Summer came with a bang through February. Mercury in the low to mid 30s and unrelenting northerly winds have made the fishing a little difficult in the southern bay. One fish that bites well in these conditions is the mangrove jack. The hotter the day or night, the better your chance of catching a jack. Fishing lures or soft plastics for these fish has become very popular over the last couple of seasons. This summer has had the best catches I have seen.
Location is so important when targeting these fish. Structure like rock walls, jetties, pontoons and bridge pylons are great. Google Maps can be your best friend when looking for a location, as this can take a lot of the guess work out of where to start. Good starting locations are the canal systems at Birkdale and Raby Bay. With so many options in these two locations doing repetitive trips is essential to being successful.
If I were to pick a handful of lures to take fishing they would be Bass Day Sugapen 95mm, Lucky Craft XD 100 Pointer and the smaller 78XD, ZMan Trick SwimZ and 3” MinnowZ. Some other locations that are overlooked in the Southern Bay are the water taxi terminals at Macleay and Russell Island and the Redland Bay Terminal.
Sweetlip have been caught in good numbers around Peel Island, Green Island and the drop-off at Wellington Point in about 4-6m of water. At Green Island try the Lockyer Light and the eastern side of the island. Fresh mullet fillet has been the go-to bait. Be sure that when you purchase your bait it is the best quality possible, as this is quite often overlooked and left to the last minute. A stop at the local servo on the way to the ramp is not the best option for quality or local advise on what is biting and where to start fishing.
Tuskies are another species that like the warmer water and there have been some nice fish caught at Peel Island over the last month. Hooking a decent tusky and landing one is a different story. These fish are one of the hardest fighting fish pound for pound in the bay. I prefer using a hand line of about 60lb and work my way up. A tuskfish will take you back into his home in the reef if you give him any chance. The best baits are half a sand crab, large banana or tiger prawn and black rock crab.
Over the next couple of months we should see the prawn catches increase with the Ws, Macleay and Karragarra islands being some of the popular spots. Let’s hope the white spot disease has been contained and if you catch prawns with white spot, please report it to Queensland Fisheries or Bio Security Queensland. This will help contain the outbreak.
Through March we should see some quality snapper move into the bay. The artificial reefs and reef ledges around the southern bay islands are a prime spot to target these awesome fish. With fish ranging from 80cm and up, it is well worth an overnight trip with quality fresh or live bait for catching that prize fish. The best baits are live squid, live whiting, fresh mullet fillet and fresh gar.
With the dead baits rigged on a snell rig with 6/0 Octopus circle hooks and the live bait rigged with a 5/0 Mustad Hoodlum and using 30lb mono and a 50lb fluorocarbon leader and just enough weight to have your bait floating through the water column.
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