The mouth of the river has finally started to settle down after a somewhat unpleasant start to the year. Water clarity has definitely improved and the fish have moved back into there usual haunts with gusto. Snapper, jewfish, threadfin salmon, grunter, bream, flathead and estuary cod are all in good numbers from the Hamilton stretch to the reclaimed section at the mouth.
On recent trips to the river I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of fishing around the deeper rock ledges and along the shipping terminals towards the mouth. Nothing should really surprise me about the river anymore, but lately the size and quality of the snapper and threadfin schools have been sensational. This may be due to the huge amount of bait schools hanging around the river mouth; or because more fish are willing to take up residency around the endless structures and deep water towards the mouth; or perhaps even the pressure that theses areas usually receive has been reduced by the weather conditions. Either way it’s a good time to be an angler in the river.
With the amount of quality fish around at present, it’s a great time for anglers to target fish with soft plastics or the reliable vibration baits. Schools of large snapper, threadies, jew and the smaller grunter and bream are schooling in the deeper holes. Ecogear VT65 and Jackall Mask 60 and 70s are working a treat while larger minnow or T-tail plastics in the 4-6” are catching their fair share of quality fish.
An area like along the shipping terminals at the mouth is a good place to start. Sit the boat the legal 30m away from the docks and cast your lure towards the dock free spooling the lure to the bottom. Once the plastic or vibration hits the bottom commence a very slow lift and hop presentation allowing the bait to hit the bottom with every lift and hop back to the boat.
While drifting the docks, continually watch the sounder for schools of fish and target these schools with repetitive cast for best results. You may have to drift several hundred metres along the docks or ledges until fish are located. Be prepared to move because using artificial lures is not like bait fishing where the fish can smell the offering, with plastics we need to place the offering in front of or in the close vicinity to the fish to entice a strike.
Bream and the usual lure thieving estuary cod are in good size and numbers along the reclaimed section at the mouth and any of the rock walls towards the Gateway Bridge. Small hard body lures or fresh local baits are working a treat for most anglers putting in the effort.
Flathead have shown up across the flats at the mouth of the river, around the Boat Passage and around most of the sandy areas towards the Gateway Bridge. They are smallish fish at present, you will have to sift through them at present to get a feed but the signs and numbers are good for later in the season.
Crab numbers have declined in the last few weeks but it’s been a very poor season this year due to the constant fresh water we’ve experienced at the mouth of the river. You can sill catch a feed of muddies, but it involves a lot of moving of pots for very few numbers.
One thing to look out for when navigating around the mouth of the river at present is a pod of dugongs that seem to be hanging around in some unusual spots. I’ve seen them as far up the river as Pinkenba boat ramp in the shallows and a couple of times around the Boat Passage since the start of the year so be careful.
When the weather and tides permit, it is worth fishing the shallows around Mud, St Helena, and Green Islands or the foreshores along the Redcliffe Peninsular. On recent trips the quality of bream has been excellent with fish over 1kg not uncommon. As usual small surface offerings like Ecogear’s new PX45F or similar sized diving minnows like SX40 or MX48s are working well.Reads: 859