace hanging out of their waste deposit chute.

They love lures and bait so whatever you target them with is up to you. Run with what you’re most comfortable with and be patient. Patience is one of the key factors in being successful in this sport.

Hitting the canals can also be effective over the festive season. Although there is a lot of boat activity it is speed limited to 6 knots; this means no wash and very little noise. As a rule, fish feeding habits should remain the same and hopefully the results should follow.

The Jacks have been feeding high up in the brackish water so when you think you’ve gone too far, go a bit further, the end results may be surprising.

The bream have been a go-to target if you need a feed or just want some fun. Go high up on the weed beds on a flooding tide. The Toorbul banks around Parrot Island have been loaded with fish, not all big but loads of fun all the same.

Lime Pocket seems to be holding bream as well as grunter up to 2kg; these guys really know how to pull line and are also A1 quality on the table.

There are still a few duskies getting snagged around the mouth of Ningi Creek and Caboolture River. Not bad-sized fish but not huge, between 40-60cm. Good fun for the kids learning to throw plastics. Once they land a couple they will be hooked for life, I know I was and it sure beats riding skateboards.

The old blue swimmers are still kicking around with results varying from day to day, but generally speaking you can’t miss a feed. South of the Bridge is best but it tends to get busier the closer you get to the bridge. You will need to weigh up your options; heaps of boat traffic and heaps of crabs or you can head north up the passage for lots less traffic and a few less crabs, but very relaxing.

The marine life kicking around is astounding at the moment. We have turtles, heaps of huge dugongs and dolphins everywhere you turn all the way from Donnybrook south out into the Bay; so slow down take a look around and take it all in and have a fat time. Ho ho ho!

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