It’s not all about jack
  |  First Published: February 2014

If you aren’t outside enjoying our beautiful summer, then you are not really living. With beautiful hot days and cooling storms in the afternoon, anglers have been rewarded for their early morning starts and late night jaunts maximizing exposure to the best bite periods in the day.

While most are harping on about the infamous mangrove jack that is around this time of year, I’m going to start with what other species are biting and where.

Good-sized flathead around the 55cm-60cm mark are being nabbed during these summer months with flooding tides and sandy terrain being the key clues to finding a feed. Both long slender hardbody lures and fresh mullet strips have been the favourites amongst anglers with long wind drifts working for the lure fanatics.

Reefy areas like Redcliffe and Scarborough have been quiet on the flathead front, but good reports have come out or Cooks and Tiger Rocks at Sandstone Point, White Patch and Turners Creek Road through the passage, Hays Inlet and the mouth of the Pine River from Bald Hills Creek to the Hornibrook Bridge. Reports have also come out of the Shorncliffe between the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek and Shorncliffe Pier.

Summer whiting numbers have also been steady as anglers have been getting good catches up the Pine, just past the highway bridge. Bloodworms have been the best bait but be quick as tackle stores are finding it hard to keep up with demand.

Other areas showing good form of late are Red Beach, Coochin Creek and Skirmish Point at Bribie; numbers have been down but quality is good. Anglers have also had success with fresh yabbies, with the incoming tide being the prime fishing time.

Bream numbers have been good throughout this summer so far and are set to continue through next month. Water temperatures and the presence of bait have kept the bream around. High tide spots like the mouth of the Brisbane River, Dohles Rocks, Cooks Rocks at Sandstone Point, Donnybrook Flats, the mouth of Ningi Creek and North Reef have worked well lately with bream around the 26-29cm fork length being the staple.

On the receding tide, remember that bream like to retreat and head for deeper areas feeding in the safety of the deep. Low tide areas are working well lately, including the Bribie Bridge and mouth of Spinnaker Sound, the deeper reefs off Scarborough, outer Woody Point and The Wells. Also worth a try on the run-out tide is the mouth of the Pine River, as over the last month it has been holding good bait that has been moving with the tide, flooding Bramble Bay on the ebbing tides.

Lightly weighted baits like prawns, chicken and mullet have been working well for the baitos, as for the lure fanatics deeper cranks like Ecogear CX40HS and SX43, Atomic Shiner 45, Jackall Chubby Minnow Deep and OSP Dunk 48. Surface lures have also worked to great effect with warmer waters present in all corners of the bay. OSP Bent Minnows, Berkley Scum Dogs, Bassday Sugarpens and Atomic K9 Walkers are the pick of the lures with clearer colours doing the trick.

River bass junkies have also had fun of late with increased water temperatures firing up the bass for kayak-equipped and land-based anglers. Hardbodies and spinnerbaits have been successful with anglers hitting the upper reaches of the Pine River to great success.

For the adventurous, the upper reaches of the Brisbane River near College’s Crossing has also been fishing well for bass but be sure to stay out of the water if thinking of swimming for snagged lures as the warmer weather has increased the presence of bull sharks.

Now back to the northern bay, night anglers have been catching legal sized mulloway over the last month with the standout areas being the Bribie Bridge and the Brisbane River. As baitfish are attracted to light, mulloway have been stalking these areas waiting for an opportune time to pounce. Live baiting, large soft plastics and large vibration baits have been the weapon of choice for these eager night fishers with subtle retrieves working well with the artificial baits.

Extra caution is needed when fishing the night hours as land-based anglers find navigating a challenge. Be sure to have adequate lighting when both land-based and on a boat as safety should be your number one aim (besides catching a big mulloway, of course!).

Sand crabs have been reported in decent numbers with Deception and Bramble bays showing good wears over the last month. Outside Woody Point and the Bribie end of Deception Bay have produced the best numbers with anglers leaving their pots longer for greater rewards.

Remember to keep sun safe over the remaining months as summer looks like it may be a little long in the tooth. Fresh drinking water is also a must, to eliminate the chance of dehydration. Carbonated drinks unfortunately won’t cut the hydration mustard so be sure to have at least 2L per angler on board when you head out next.

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