Head to Moreton in April
  |  First Published: April 2006

Areas around Moreton Island will be the places to fish in April. The numerous coffee-rock ledges, deep drop-offs and artificial reefs from Tangalooma to the Cape will really start to fire. Anglers targeting pelagics like tuna, cobia and mackerel or the bottom dwellers such as snapper and sweetlip will have great sessions.

When baitfishing I like to drift live yellowtail pike or whiting along the 60ft drop-off from Cowan to Tangas. You can catch a variety of fish if you set your baits at different depths to cover more of the water column. Try to fish the top and bottom of the tides as the current really moves through this sector of the bay.

For the plastic fisherman, focus on artificial reefs and deep drop-offs with hard bottoms. Once you have found the productive structures enter them into your GPS so they’re easier to find on return trips.

Try using larger 4-6’ plastics. Fishing T-tails, single tails and minnows on 1/4-1oz jigheads has been worked well but Ecogear’s 5.5’ Minnow has been the best.

Keep your eyes glued to the sounder because most fish have been caught well off the bottom. There are plenty of snapper and sweetlip in this area that hold about 10ft off the bottom, so keeping your bait in the strike zone for the maximum amount of time will increase your hook-ups.

Closer to home

The smaller bay islands (Green, St Helena, Mud) were producing good catches of snapper, sweetlip and tailor in February. Try fishing away from the defined reef edges in the deeper water, this is a good way to locate larger fish when the water becomes clear in the cooler months.

Tailor generally feed in the shallow water closer to the island early in the mornings and evenings and take a variety of baits and lures. Tailor is also the prime livebait or stripbait for snapper, cod or mulloway in autumn.

The Brisbane River is still worth a look for snapper, jew and grunter (javelinfish). Grunter are normally associated with TNQ but decent numbers are being caught by anglers targeting snapper and jew. Fish to 4kg aren’t uncommon and will really test your tackle.

Flathead are starting to take up residence on the sandflats at the mouth of the river. Try using live poddy-mullet or banana prawns for the best results.

April’s fishing usually sets the benchmark for the rest of the cooler months. The bay has been fishing well and if the bait continues to build up around the islands then winter will be full of hot fishing.

Changes to the bay

Moreton Bay is going to see some major changes in the next eighteen months with more green zones proposed and the bag size of snapper being reduced from five fish to two.

Green zones have been in place for some time now, but some politicians have been trying to close 30-50% of Moreton Bay to recreational fishing. These new zones will be around the reef-fringed islands that are popular with recreational anglers. Any closures will simply saturate other areas of the bay.

The reduction of the bag limit for snapper focuses around the Gold Coast but will impact all of Queensland. I don’t think that making a blanket rule for the state is the right answer.

Communication, education and research are the keys to improving Moreton Bay. The incumbent minister needs to consider the ever increasing recreational and boating voice in Queensland, there is an election next year! Perhaps Queensland should adopt a general fishing licence to enable accurate figures for fighting these emotive issues?

Anglers wanting to voice their opinion should write to their local minister and join the fishing party because these two issues are going to impact the majority of saltwater anglers in SEQ.

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