September is the month when South East Queensland begins to warm up again for the run into summer. The air temperatures are starting to improve but water temperature changes and the consequent effects on the fishing are still a little way off.
Shallow water on sand flats can heat up significantly after a few warm calm days, but likewise, a few cooler windy ones can have the reverse effect. For major changes to water temperatures, we will have to wait for the East Australian Current to swing back in towards the coast bringing the warm blue water down from the Coral Sea.
Sea temperatures usually run a couple of months behind air temperatures, so while flathead won’t mind a bit of warm water spilling off a sand flat on a sunny day, it will take some time before the estuaries properly warm up enough for mangrove jacks and other summer species.
Right now there are plenty of snapper in the southern bay. The winter snapper have come on a little late this year (like many species), so hopefully these good sized fish will hang around for a while. Plenty of quality fish have come from the deeper parts of the Bay, such as Harry Atkinsons Artificial, the Rous Channel and the Foul Ground north of the Rous.
The best baits have been mullet fillets, garfish and diver whiting fished through the night. The most popular lures have been 5-7” plastics such as Gulp Jerkshads in lime tiger and blue pepper neon, and the Assassin shads in crystal shad, pink diamond and blue/green sunrise.
When fishing in deeper parts of the Bay at the moment, larger plastics up to 7” long are producing most of the quality snapper. Perhaps the fish have an appetite for large food during the breeding season or maybe the prevalent food sources are all larger than normal at this time of year. Whatever the reason, the big stuff is working!
There seems to be no real pattern as to the best times. Some nights have really fired while other times the big fish have been active through the middle of the day. Like all big fish chases, the key is putting in the hours on the water so that your lure or bait is there when a big red happens along.
Fish in close to the Islands and along the mainland ledges as there are plenty of smaller pan size snapper available on both baits and lures. Peel, Mud and Green Islands have all fished well as has Cleveland Point. And chopper tailor are in good numbers along the same locations.
During low light, either early morning or late afternoon, is a great time to drift an unweighted pilchard down a burley trail. If you are looking for larger greenback, try working 80-110mm poppers over the shallows at the same time. Right through the middle of the day you can pick up numbers of smaller tailor along the reef edges of Peel Island by working 3-4” soft plastics with a fast jerky retrieve. Pale baitfish colours work best; the Zoom Super Fluke Jr in baitfish is a great one for this.
Chasing sharp-toothed choppers on plastics is not very economical but it is a fun way to prospect your way along the reef on a sunny afternoon. Long casting minnows such as the Tiemco Lucifers have worked really well for me, but they are a sinking lure so care needs to be taken when using them over snaggy coral flats. Fishing the Tiemco Lucifers around the reef can turn up all sorts of critters; my best afternoon was nine different species from coral trout and snapper to mackerel and tailor.
Fishing offshore from the South Passage has been very productive of late. In close, there have been excellent catches of snapper and spangled emperors. Further out, deep jigging has produced quality kingfish, snapper and pearlies. Some of the popular jigs have included Smith Nagamasas and Jacknifers on the kings, while shorter jigs such as Smith Mejiyumes and Hooker 1 have worked well on a mixed bag of snapper, pearlies and kings.
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: 633