Impressive Summer Start
  |  First Published: December 2006

What an impressive launch it has been to the summer gamefishing season for northern bay anglers. Better than average catches of billfish have been coming from the North Moreton Trench. Huge pacific sailfish and small black marlin have made up the majority of the catch, most fish are being teased up with a good spread of the pusher style skirted lures.

The speedsters are also now out in force with catches of small yellowfin tuna, wahoo and some of the biggest bull dolphinfish I have ever seen – one of which tipped the scales at a whopping 41lb. These bulls are known for ripping through the spread of lures at lightning speed with their heads out of the water fully ‘lit up’, smash into their target and throw the hooks without even registering a strike at the rod!

There are several other great ways to get in to the fish out wide at this time of the year. Try collecting live baits from the shallow grounds around Moreton Island. Lip hook the baits and cast them into the boiling bait schools that are being worked by birds and pelagics.

Flotsam and weed are good places to target fish and it can be surprising how many predatory fish these features attract. Slow trolling live or dead baits will produce well as the water really warms up.

When the sun is a bit higher in the sky it’s usually a good time to begin fishing the deeper water for reef species. The snapper and pearlies have remained active offshore with Deep Tempest and Caloundra Wide producing the better size and quality. Just before the new moon is the best period to fish deep and the fish will bite right throughout the day. Pearlies to 2.5kg are not uncommon with several fish this size appearing in anglers’ bags. Gamefish species will start to fire over the coming month with more warm water pushing in closer, the inside of Moreton Island will begin to produce the frequent wahoo and Spanish mackerel. Look for the clean blue water and try trolling gold or chrome deep diving bibbed lures like the Rapala Magnum CD18.


The huge numbers of squire from around the inshore reefs and islands have thinned out but there are some bigger solo fish moving into the shallows during the morning and evening. Snapper to 4kg have fallen for small live baits in the channel at the mouth of the Brisbane River. These fish have changed what they are feeding on with the water heating up. Snapper will hold closer to the bottom and feed on molluscs and crustaceans. Small live crabs or soft plastics resembling crabs or prawns will be the best bet to finding a few fish.

Some big grunter are being caught early morning on the rising tides. Several nice fish were caught from Mud Island around the reef flats and these fish will increase in numbers over the next month. Ominous, stormy and humid mornings really get the grunter active over the flats. Any plastics or baits that are used for bream fishing in winter will also work on grunter in summer. Berleying with crushed prawn heads, crab shells and mussels mixed in with chicken pellets and tuna oil over the flats will have grunter in a frenzy.

The deep holes at high tide close to the islands are also holding some nice bream and flathead. These fish are seeking the shelter of mangroves during daylight hours and a well-placed lure or plastic will produce results.

Some better-than-average tailor are also smashing soft plastics at Mud Island and around the Redcliffe Peninsula. When tailor are shearing off the tails of your plastics it is a good time to attach a stinger hook – Gamakatsu Twinex hooks are ideal for this situation.

School mackerel are responding well to the heat with catches of several fish per beacon being common during the flood part of the tide. The measured mile and shipping leads are the best places to begin looking. Check if there are any baitfish holding up near the surface close to the beacon as the mackerel usually push them up in to a nervous ball when they are actively feeding. Some smaller Spanish mackerel have also been scored this month while jigging for their smaller cousins.

Land-based anglers in the Brisbane River have been reported consistent catches of threadfin salmon. Night fishing around well-lit jetties and pontoons around the mouth of the river on the new moon when the fish enter the shallows to forage for food is the best options. Salmon are total suckers for live herring or prawns. Any location on a large rising tide that has mudflats with plenty of bait activity is likely to be visited by a marauding threadfin.

The sand banks at the mouth of the Pine River will also be another prime location to target these fish.

Until next month, good luck, and keep the emails coming.

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