The seasons are changing with the chill of the cooler months definitely in the air in the mornings. I love this time of year to fish as we get some absolute awesome conditions, with some great fishing to match. It’s a great time to be alive, and a great time to be an angler in the southeast.
The Southern Bay has finally come alive with pelagic action. It doesn’t matter how many you have caught, everyone loves the sight of big fish breaking the surface, birds diving, and the carnage and sound of a screaming reel that comes with this style of fishing. I never tire of it, and I never tire of the adrenaline rush that comes from a trip chasing pelagics. Reports are slowing starting to filter through of fish moving down the coast and into the southern bay. Some of the bigger tuna each year are often caught early in the season so now is the time to get out there if a barrel sized longtail is on your hit list.
Snapper have eased up in the last month. While there have been plenty of snapper to be caught, finding fish of size has proved far more challenging. If you’re chasing a feed of snapper there’s plenty of keepers to be caught with Harry Atkinson and Peel Artificial reefs the pick of the spots. Early morning is important, as is beating the boat traffic. It’s definitely a case of the early bird gets the worm.
April proved to be an awesome time for anglers targeting jew with big schools moving through the artificial reefs and plenty of fish being caught. The trick to catch them has been to drive around and look for them on the sounder. They usually hang around in numbers, so if there are jew in an area they’re usually easy to find with your fish finder.
You will find that the jew will move around a bit when in their schools, as a result it pays to drift fish and be mobile, rather than anchor up and wait for the action to come to you. Lures are by far the best technique to target them, with soft plastics and small metal jigs fished on the bottom a trusted and reliable way to catch them. Just make sure you keep your lure near the bottom, because this is where they will sitting and waiting. My favourite lure for them is the 4” Z-Man Curly TailZ. It’s a lure that rarely fails and that jew absolutely love.
The tuna have been popping up all over place so it can be tricky predicting where they will be next. On a recent trip we found the tuna around the Rous Channel and just north of Harry Atkinson Artificial Reef. But I have also been hearing reports of fish coming from the eastern side of Peel Island and the Rainbow Channel up to Amity. Some days you have to do a lot of scouting around before finding the fish. Mack tuna have been feeding on very small bait so throwing smaller lures is a must. Three inch soft plastics or small metals are the best lures to use, while for longtail tuna the every reliable 5” Z-Man Streakz in bubblegum colour is a must have.
If bream are your thing, now is a great time to get out there and chase them. There has been some good numbers around, as well as plenty of big ones. Anglers using lures around the shallow weed beds of Macleay Island and reefy sections of Peel Island have been doing well. The best part about it is that surface lures have been the most effective technique, a preference that makes for fun fishing, and exciting visual surface strikes. Raby Bay canals have also been producing some great results. The trick at Raby is to get your lures as close as possible to the jetties and pontoons. The fish like to sit tight to cover so getting your lure deep in cover will greatly increase your chances of catching fish. Deep diving crankbaits and Cranka Crabs have been working well in the canals.
If all the usual target species are quiet chasing squid is always an option in the southern bay. High tides are preferable, as are shallow reef and weed areas. Squid are suckers for a well-presented squid jig and you’ll often spot squid cruising around, primed to latch onto a jig cast in their direction. If you can’t spot them cruising to sight cast at then casting and retrieving your jigs with an erratic retrieve can produce the goods. Be sure to mix up the retrieve, and cover as much ground as you possible. When selecting squid jigs I like to use natural colours and lightweight models in the shallow water.
May is shaping up to be a great month of fishing, hopefully the fish will think likewise. Hopefully we’ll see some pics of monster longtails being caught in next month’s magazine. If you have a picture or a story you would like to share, send it through to me at --e-mail address hidden-- , and I’ll do my best to get it in magazine for you.Reads: 632