Break out the beanies! It’s time to get out for some top winter fishing. I’ve become a little soft since I moved to the sunshine state and find it hard to get out of bed on the cooler mornings, but the quality of fishing makes it all worthwhile. Added to that, afternoons on the bay in June are often nothing short of magnificent. Snapper, tailor, bream and squid are the main game from Macleay Island north, while further down among the Southern Bay Islands you can add good flathead and jewies to the list.
Shore based fishing is very productive at this time of year. In the evenings, bream and tailor move into the shallows with the rising tide. Unweighted and lightly weighted baits are most productive in close as the fish can be very spooky, but it is always worth tossing a heavier weighted bait out wide for bigger tailor and jewfish. Mullet gut is the most popular bait for winter bream but chicken gut, mullet fillets and tuna fillets also produce well. Tailor is most often caught with pilchards or long fillets on gang hooks. Sometimes the tailor will show distinct preferences for particular sized pilchards so be prepared to cut your baits down as needed or carry a variety of sized pillies. Good spots to try include Cleveland Point and the entrance to Raby Bay, Wellington Pointt, Victoria Point and the walls at Redland Bay Harbour.
During the day some good shore based fishing can had by flicking lures for bream and flathead. In soft plastics, it is pretty hard to go past the Gulp Fry, Minnow Grubs and Shrimp in natural colours. For hard bodied lures, try those that are small but can be cast a reasonable distance such as Jackall Chubbies, Ecogear SX48s and surface lures like Pop Queens. Try spots like Thompsons Beach at Victoria Point, the shoreline south of Redland Bay Golf Course and the shallows either side of Redland Bay Harbour.
Around the Bay Islands, the winter snapper run should be well in progress. At the time of writing, good catches were coming from 3 to 5 m of water around Green and St Helena Islands and from Wellington Point through to Cleveland Point. Coochiemudlo Island has also been quite outstanding over the last month for snapper in the 25-50cm range. Baits such as squid, diver whiting and garfish work very well at this time of the year, while in soft plastics 3” Assassin shads in rainbow trout and firetail pumpkinseed or Gulp Minnows in lime tiger and pumpkinseed all work well. At this time of year there is often a good soft plastic snapper bite late in the afternoon, particularly if a westerly wind has been blowing in the morning and then drops out at lunchtime. The bite generally starts around 2pm and continues through to dark and can turn on some very memorable fishing.
Squid start to become far more common throughout the eastern side of the bay at this time of year. They can be caught at night around lit jetties on jigs and in cast nets or during the day across gravel and weed beds on squid jigs.
Chasing them around the shallows of Coochiemudlo, Macleay and Goat islands is heaps of fun and very addictive. Most jigs work, but the top notch Japanese lures such as Egilee’s really have the edge on the larger more cautious cephalopods. As well as jigs, squid will also take small poppers intended for bream or tailor. Adding some scent to the poppers adds to their appeal and can lead to a very tasty mixed bag for a morning’s fishing.
Until next month, tight lines, or for more information on the southern Moreton Bay area, come and see me at Fish Head (Cnr Broadwater Tce and Stradbroke St, Redland Bay, www.fishhead.com.au) or call us on (07) 3206 7999.Reads: 5140