Winter definitely took its time, but has finally arrived. The weather is great here in South East Queensland, with some crisp cool mornings and warm days with low wind. The snapper have continued to bite, as they have been over the past few months. This has been fantastic. The cooler weather has fired up the bream, with plenty of big fish around at the moment!
Winter creates great conditions to target big bream in the southern bay area. Anglers have been catching plenty around the Islands in the shallow water. Macleay, Coochiemudlo and Peel islands are all worth a shot. Further south, the Jumpinpin is a popular area to visit as the fish school up. Look for banks with steep drop-offs and good tidal flow. When you target bream, be sure to keep a look out for structure. Shallow rocky outcrops, reef and weed beds are all productive areas to fish.
I like to use surface stickbaits, shallow crankbaits and small soft plastics when you fish these areas. Use the wind to help you set up a drift and to aid long casts. The more water you can cover, the more chance you have of finding where the fish are as there can be a lot of water between the fish so once you find a school of fish, be sure to stay around that area and get a few more before moving on. The water has been crystal clear lately, so downsize your line when the fish are being finicky. Going down to 3lb line will increase your bites, just got to be careful about bust-offs and keep those fish away from the structure!
A few of my favoured lures for fishing in these areas are Cranka Shallow Cranks, Lucky Craft NW Pencils, ZMan GrubZ and Cranka Crabs. I like to rotate between these favourites to try and work out what the fish prefer on the day.
Just as they have been the past few months, the snapper have been out in force. Some really good-sized fish are showing up, and are more then willing to take a well-presented soft plastic.
Harry Atkinson artificial reef has been firing in the mornings. The majority of big fish that have been reported have coming from the Harry Atkinson. Drifting with soft plastics and covering ground is the key. Once you locate some fish, try to keep your lures near them, as they will move on quite quickly. Spending some time sounding around the reef can help locate the schools or bait. Stay near the bait to get into the fish.
Fishing at Harry’s can be a bit of a car park situation, so if you prefer a little peace then try the shallows around Peel and Goat islands, both of which have been fishing well for snapper and grassy sweetlip in the early mornings and late afternoons. Some recent sessions have been great fun with fish coming on most casts. The size is not as great as out on the deeper reefs, but the constant action makes up for it. It’s a lot of fun on the light gear! Lightly weighted soft plastics are a great option here, ZMan soft plastics in particular as there has been a lot of pike around and they can make short work of regular soft plastics! The ZMan plastics tend to hold up well to the toothy critters!
If you are landlocked and looking for some areas to target to get into a few fish, there are plenty of options available. Winter is great, especially if you like catching squid! Squid move up into the mainland shallows over winter and are commonly caught. Night is the best time; look for areas with lights shining onto the water. These lights attract baitfish, which in turn attract the squid. Cast a quality squid jig to a sighted squid, and you will almost always have a hook-up; they aren’t the fussiest of creatures.
Have a look in areas such as marinas, boat ramps, rock walls and jetties. Anywhere with a bit of light shining in the water is a great place to start.
More great fishing will be had this month, so do yourself a favour and get out there! If you have any success or a story you would like to share, send it through to --e-mail address hidden-- and I will do my best to get it in the magazine! CaptionReads: 467