Cracker fishing to continue
  |  First Published: May 2007

As expected, last month was an absolute cracker for Northern Bay anglers and the pelagic scene is not showing any signs of slowing down on the wider grounds around Hutchies and Cape Moreton. High speed skirted lures are the best fish producers and let boaties cover a lot of terrain. Mackerel, wahoo, kingfish and tuna are common catches with the odd dolphinfish and marlin thrown in for good measure.

The wahoo are definitely increasing in average size with the smaller fish becoming less common as the water begins to cool. Some monster wahoo are being encountered out on the wide grounds where local heavy tackle fishers are chasing blue and striped marlin. Unfortunately these 30kg+ wahoo are bordering on the point of being a nuisance, especially when $100 lures are at stake!

Smoke-style pushers with fluoro green or hot pink featuring in the spread of lures are getting the most attention with black and gold a close second. Rigging skirted lures with a small length of multi-strand stainless steel wire between the hook and the resin head is the best way to protect your lure from being lost to sea.

It is also a good idea to use teasers to increase your chance of raising fish and prompting strikes. Mirrored swim-style teasers are the best for actually raising fish from the depths with solid flashes of light penetrating deep into the water column.

When trolling out on the bluewater try to find bait schools. Schools can be anywhere from on top of reef pinnacles to out on the contour lines where there may only be a small drop in the bottom depth. Concentrating around these areas will get you connected to aggressive fish.

Over the shallower grounds inside the Bay, trolling has given way to the use of livebait. The coffee rock reefs and beacons are attracting pelagics and it’s always worthwhile dropping a livie down. Small cobia are beginning to feed on the tiny crustaceans around the reefs and are caught by the soft plastic anglers who are searching for snapper.

Longtail tuna are increasing in numbers in the Northern Bay with average fish size around 10kg. Small soft plastics are the best bet so try using Gulp Minnows and Craw or Crab profiles in pumpkinseed or smelt colours. Good strong jigheads are a must or the hooks will straighten from the tuna’s strong jaws.

Flyfishers working small white Deceivers around the channels in the Northern Bay are finding fish where the shallow water drains into deep drop-offs with eddies and strong current flows. Tuna begin working the surface two hours after the turn of the tide so try to fish this stage of the tide. Longtail tuna are a great year-round sportfish option for SEQ anglers and are often the saviour of many slow fishing outings.

Plenty of juvenile squire are beginning to school up around the reef areas with land-based anglers reporting good catches. Most of the pan-sized fish have had stomachs full of tiny squid so use similar baits or plastics when trying to find a feed. All the pinkies are gorging themselves before the bigger breeding fish move in over the shallow grounds. Targeting squire around defined reef drop-offs early in the morning is great fun on light gear and the odd big fish will give your gear a work out. As the water clears, fluorocarbon leaders will help wary fish take an interest in your offering. One of the biggest problems targeting snapper is boat traffic; the fish will bite better if there are not lots of outboards buzzing around the area you are fishing. Move to a quieter spot or give other anglers who are already fishing a wide berth.

Flathead are being caught in good numbers from Bells Beach area to the start of the Hornibrook Bridge. Slow retrieved baits of live yabbies or prawns with minimal weight are working a treat. Try wading out to the reef structures along the foreshore at low tide and work baits or plastics along the deeper gutters. The Wells are a great spot to try this method and a good feed of flathead, bream, whiting, cod and grunter can be surprisingly easy to catch in this area. Fishing in the darker hours will bring the better fish within range of shore-based fishers, use small lumo beads at the end of the hook to attract a bit more interest in your offering.

Fishing for our kids future

There has been a lot of controversy over the soon to be re-zoned Moreton Bay Marine Park. It certainly seems like anglers are going to get jibbed! I support strict bag and increased size limits on all fish throughout Queensland. What good is catching five or so legal 23cm bream for one feed when one or two 30cm bream will provide around the same weight in fillets? Increase the size limits and fishing will become more exciting and there will be more fish around for the people to catch and consume.

I think some local fishers struggle to understand the implications the future re-zoning will have on themselves and their kids. Information meetings are held so members of the public can voice their opinions. The only problem is that the meetings are held when it is impossible for the working community to attend. Thankfully fishing clubs attend these meetings and are able to speak on behalf of thousands of anglers. They also accurately report on the meetings’ proceedings and outcomes.

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