Tailor and bream will be the big news in June.
Their numbers have been steadily increasing in the southern bay lately, which looks great for the winter season. Other winter species like squid and flathead are also becoming more common around the weedbeds and shallow flats, while snapper and jewfish have been getting bigger on the reefs. Recently some excellent snapper and jewfish were caught on the reefs around Peel to Mud islands and in the Rous Channel. Both baits and lures have been successful, with mullet fillets and large prawns the most popular baits. Watermelon coloured 5” plastics such as Gamblers, Gulps and Zooms have also been doing very well.
Tailor are voracious feeders that travel in schools, wreaking havoc on baitfish wherever they go. They feed during the day and night but are most active at dawn and dusk. Their eyes adapt to changes in light faster than most fishes, so they have a real advantage over their prey at these times.
Land-based anglers often catch tailor at places like Wellington Point, Cleveland Point, Victoria Point and the Redland Bay rock walls. Pilchard and garfish baits on ganged hooks work very well on an incoming tide in the evenings when tailor patrol the shallow waters. The jetties and walls at the mouth of Raby Bay canals provide good spots to flick lures from the shore – metal slugs like 25g Sea Rocks, poppers such as Storm Chug Bugs and diving minnows all work well.
Out of a boat, tailor make great targets for anglers working poppers in the shallows around the Bay islands. Bream, trevally, kingfish and the occasional snapper are great by-catches that are often encountered in these areas.
Tailor frequently work bait schools on the surface, between Peel Island and Macleay Island but also in the channel out from Redland Bay and in the Caniapa Passage. Casting metal lures into the surface bust ups is a fun way to fish, but trolling diving lures such as 3” Lively Lure around the schools is a effective and less energetic option. The surface feeding fish are often only small choppers, so letting the lure sink almost to the bottom before retrieving or using deeper diving lures means some bigger greenbacks can be encountered. Flyfishers often use a Surf Candy on a fast sink line to avoid the unwanted attention of small choppers.
In the evenings tailor can best be targeted on baits around the edges of channels and drop-offs. Any steep drop-offs near Snipe, Macleay, Russel and Pannikin islands are good spots to try on a rising tide. Many experienced anglers stagger their baits so they can catch passing fish on the bottom, in mid-water or near the surface. Generally the fish will be closer to the bottom early in the evening and move up in the water column as the night progresses.
Squid and bream will be available in June in the southern bay, and both can actually be caught on small poppers amongst mangroves and shallow rock and coral banks. Small poppers less than 60mm have been the most successful but lures to 85mm also work well occasionally.
Chemically sharpened hooks are a must to penetrate the bream’s bony mouth and the squid tentacles. Some top models include Pop Queens, XPS poppers and Tiemco stick baits. The lures are worked very slowly with long 10-20 second pauses. It’s not recommended to use fluorocarbon leaders as they will sink and cause the lure to dive when you twitch it, so fine mono or Monic floating leader work better. Using scent spray can also increase your strike rate considerably.
The weed and mudbanks off Macleay, Russel, Long and Pannikin islands and the shoreline from Victoria Point through to Point Talburpin will all productive areas for flathead. They will respond to baits like hardiheads and baby blue pilchards drifted across the bottom and a variety of lures.
Until next month, tight lines, or for more information on the southern Moreton Bay area come and see me at Fish Head (Cnr Broadwater Tce and Stradbroke St, Redland Bay, www.fishhead.com.au) or call us on (07) 3206 7999.Reads: 3334