Shallow reefs in the wet
  |  First Published: March 2008

This month I will take the focus away from the waning threadfin population at the mouth of the river and concentrate on other great fishing options around the smaller bay islands and the new reclaimed section at the mouth.

Some anglers chasing threadies in the river need to treat them with a bit more respect. Use barra gear, not bream or snapper outfits to target these amazing fish. I hate hearing about people not being able to successfully release these mighty fish due to a prolonged fight because the angler was using light line.

Likewise, if you want your fish in the best possible eating quality then landing them in the fastest possible time will ensure the best quality meat. The lightest line that I would chase these fish with is a good quality 10kg braid and around 40-60lb leader.

Bay Islands

With all the bad weather that’s been around lately the smaller bay islands have been really worth a look, especially when the wind settles enough to make the ride across the paddock comfortable.

The shallow flats around Mud, St Helena and Green Islands are enormous holding grounds for baitfish. The best time is when there is a bit of fresh water coming from the river and when the weather is bad. The baitfish school up in the shallows and predatory fish come to gorge themselves while the going is good.

Bream, snapper, estuary cod and sweetlips are all available at present and can be caught on a variety of techniques. The key to fishing the shallows is stealth; you need to make as little shadow and noise as possible. For best results, lures need to be cast long distances across the flats or to the base of mangrove trees.

Surface lures, like Ecogear PX45F and PP60F, or any 40-60mm surface walker fished across the flats are working well. Remember to pause the lure several times throughout the retrieve as most big bream will ‘sip’ the surface offering on the pause rather than when the popper is moving. Pause for up to 30 seconds and watch the lure, because bream will stage behind the lure before destroying it.

Small shallow hardbodies worked slowly across the flats are catching heaps of bream, cod and the occasional speedsters like snapper and sweetlips.

The deeper reef ledges around the islands are producing good quality snapper, sweetlips and the odd school mackerel. Vibration baits and larger 4-6” minnow style plastics are working best during daylight hours. Strip baits and a good strong burley trail is the go for after dark.

Brisbane River

There are heaps of baitfish schooled up around the new rock retaining walls at the mouth of the river. Snapper and bream are chasing the bait schools around and it’s a great time to fish the wall.

Small lures or fresh local bait cast towards the wall will produce good quality fish. At present there are also heaps of small prawns along this section and most of the rock wall from the Gateway Bridge to the mouth. When the prawns run along the rock wall so do the big bream and it’s a great time to chase 1kg+ monsters.

Pinkenba rock wall is another place worth a look for big bream at this time of year. Try fishing inside the wall across the flat on the high tides. Be careful getting inside the wall because there are lots of nasties just under the surface that have claimed many a prop over the years. This area is especially good at night, casting small hardbodies towards the covered wall.

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