Rains have freshen up the fishing
  |  First Published: December 2008

Christmas is done and dusted for another year and it is hard to believe we are officially in 2009. I have now entered my fourth year writing for QFM and hope that this year will be even bigger than the last. I remember the very first article that left my keyboard and how I wanted it to be the best source of information for anglers in the Northern Bay area. And today, I still feel exactly the same...

This year I endeavour to bring the most up-to-date information for where the fish are biting, as well as more feature articles with tips and techniques for Moreton Bay and the Great South East. Yep, it’s going to be a cracker year, and what better way to kick off than to go fishing!

Moreton Bay has been fishing reasonably well despite the abundant freshwater that has been around for the last couple of months. Pelagics have been the mainstay for anglers lucky enough to get out beyond the dirty water that has been flushed out of the rivers.

Barrel-sized longtail tuna are busting in the channels with strong tidal flow. Feeding on mainly small pilchards and hardiheads, they have been staying up long enough for approaching boats to fire off a cast or two. High-speed slices, as always, are hooking plenty of fish. To keep the tuna connected, replace the trebles with single hooks; trebles have a tendency to pull out right at the most crucial part of the battle due to ‘leaver action’ from the fish.

Small hand poured soft plastics, like Juro’s Firebait Minnow, have by most reports accounted for the bigger fish and a higher hook-up rate than the conventional high-speed spinning technique. My favourite colours for tuna are translucent or pink, particularly if the water is running clear.

Using very light jigheads, allow the plastic to waft through the water column with the occasional twitch. This keeps the lure in the strike zone longer and also fishes deeper if the tuna should decide to dive. As always, with these sometimes finicky speedsters, varying your retrieves pays the best dividends. Finding the best retrieve speed for the day makes the difference in a successful trip.

School mackerel have also shown up in the Bay over the last few weeks. Although most are small they are definitely a buzz to catch on the light gear.

The leads at the end of the Brisbane River are a great starting point for a few schoolies (not the Gold Coast partying type). Using live baits caught with bait jigs around the beacons will have you into some action in no time. Set your livies at varying depths and be sure to have one set down on the bottom. Mackerel will usually feed from the bottom during the heat of the day in summer and by keeping an eye on your sounder will help you to identify the depth of the bait schools and mackerel.

Bashing the beacons throughout the Bay is very popular and another great method for finding mackerel. The best Beacons for this method are the markers to the shipping channel near Moreton Island. The water is always clearer and deeper than those at the mouth of the river.

As mackerel rely predominantly on their vision for hunting, getting a reaction bite is easier in deeper, clearer water and can also draw fish in from quite some distance away. Use small metal slices and jerk bait type soft plastics in varying colours have produced good results.

Jigging multiple beacons also has another advantage; the bay can turn up any manner of fish species, so hooking into something a little bit different is definitely on the cards. Don’t be surprised if you connect to black and yellowtail kingfish, Spanish mackerel, all varieties of tuna, snapper and endless types of reef species.

The shallow island reefs are coming back into shape after the fresh with some quality pinkies, cod, bream and the odd grunter. Now is a great time to get amongst some exhilarating surface fishing for bream with the top water temperature warming up nicely. If you haven’t yet tried fishing on top for bream get out and give it a go, you will be blown away at how aggressive these little blokes can be; and getting dusted by a 1kg+ bream is surprisingly common around the sharp reefs.

All local tackle stores are a wealth of knowledge on the bream fishing craze. In particular Dizzy at Mossops tackle at the Gabba is probably your best bet for bream fishing advice, after all you can’t argue with the 2008 BREAM Champ. So, go pick his brains and he will get you into a few beaut surface bream.

As we get even closer to losing a large portion of the bay to green zones, now is a good time to get out and fish them before they are gone forever. Earn a few stories of the meritorious catches and ones that got away; as these stories will be the closest your kids will get to experience fishing in these waters.

Brisbane River is still the giant threadfin capital of Australia, it amazes me how the river continues to produce 1m+ fish as regular as it has over the past few seasons. Recent rains have made for a promising river prawn season so far to tempt these monsters.

After a heavy local downpour the shallow mangrove creeks receive an influx of freshwater run-off, this high-level of freshwater has a very low amount of oxygen and flushes the small to medium prawns out into the main river basin and deep holes. As soon as the tide ebbs and begins to run out; now is the time to begin looking for monster threaddies marauding the prawn schools.

Slow hopping Jackall Mask Vibs and soft plastics around creek mouths, drop-offs, deep holes and current lines (especially eddies created from the current) will get you amongst the action in no time. One tip is to be persistent, if you are confident in the area you are working will hold threaddies then be patient, as fish will move into the area, particularly if it is holding good schools of bait and prawns. It is not unusual to fish in one area for up to an hour or more before hooking into that metre-plus giant, and the end results are worth the wait!

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