Everything on the chew
  |  First Published: February 2014

Out of all the seasons my favourite is summer, because as the water temperatures rise throughout our local canals we see a lot of fish getting on the bite. We've already seen some magnificent catches of mangrove jack and large flathead, and even the queenfish and tailor have turned up! In the heat of summer I've found I catch a fair few bream and flathead on the high tide around midday.

The Runaway Bay canal really fires up in summer. I've found that in the afternoons on the high tide the big-eye trevally have been pushing baitfish to the surface and feeding (busting up), though only for few seconds. You’ll notice that trevally will hit the surface along the rock walls at all times of the day around both bridges in that main channel out the back of the shops.

If you like chasing whiting, try fishing the Nerang River around the Council Chambers. This should see you hook up to a quality fish, with the best bait being bloodworms and jelly prawns. Nerang River can hold large mangrove jacks, thick schools of trevally, quality bream, whiting and a lot more species.

A lot of bream hit the canals at this time of year, that's why you see a lot of expensive boats fishing throughout the canals in search of a tournament-winning bag of bream. Last year from February to April I had my best few months on bream fishing – I landed exactly 60 bream, all on lures.

Most mouths of the canals from Southport to Coomera are pretty deep. In these depths, you should find school sized mulloway, flathead, bream and trevally. The most productive baits in most situations are heavily weighed pilchards, whitebait and live bait. Lures to use are 3-5" plastics with a 1/4oz jighead with a 3/0 hook size. The best times are early in the morning at 5-6am and late afternoon from around 5-7pm.

In the next month or two we should see a lot more GTs coming on the bite and queenfish hitting the surface on tiny jelly prawns. Matching the bait is critical, and I’ve caught most of my fish on 2" plastics.

March is a prime time to target mangrove jacks on the surface. If you walk the dog with a surface stickbait or make big bloops with a popper you should see some topwater action. The water temps should decrease a little as the slightly cooler months set in. This is a great time to target moses perch, painted sweetlip (slatey bream), flathead and trevally.

This time last year I landed my PB whiting at 46cm, and already I've seen some quality whiting coming in at around 40cm by other anglers, so this year I reckon we will see loads more elbow slappers getting caught. Places to fish for quality whiting are Biggera Waters, Coombabah, Coomera and Nerang River, also well up to Jacobs Well.

Overall, February (and March) is a great time of year for most of our local estuarine species, from Southport (Main Beach) up to Coomera and Ormeau.

Until next time, tight lines and I’ll see you out on the water!

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