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Early starts to beat the crowds in January
  |  First Published: January 2016



The start of another new year is upon us. I bet there were a few New Year’s resolutions to fish more this year. Mine certainly is! So far this summer we have had some great weather and some equally great fishing. With so many anglers out and about over the holiday period, there have been plenty of lines in the water and plenty of fish caught!

Mackerel

A much-welcomed addition this summer has been the spotted mackerel. While they aren’t normally prolific in the southern bay, there have been reports of small schools showing up. Keep your eyes peeled for surface activity and birds diving as this will be a good indication of mackerel feeding! The Rainbow Channel is a good place to start looking, and up to Peel Island. Mackerel will often chase bait schools between Peel and Goat island. These schools can just randomly show up so it pays to have a rod ready and rigged with a small metal slug that you can quickly get into the schools. I prefer smaller sized lures, as most often the bait they are feeding on is quite small. Soft plastics fished slightly slower can also work if they are being fussy. This may result in bite offs but can help get you a few extra bites.

Mulloway

Moreton Bay mulloway can be very temperamental to work out. Often you can find good-sized schools but they won’t want to bite and then sometimes they will bite anything! Moreton Bay is a great place to target them year round. They school up in great numbers and are susceptible to most fishing methods. Lately I have been spending a bit of time targeting these fish at night with some really good success.

I find at night there is a lot less boat traffic and you are often one of few boats out! I tend to fish the same locations as I normally would; the best two spots in the Southern Bay to start at are the Peel Island and Harry Atkinson Artificial Reefs.

Using lures has been my preferred method. I have found that lures with some vibration have worked the best, vibes and blades as well as tail-spinners. The new Flash Point from TT Lures has been a stand out for me. It offers a bit of flash as well a strong action and fish have been taking a liking to it.

Live baits are also working well, with some bigger fish falling to these. Harry Atkinson Reef is the pick if you plan on anchoring up and fishing livies. Just be prepared for some unwanted by-catch as there have been plenty of stingrays and shovelnose around!

Snapper

During this busy time of the year a consistent way of getting a good feed of snapper in Moreton Bay is to move away from the crowds and find somewhere a bit more out of the way. Snapper do not respond well to boat traffic in Moreton Bay and this time of the year is the worst for it. Aim to be out on the water as early as possible and try to get to your spot before everyone else wakes up!

I’m a big fan of fishing the shallow reef edges.Although the average size can be smaller, it is a good place to fish while the boat traffic is up and there is plenty of action. Generally, fewer anglers will target these areas as they focus on the deeper reefs. Using lightly weighted soft plastics rigged on 1/8oz jigheads along the reef or deep diving crankbaits will keep the bites coming. Aim to fish the low light periods of the day and use the tide to drift so you cover more ground.

Hidden Treasure

Quite often when the fishing goes quiet, we pack up our gear and head home. If you don’t feel like heading home just yet, it’s worth spending some time sounding around some new ground. It will amaze you what you can find when you start looking. Rock bars, wrecks and man made reefs are littered through out the bay and are excellent fishing locations! These are the kind of spots that can provide for epic fishing sessions so it’s worth putting the time in to see if you can dig up a bit of gold!

Enjoy the remainder of the holiday period and make sure you get out there and have fun fishing! 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 next month’s magazine for you!

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