Spring is well and truly swinging into action this month. Water temperatures are beginning to climb, heralding the return of our summer species.
After last years great pelagic season, anticipation is high for another good run of summer speedsters. Afternoon northerly winds are also set to return to SE Queensland at this time of the year. This causes many anglers to shift their fishing activities on the bay from afternoon/evening sessions to morning fishing. The tides begin to change from having large tidal movements at night to the biggest shifts during the day.
Around the Southern Bay Islands, flathead are the species to catch this month. They are a very aggressive fish that can be caught on bait, lure and fly with a variety of techniques. Whether you are in a boat or off the shore, a slow moving bait is the best way to catch a flathead.
Flatties are an ambush predator that lies half buried in the mud or sand, waiting for food to come past their nose. They generally congregate on the falling tide around drop-offs and channel edges waiting for food to be flushed out from the adjacent shallows. They particularly like the ends of drains that run off the sand and mud flats.
On a rising tide, flathead tend to scatter themselves across the flooding shallows. This tends to put more water between fish, but it is still worth your while to target them at this time of the tide. Some good places to try include Pannikin and Long Islands with their extensive mud and sand flats, the Canaipa Passage, the flats between Point Halloran and Coochiemudlo Island and the foreshore from Redland Bay to Point Talburpin.
Flesh baits such as mullet fillets, hardiheads, whitebait and frogmouth pilchards are just a few successful ones to try on flathead, as well as live baits of poddy mullet, herring and small pike. Keep the bait moving slowly across the bottom to attract their attention. If you get no response in an area after a couple of drifts or half a dozen casts from the shore, keep moving along to other areas.
Jigging soft plastics is another deadly technique that has become hugely popular over the past few years. Small to medium sized paddle-tail and curl-tail lures such as 4” Assassin Slurps and 3” Gulp Swimming Mullet are top lures to try. Much like bait fishing, keeping the lure on the bottom is the key. Most successful plastics anglers either use a slow hopping retrieve or ‘whip’ the lure with a violent jerking action before letting it settle back down on the bottom.
Fly fishers can do much the same thing using Clousers, Vampires and Pink Things. Choose a flyline to suit the depth of water you are fishing. Floaters are fine for very shallow water but intermediate sink lines are more practical for a variety of situations.
Trolling is another enjoyable way to fish for flathead. Small to medium sized deep diving lures like Lively Lures Mad Mullet and River 2 Sea Suspen Minnows are great ones to try. The key as always is to keep the lures moving slowly, close to the bottom and occasionally banging into the mud or sand to create disturbances.
There are some great bream to be had around the place at the moment. After their spawning run in winter, they are moving back into the creeks, rivers and the shallows around the islands.
One of the most successful techniques is to fish small surface lures like the Lucky Craft 65mm Sammy right up against the mangrove edges on the rising tide. The hits are often very aggressive and quite un-bream-like.
Snapper continue to fish well throughout the Southern Bay. The largest fish have been caught in popular deep water locations like Harry Atkinsons reef, the spoil grounds on the western side of Mud Island and the Spit Beacon off Peel. The northern side of Macleay Island has also fished well for snapper in the 35-60cm range, especially in the evenings.
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. For those who haven’t heard Fish Head will be moving at the end of October up to Victoria Point Town Centre, next door to Patton’s Butchers. For more info on the move subscribe for free to ‘The Tight Line’ at www.fishhead.com.auReads: 2369