Sporadic would be the best word to sum up the weather and fishing in the Northern Bay over the next month. Rain, blistering winds and rough seas one day then perfect, calm, cool days the next mark what is a tempestuous month. This is the time of the year when the weather patterns are sorting themselves out as the climate cools down heading towards winter. This can be the best time for fishing in our beautiful part of the coast as both winter and summer species can both be caught in the same fishing grounds.
For Bay snapper fishers this can be the most productive time of the year. Strong summer tides will keep the water around the shallows murky whilst the water temperature begins to drop dramatically. Big knobbies will become more ravenous as they feed up in the shallows prior to the annual spawning run commencing. The water clarity will remain dirty and snapper will feed right through the day with less of a chance of being spooked in shallow water.
I have heard news of a few nice fish being taken on ultra light tackle just after sunrise recently. Some of which have tipped the scales at upwards of 8kg. With the amount of bait holding around the shallows recently expect to see some prize catches of snapper over the coming months. Soft plastics will defiantly take their fair share of exceptional fish again this season. Remember to lighten the weight of the jighead as winter progresses and the water clarity improves. Soft plastics slowly wafting towards the bottom like a dying baitfish will attract a lot more attention from wary snapper as opposed to a clunking heavy jighead and plastic combination.
Great catches of tailor are still being taken from the Northern Bay area and should only get better in the next few months. The better fish have been haunting shallow water drop-offs and moving up into the flats to hunt as the tide rises. Often concentrating on working one area where bait fish are present will produce tailor as the fish pass through with the tide. Recent captures have come from the shallows on the northern side of Mud Island, the sand flats between the reef outcrops at Scott’s Point and around the mouth of the Pine River. Keeping your eyes peeled for any surface activity will lead you to some fun light line action. Surface poppers have always been deadly for tailor but with the large variety of surface lures now on the market choosing one can be made hard. Small walk-the-dog type lures can be used as a popper, slider and also to walk in a zigzag fashion, therefore providing three surface lures in one.
The pelagic activity has finally begun, if a bit late. Longtail tuna and school mackerel are being found in great numbers on the ocean side of Bribie Island and in the Pearl Channel. These areas would have to be one of the best places to begin looking for longtail. Land-based anglers can get in on the action at Bribie when the bait schools are pushed into the gutters right behind the surf zone. The fish have mostly been flighty but on occasion have stayed up on the surface long enough to get a cast away.
The schools of tuna are being followed by some reasonable schools of sharks. Bigger bull sharks than what we have seen in the Bay over the last few seasons are around this year, so use a lot of care when fishing, especially when in murky water. One recent photo I have seen of a bull caught in the Brisbane River stretched the tape out to 8.5ft – a real man-eater given the right conditions. Our marine environment is dependent on these majestic creatures so return them to the water unharmed, they are another sign of how healthy our bay is.
There has been a late show of small marlin on the wide grounds but the small windows of good weather is reducing fishing time substantially. Hoping for a big season next summer is now a more likely prospect for the trolling brigade.
The Pine River continues to fish well and should continue over the next few months. Bream are beginning their annual migration towards the river mouth and should begin schooling up in the deeper holes. Average bream sizes are up on previous years, probably due to the great prawn run earlier this year. Fishing at night on the full moon is the best time to tangle with a few OS bream along reef flats at the mouth of the rivers. Places like The Wells and around Scarborough reef are definite night fishing hotspots for bream. Flathead catches are now declining and most are juveniles holding in the shallows. With a little work anglers are still able to catch a good feed of lizards on the mud flats further upstream. Flicking small hardbody lures amongst the rocky outcrops and slowly rolling them back to the boat will put you in with a good chance as the tide floods.
Have a great month, enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather and get ready for a bumper winter season.Reads: 645