Have a rocking time at Redcliffe
  |  First Published: November 2007

Over the past few months I’ve been fishing the rock walls at Redcliffe, about half hour north of Brisbane. These rock walls are in place to protect houses and apartments from beach erosion, but they form great fishing platforms too.

There are four of these walls along the east coast of Redcliffe, each are similar in length and at high tide they extend about 30m out from the beach. One of these walls have a concrete path as well, so you can take your kids fishing off a rock wall in safety.

I found sunset and sunrise produce good quality fish, especially if there is an incoming tide. Many species of fish can be caught here such as whiting, garfish, bream, sweetlip, cod and my favourite – slatey bream which is also known as the mother-in-law or morwong. It is a good fighter for such a small fish, are in good numbers and I have not caught an under-size one yet. There is a bag limit on slateys of five so watch your bag when they start to bite.

My best fishing time is late in the afternoon generally two hours before high tide when the tide is coming up over the rocks. My favourite wall is on the end of shield street which is a very good spot because on the right side is a sandy bottom which is good for whiting and flathead and the left side has a rocky bottom, good for slateys, sweetlip, cod and bream. At the front of the wall there is a reef and I find it to be the best time to fish when the tide is almost up and the sun is setting.

Knowing what different species like can help you catch what your after but if your in a rush or have made a minute decision to go fishing then frozen prawns from a service station on your way home from work is a good option. Most fish, even whiting, will take prawns. The best bait I have found to work well is mullet fillets: cut a small strip about 4-5cm long on a size 6/0 hook. Mullet are in large numbers around these rocks so mullet fillets make good sense to use as bait.

Lures can be used on the sandy side of these rocks. Soft plastics are becoming very popular now days and anglers are having great success using them. The only time I use plastic lures is when I want to try my luck catching flathead but I'll never go past bait because fish smell first then see.

Any rod will catch fish at these rocks but keep your outfit light because there's nothing better then feeling the fight that slateys can put on you. They’re not like a bream where you'll feel a nibble then a hard pull, instead you'll just feel a big tug and your rod will go crazy – that's when you know you have a slatey on your line. When you bring it in be sure to hold them tight when you put them in your bucket.

You won't need a variety of tackle to catch slateys. The tackle you use to catch bream will definitely do the job, even a hand line will catch you slateys: 9-15lb line is best for a lot of species found around these rocks but 6lb line would not have the required strength. Sinkers up to a number 8 work well, but like most fishing spots it depends on weather conditions and the prevailing current. Generally, the east coast of Redcliffe will have northeast or southeast winds around 10-20 knots and if it's blowing a southeasterly then fish on the left side of the rocks and vice-versa if it is a northeasterly.

I like to use a number 10 ball so there is a little movement of your bait while it travels past the reefs. A number 6/0 hook is perfect for most fish in this area. No trace will be needed to fish these rocks because of the reefs but I like to take a half dozen of pre-rigged traces so I can fish on the sandy side of the rocks where I can let my bait sit up a little waiting for the whiting to come through. A short trace around 30cm in length with a red tube is perfect.

If your curious about what the bottom looks like on the rocky side of the wall then have a look at low tide.

I'm not a seafood fan, but I've heard Australian slateys are very good eating if they are bled at capture and if the fillets are skinned for good eating.

So, if you’re ever in the area come down and have a fish off the rocks. You'll be amazed what you'll get considering your only about 30m from the bank and the nights are impressive when the moon rises up over Moreton Island. Be a little careful while on the rocks because a little sea spray can make the rocks slippery so decent footwear is a good idea. You'll see me there most afternoons so come and have a fish with me! – David Murray

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