River Fires
  |  First Published: October 2007

October is flathead season but with the number of snapper being caught around the river mouth it could well turn into a healthy month to target both. Huge numbers of snapper are being boated by both bait and lure anglers along any of the deeper areas towards the river mouth.

I have heard reports from anglers that travel from the Gold Coast and north Queensland to fish the river for snapper and jew. Most come away with big smiles on their faces and plans to return.

The recent rains have bought a welcome flush to numerous creeks and rivers that empty towards the mouth of the river. As usual, with the influx of fresh water come the schools of jew and larger than normal schools of snapper. When the weather turns nasty and the bay becomes too rough to fish, inside the river always fishes well.

Recent trips to the river have been very successful with loads of smallish snapper to 2kg as well as some larger fish to 4kgs being caught. Most of my fish are coming from the loading terminals towards the mouth but anglers are catching good numbers and size around any of the deep holes in front of loading terminals from Hamilton to the mouth.

I’ve received lots of emails of late asking about the legal requirements when fishing around the loading terminals towards the mouth. This is a brief run-down of the laws and where to keep away from. Basically you can fish around any of the ‘loading terminals’ as long as you keep your boat 30m away from the actual docks. If ships are tied along side the docks then the distance is 30m from the ship. It’s a little different when there is construction work being undertaken – its 50m from theses areas. This distance is for the safety of anglers and the workers. This distance is enforced by security and the whole mouth is being watched by cameras on every angle. Those anglers who break the rules and continually fish in the out of bounds areas be warned as the Port of Brisbane Authority are starting to hand out fines.

What’s on the chew

Snapper is definitely on the agenda at present. Any of the deep holes and rocky ledges towards the mouth of the river is holding excellent numbers of quality fish. Vibration and deep water seems to be the key to snapper in the river. Lures that produce large amounts of vibration like Ecogear’s VT65, VX 35 / 40 and Jackal TN’s or Mask style lures are working well when fished to deep suspended fish. Soft plastics like Ecogear’s BTS fished on a half oz head produces excellent vibrations and is a cheaper alternative to the vibration baits. Soft plastics definitely catch their share of fish in the river with T-tail baits working better than minnow style plastics.

Flathead numbers are increasing with good catches starting to come from the sandy flats adjacent to Boggy Creek, Pinkenba’s sunken wall and the flats alongside the new reclaimed section at the mouth. Most techniques will catch flathead but my personal favourite is casting the flats and small drains with either a fly rod or ultra light spinning tackle. There are some excellent flats to fish around the oil pipeline at the mouth of Boggy Creek and some of the smaller drains towards Nudgee Creek on the low tides. If you are going to wade, test the bottom before getting out of your boat because some areas look hard until you try to move around.

Small live baits like mullet and gar, fished over the flats and lures or soft plastics fished near the bottom, will all produce good numbers of fish. For anglers wanting a relaxing few hours try trolling small lures like Ecogears SX40, 48 or 60’s depending on the depth, along the rock wall from the Gateway Bridge to the mouth for flathead, bream and the odd estuary cod.

Crabs have made their return to the mouth of the river in reasonable numbers for early season catches. Mud and sand crabs are being caught in all the usual spots, each side of Boat Passage and around the mouth of Boggy Creek. Other locations worth tyring are Wynnum foreshore and along the flats near the southern end of the new reclaimed section at the mouth. Good crabs are also starting to be caught towards the city reaches and will only get better over the next few months.

Whiting should show up during October as the weather starts to warm. If you’re chasing a feed of these tasty numbers, try the weeded flats around the mouth of the river and the flats between the mouth of the river and Mud Island. Said areas start to produce better quality fish towards the year end. Baits such as worms and strips of squid will produce good numbers.

Bream are worth chasing around the islands and any of the rocky foreshores that rim Moreton Bay. They can be caught in the shallows around these areas for most of the year, only leaving for short periods during spawning runs. Shallow diving lures, such as Ecogear’s CK40 07 and for supper shallow water the CK 50 03, work a treat. These areas produce some of the largest bream that I have ever seen around the southeast, with fish over 1kg becoming the norm for many anglers.

On a recent trip to the Redcliffe Peninsular with good mate, Steve Willson, we had a double hook-up on quality fish one measuring 39.5cm to the fork and the other measuring in at 37.5cm fork length. Both fish went over the kilo mark. Steve hooked the first fish fishing an unweighted Berkley Gulp Minnow when I just happened to steer my Ecogear CK 40 past the area where he was fighting his fish to hook on of his mates that latter measured bigger.

Until next month…

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