Love this time of year
  |  First Published: June 2006

You just have to love this time of year: clear blue skies, cool crisp mornings and calm glassed out seas. And from the way the fish have been biting, it seems they also enjoy this time of year.

Lots of great catches have been reported from the reef patches and rubble grounds from around the Redcliffe Peninsula.

Flathead have started to increase in numbers and size, with some great catches coming from the Wells area on artificials and the old school baits. A lot of these lizards have been over the legal size limit but all were returned to the water. At this time of the year the bigger fish tend to move into shallower waters to chase the shoals of baitfish that other species also come in closer for.

It’s a good idea to remove treble hooks from hard-bodied lures and replace them with single hooks. This ensures the safe unhooking for all fish that will be returned to the water. I believe that single hooks result in more hook-ups than trebles do. I catch more flatties lures than I do on bait - must have something to do with them actively attacking a faster moving bait.

Scotts Point is also another good place to start targeting with softies at this time of year with larger bream beginning their annual spawning run over the next couple of months. Last year I saw several 1kg+ large bream run themselves up on to the beach at Pelican Point. I’m not sure why this happened but it could be related to the fish’s spawning depleting it’s energy so severely that it couldn’t escape the falling tide. This just shows that a lot bigger fish actually hang quite close to the shore where they can quite easily be caught by shore-based anglers.

Most anglers usually bypass these areas to chase fish further abroad. Tailor, squire, whiting and cod will all respond to a variety of lures in June.

Last June I got the best results when spinning for tailor using the small 4” white Snapback flickbaits. I would work the lure through the rock outcrops in the mid-water with short sharp flicks on retrieval that ensured the interest of passing schools. The best part about using Snapbacks is that a tailor will repeatedly hit at the lure until it is hooked. The ultra soft cyber flex plastic is virtually indestructible and one tail outlasts all other tails on the market by about 20 to 1 – very handy when fishing for these toothy critters.

The winter species will start to congregate around the shallower grounds soon. Just remember that when the fish are in large schools and are seemingly quite easy to catch it means they’re spawning, so anglers should only take enough for a feed. It’s vital that we conserve fish populations for next year and for the years ahead.

Mack tuna have been terrorising the bait schools out wide and some barrel-sized longtails are showing up amongst them. It is always a good idea to have a heavier spinning outfit set up and on hand to flick out amongst the passing schools.

Mack are still a bit shy when approached by boats and will dive quickly only to resurface just out of casting range. Spending all day out on the water targeting these fish can get frustrating, especially when they are flighty. I’ve found that sitting and waiting for the passing schools is a better way to connect to tuna, as well as fishing floaters and the bottom for other species like mackerel and snapper.

Set up in a current line where there is some activity. If you establish a good berley trail it won’t take you too long to catch a mixed bag. The better places to do this are in amongst the channels in the Northern Bay like the Pearl Channel, Main Channel or Central Banks area. It is quite surprising the variety of species that can be caught by using this method – each fish hooked can be anyone’s guess as to what might be coming up next. Sometimes they are so unstoppable they often leave you wanting more. So get ready for the cold and get out there, good luck!

My Two Cents

SEQ has seen amazing results from recent conservation and changes to bag limits in the last year with the best snapper and bream season most people can remember. Most of the old-timers that I have spoken to said that the snapper fishing was like it was 30 years ago. This supports the fantastic results that good management can achieve over a short period of time.

I would like to see further size and bag limit restrictions imposed on heavily fished species such as bream. I believe that the legal size of 23cm should be increased to 27cm because of the difference between the two lengths fillet sizes. I don’t the fillets from a 23cm bream justify killing it for a meal.

There is a lot of talk about marine park closures for Moreton Bay, with the Queensland Marine Parks Authority going head to head with the Fishing Party QLD over the proposed Moreton Bay Parks no fishing green zones. This affects Brisbane anglers directly and I think that a total review on bag limits and sizes is a far more sustainable and viable option. Any closures to fishing areas in the bay will be far more destructive for the local fishing and boating industry in the southeast. Not to mention the smaller independent stores that are already fighting to stay afloat against the ever-mounting ‘super stores’ that are spreading throughout the country.

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