Early and Late for Best Results
  |  First Published: December 2006

With long hot days and lots of boat traffic still around during January, early mornings, late afternoons and especially evening are the most enjoyable times to be on the water.

Brisbane River

Due to all of the construction work and dredging that is underway at the mouth of the river the fishing has been quiet ordinary lately. Anglers have reported the odd good session on snapper and other mixed species.

The Hamilton stretch of the river was the best area in December. Snapper, jew and the odd threadfin salmon are showing up anywhere from the mouth of Breakfast creek to the Royal Queensland Golf Club along the northern side of the river is well worth a look. There’s a lot of fish holding structure along this stretch of river.

Whiting and flathead are still around in good numbers at the mouth of Bulimba and Boggy creeks, around the sandy areas that stretch both sides of the river around Pinkenba and under the Gateway Bridge around the golf course. Worms and yabbies are the best baits for the whiting, while strip baits or small live baits will work for flathead. A lot of small school jew have been around and some of the dedicated whiting anglers have reported catches from the shallows.

Bream are starting to show up in good numbers and size, along the Pinkenba rock wall and most of the ‘visual’ or ‘sunken’ rock walls around the mouth of the river. Small hard-body lures or small soft plastics no longer than 50mm work best for bream in the river. For the baitfishers, try using unweighted or very lightly weighted yabbies along theses rocky structures for maximum results. These areas are very snaggy and constant re-rigging will be required, but quality bream to 1kg have been boated in these areas. The mouth of the river definitely sees an increase in numbers of quality bream over the next few months so get down there and get amongst them.

Sand and mud crabs are around in reasonable numbers from the Gateway Bridge to the mouth of the river. Early mornings with a high tide seem to produce better crabbing than most other tides. High tides allow you to place your pots hard into the mangrove ‘gut-ways’ in search of the tasty mud crabs.

Bay Islands

Snapper are around in reasonable numbers with a mixed bag of other summer species like bream, estuary cod, sweetlips and mackerel are being boated along the reef edges around Green, St Helena and Mud islands. Again, early morning starts seem to be producing the best bite time and usually you can beat the constant wind we have been having of late.

Tuna and mackerel are around the bay in good numbers at the moment with mid-week trips the best times to chase theses surface feeding speedsters. I find fishing mid-week without the endless amount of boats driving through the middle of surface feeding schools works best. Both species will be found feeding around bait schools in the bay with no one location being preferred. Theses fish will show up anywhere the bait is, so watching for surface action and bird’s dive-bombing bait schools are the key signs to look for.

Squid, succulent squid, are starting to show up in good numbers amongst the shallow rocky, weedy areas around all the bay islands including the two big ones. Bay squid grow to a massive 4kg and can be caught year round by anglers that want to put in the time chasing them. Small 1.5-2.5 sized squid jigs are the best-sized jigs for working the shallows. Squid are very smart creatures, wising up very quickly to which jig is catching them in the shallows. Constant colour changes and jig size is paramount to continually fool the squid into taking the jig. I’ve found using natural coloured jigs that blend into the structure they are holding on works best.

Prawns are starting to school-up in reasonable numbers. It’s a good time of year to check the cast nets and prawning gear, repair any holes (or just buy a new one at the price they are theses days) so when the season really kicks into gear you are ready. Remember prawns have a bag limit of 10 litres per person and fisheries are always out and about around prawning season.

January looks like being another great month to be heading out to one of the many excellent fishing destinations that we have on offer in SEQ. Get out and have a go for a squid, you’ll be surprised at how easy they are to catch and the sheer numbers that can be found in the shallows around the bay islands.

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