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Brisbane by backpack
  |  First Published: May 2007



Land-based lure fishing is one of the easiest and most productive styles of angling. It’s cheap, fun for adults and kids, and is a good way to enjoy the outdoors. All you really need is your favourite light rod and reel, a few lures and some sturdy footwear and you’re away. Fish tend to feed and hold around shore-based structure such as jetties, piers, pontoons, rock walls and bridges, so shore-based anglers can already be one step ahead of boaters. Anyone living around Brisbane has a lot of land-based options that are easy to access and will hold good numbers of quality bream, flathead, jacks, cod, jewies and trevally. The key is to look for accessible structure.

Breamin’ BreKky Creek

This is a good place for a Sunday afternoon steak and beer but the creek and rock walls either side of the mouth are also fantastic ‘backpack’ fishing areas.

When fishing Breakfast Creek I like to use small hard-bodied micro minnows such as Rebel Teeny Wee-Craws, Halco Scorpions and Ecogear SX40s in the more natural patterns. By fishing a tide that is a couple of hours off top high, the top slack, and the first hour of the run-out, anglers can expect to find good bream. Don’t forget to upgrade to chemically sharpened trebles as many fish will be just looking and ultra-sharp hooks will secure a fish that is just having a bump!

At high tide the rocks (which stretch out 10-12ft from the waterline) will be covered and bream feed fairly actively at this time. A nice small lure, worked slowly with plenty of pauses, will produce lots of attention. Anglers should cast at 45 degrees from the shore and bring their lures back with the tide while trying to slowly bounce them across the tops of the rocks below. If your lure gets stuck just give it some slack, walk up past the snag and gently pull in the opposite direction. You’ll rarely lose tackle if you use this technique.

Another great spot in this area is the actual mouth of the creek. I tend to use soft plastics such as the awesome 3” Berkley Bass Minnow in pearl shad or 65mm Squidgy Wrigglers in bloodworm. Lures that run across the bottom are a better choice in the creek proper as it has less rocks and possible snags than the rock walls. Good-sized flathead are often caught in the mouth of the river.

Fishermans Island Bridge

Situated at the Port of Brisbane, Captain Bishop Bridge is a fantastic backpack angler spot. I’ve caught small jew, bream, flathead, cod, flounder and tailor under the bridge with lures, but fresh baits worked with the tide can also be deadly. Upgrade to larger crankbait style lures such as Tilson Barras and Rapalas as well as poppers such as Storm Chug Bugs in gold and you could get more than you bargained for.

Big tailor, mangrove jack and jewfish target the baitfish washed through the current so slip your offering into this scaly smorgasbord and you’ll increase your chance of landing a good fish. Directly opposite the Port side of the bridge is a massive sand flat full of shallow holes and gutters that can be seen at low tide.

If you’re after a flathead try working a Berkley Bass Minnow (in bloodworm) across the flats at high tide. Be careful not to work your plastics too quickly as often the tide movement will give your lure all the action it needs. I have seen lizards to 70cm come out of the weeds in this spot, just remember that landing larger fish often requires a lighter drag and more patience.

When the bigger fish see the rocks or the beach you’re trying to slide them up onto they’ll make that big run. Loosen off the drag and let ‘em go: providing they haven’t swallowed your lure too far down their throat, letting them run at this point will greatly increase your chances of landing that trophy fish! Summer brings out the larger lizards so pay careful attention to bag sizes and limits.

Manly Boat Harbour

As summer starts to swing into full gear and the days get hotter and longer this little area gets a lot more active fish and is definitely worth checking out either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Plenty of school tailor and squire enter the harbour where over 2000 boats apparently moor. You can imagine how many bream and flatties are sitting under these vessels chewing on small bait fish.

Small Storm Chug Bugs, Towadi Surface Lures and little poppers are definitely worth a throw as dark descends. Once again the micro lure/light line approach seems to work best. I’ve also had a fair bit of luck with the local choppers by throwing Spanyid Maniacs up against the piers and letting them flutter down a few metres before winding them back to the surface and repeating the process. As many fishos know, the hit usually comes on the drop, so watch that line! Occasionally, as my brother and I found out, the bigger greenbacks will cruise through and make a mess of everything!

So don’t despair when you see boaters heading out for a fish. Grab your little tackle box, rod and backpack and go for a walk, cool down and be in with a serious chance at some Brisbane monsters!

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