Peak Time in Northern Bay
  |  First Published: July 2006

Now that the snapper and tailor season is in full flight the fishing in the bay has really kicked up a notch.

Good catches of squire to 4kg are common around the Redcliffe/Scarborough area with the odd 8kg snapper being pulled from the reef on moonless nights. It wasn’t uncommon last season to get bigger knobbies coming right in to shallow water, usually when the water is dirtied after a period of bad weather or on the nights when there is low light, either overcast or no moon.

Bigger fish tend to get a bit sketchy when the water is clear probably because they’re more exposed. Good whole live squid is one bait that won’t be passed by when night fishing around the rubble grounds, more often than not it will connect you to a keeper.

Squiding has become a favourite pastime for a lot of Brisbanites lately. Popular places like Shornecliffe Jetty, Woody Point Jetty and the old Hornibrook Bridge have all had good numbers of squid running which will continue through July’s really cold nights. Most anglers have been using two of the Japanese imitation prawn jigs on a daisy chain style set-up. Adding a small cylume stick just above the jig helps to attract the squid when they are a bit quiet. Take a prawn dab net with you when you go, there are some good leader prawns being flushed out on the falling tide at the moment as well.

Bream and whiting have been the stand out lately with exceptional catches of both fish coming from around the peninsular. A full moonlit night, in contrast to snapper, is a great time to target bream. Recent trips during the full moon accounted for good catches of 30+ bream, most of which were of legal size and all but two were returned to spawn.

Get to your spot before dark and fish the incoming tide, cast out unweighted baits of peeled prawn or mullet flesh and let the current wash it over the shallow reef. You will have loads of fun and come away with a feed. This method can also lead to several dust-ups from bigger bream. Frenzying bream will be a common scenario over July so try get out about two days before the full moon to get a few.

Whiting are where you find them and at the moment that seems to be everywhere. Fresh squid strips are winners for these fun little blokes, as well as mudworms and live nippers. Whiting are a great way to get the family into fishing and the best thing is there are no spikes to pierce soft hands.

The odd school mackerel can be found around the beacons but as the water cools expect them to be reluctant to chase jigs and spoons. Contrary to beliefs they do stay in the bay all year round but become a little slower in winter, so use livebait for the best results. When hooked they show the same line burning aggression as they do in summer. Jigging can still be productive but the warmer days are better. There is more chance of hooking into a rat king or one of the many tuna species. The kingies have returned to the bay in good numbers. This is the first time in years that they have been available in any great amount to actually become a target species again, not just a lucky by-catch. It will be interesting to see if the numbers increase again next season.


The soft plastic revolution has really come of age this season. With all the articles that have been produced in magazines lately you can’t help giving them a go.

Initially I thought that this whole idea was another ploy to strip anglers of more cash, but that’s not the case. I have been using softies for two seasons, and it’s become obvious to me that it’s more about thinking outside the box when it comes to flicking bits of rubber around the ocean.

After a long summer of being totally stubborn and refusing to buy bait, I have been committed to making these plastic tails work! Even though there was a dry spell of fish in my freezer. I caught some fish but nothing that got me worked up. Long story short, my persistence has paid off. Since the water has begun to cool off, all I can think of flicking about are plastics! Recent trips to Mud Island and reefs off the Redcliffe Peninsular have seen me going through bags of plastics every trip. As hard as I try, thumb clamped to my spool, I can’t stop the brutes!

Now, I have spent my time chasing barra and jacks in the north and that is an absolute buzz but this drifting the shallow rubble grounds is something else. For some reason flicking a soft plastic out into the open to no apparent structure really gets me going. For one, who knows what is going to smash your lure next? I have had sizzling runs, deep down muscling dogfights, and complete bite-offs. Not what you would get up north! Thanks to all the advice from Kim Bain and QFM my time out on the paddock has become one of seeking and catching different species on plastics. There really is no limit to what you can catch when you think about your prey and their prey.

Plastic colour seems to me to be more important than size or type. I was out one a trip lately with a mate who was fishing with a black/reddy orange Bay Slider. He hooked a fish on just about every second cast for five drifts over one particular reef. I only managed one hook-up for the whole five drifts. We were both casting in the same direction at the same time with the same retrieve. I finally succumbed and changed the colour of my plastic to something similar and my morning picked up dramatically.

So it stands to reason that when things are a little slow, change your approach and the outcome can make it all worthwhile! Good luck, see you next month!

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