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Baitfish bring bread and butter species
  |  First Published: February 2015



What good fishing weather we’ve had! Yes, we have had the occasional rainy overcast day and windy weekend but on a whole the days have been quite favourable for anglers both inshore and off.

As we soldier through the steamy summer, fishing has been good throughout the northern bay with the staple species of bream, sand whiting and flathead showing us the value of a day out on the water.

Offshore has also been fruitful for the adventurous anglers with mahimahi, spotty mackerel and small black marlin hitting the decks with high frequency during this month showing us baitfish have been holding well in the bay.

During the start of our summer we experienced plenty of northeasterly winds, which had quite an effect on the northern bay as it pushed all the bait schools down to the south. During this last month, we have had our seasonal southeasterly winds making a comeback, which has fired up our bay and brought back the much-needed food to our northern waters.

FLATHEAD

I love this time of year for fishing our estuaries and inshore waters as you can pretty much guarantee you are going to encounter a lizard somewhere. We don’t quite breed them as big as the southern coast waters but we do commonly encounter numbers around the 60-70cm mark.

Fast flowing tidal areas with swirling waters are a perfect backdrop to hooking good lizards so be on the lookout at your local fishing hole for these areas with anchoring up being the best option.

Live baits or mullet strips are favoured by flathead in the summer months with soft plastics being a great option for the lure fanatics. Offerings such as the 3” Z-Man Grubz, 3” Atomic Jerk Minnows and 3” Keitech Easy Shiners rate high on the agenda with brighter colours catching the eyes of these bottom feeders. It pays to experiment with jighead weight depending on water depth, but I find a 1/0 suitable for most situations.

Hot spots over the last month have been White Patch, Mission Point and the mouth of Elimbah Creek in the Pumicestone Passage. Hays Inlet, beneath the Ted Smout Bridge and Bald Hills Creek in the Pine River and the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek also fire well, especially during a low light ebbing tide.

SAND WHITING

Sand whiting numbers have been nice and steady recently and should continue with the hot weather.

Outside the Powerboat Club at Caloundra and the surf side around Skirmish Point have been the pick of the spots up at Bribie Island with Margate Beach also showing some numbers during the fuller tides.

Bloodworm and squid strips are the stand out baits but while fishing the surf, but pipis are definitely worth a try also with the off chance you may even get some good dart during your session. The addition of red plastic tubing through your line just above your hook has been a must for whiting anglers for years and has proven itself of late with many anglers keeping this tradition alive.

BREAM

A reliable indication for increased bait schools in an area is usually the presence of bream both big and small. The Redcliffe Peninsula has shown better than average numbers of bream with good consistency shown by sizes around 27-28cm fork length. Many of these have been roaming in packs of 6-8 so be sure to remove your hooked fish quickly as there is a high chance you may be on again.

Mullet strips, chicken breast and peeled prawns have been the most successful baits this summer with a lot of anglers also getting good hauls on hardbodied lures and soft plastics like Cranka Cranks, Atomic Shiner 45, Ecogear CX35HS, Jackall Chubbies, Z-Man Grubz and Gulp Crabbies. Transparent colours have been working a treat, as water clarity has been quite good.

The Peninsula hasn’t been the only place firing with bream with our estuaries showing good form of late. The best have been the Pine and Caboolture rivers and the Pumicestone Passage. The Pine and Caboolture rivers have been working better on the incoming tide with the bream chasing bait up into the rivers and amongst the mangroves and this is quite a contrast from the Pumicestone Passage, which has been firing on the receding tide.

This is a good time to take advantage of the many creek mouths in the Passage as anchoring at these mouths can ambush fish on the move. Light sinkers with baits and deep diving crankbaits can ensure your presentation remains in the strike zone for longer.

SAND and MUD CRABS

There has been a great spread of these crustaceans over the northern bay, especially the times after a little rain. The flush out of muddies into the channels have lead to good catches in the upper reaches of the Pine River and Cabbage Tree Creek with the Pumicestone producing around the mouths of it’s major creeks as well.

For sandies, the lower reaches of the Pumicestone have been working well along with Deception and Bramble bays being the pick of the wide spots.

MONTHLY TIP

One word: Hydration

Two words: Drink Plenty

Three words: Water Only Too!

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