The southern bay can be a fickle place during the tail end of winter. One day it can be full of tailor, snapper and diver whiting and the next it can be crystal clear and devoid of fish. At this time of year, it can really pay off to try different techniques and locations. Searching the shallows and the deeper channels on the same day can be equally rewarding.
Tackle choice is another important decision during this time of year. Light lines, leaders and weights help tempt fussy feeders in clear water. To chase snapper on soft plastics in the shallows, drop your leader strength from 12-15lb down to 8-10lb. Likewise, on an afternoon glass-out go from 1/4oz jighead to 1/8oz can result in serious dividends.
Night fishing is very popular through the depths of winter. Despite the cold, there are good reasons to fish nights at this time of the year. The largest tides in winter are all at night. The increased tidal run encourages fish to feed aggressively and allows other species to move up into shallows they cannot normally access. Fishing at night is also less crowded and you will not have the difficulties that you would normally encounter during the day in clear water (fine lines and light leaders).
Snapper, bream and tailor are all prime targets for a night fishing session. You can get a nice mixed bag, but best results come from targeting a particular species. For bream, try the shallows around Coochiemudlo, Macleay, Pannikin and Goat Islands. If you are land-based, try the foreshores at Cleveland Pt, Redland Bay Harbour and Point Talburpin. Good baits to use include mullet fillets, mullet gut and chicken gut. Fish the rising tide close to the shore with a little burley and use a light weight.
For Snapper, try a little deeper around reef drop-offs such as Peel, Green, St Helena and Mud Islands with larger baits like pike, gar, whiting and squid. Use 15-40lb line depending on the terrain and hooks from 3/0-8/0. In recent years there has been a swing towards the use of circle hooks for snapper fishing in the bay, the 3/0 and 4/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle being a popular choice. The circle design nearly always hooks the fish in the corner of the mouth. This makes the release of unwanted fish far easier. They allow the use of lighter leaders because the fish cannot get the line between their teeth.
There have been two popular approaches to using plastics at night. One is to fish lures like Gulp Nuclear Chicken Jerkshads that glow in the dark. The other is to fish dark coloured plastics like Zoom Superflukes in Watermelon. The dark colours appear to make a silhouette against the sky, especially on a moonlit night. The retrieve is generally quite slow; very slow hops off the bottom and lots of time to allow the lure to drift around in the current.
If a tailor is your preferred species, try lobbing a gang hooked pilchard off the shore on the rising tide at night from Cleveland Pt, Victoria Pt or Redland Bay Harbour walls. For boaties, try the channel edges around Garden and Snipe Islands, and off the channel marker at the northern end of Pannikin Island. In July, most of the tailor had been small choppers, so let’s hope some larger ones come around as the season progresses. If you enjoy surface luring, then try any of the shallow reefs around Peel (be aware of the Green Zone), Goat and Coochiemudlo Islands. Poppers and stickbaits such as Tiemco Riding Peppers, Ecogear TP88s and 110mm Dumbell Pops are all good choices.
Until next month, tight lines! For more information, give me a call on 07 3206 7999 or --e-mail address hidden-- . Alternatively, drop in and see us at Fish Head on Stradbroke St, Redland Bay opposite the park and the pub.Reads: 2097