If last month’s fishing is anything to go by Northern Bay anglers are in for a cracking season after most anglers have reported mixed bags.
With small patches of school and spotted mackerel on the bite in September, the season looked to be starting early, but they disappeared quickly and snapper have started to bite again. The water around the islands has really cleared up over the last few weeks causing the shallow water fish to become really flighty during daylight hours.
It is still possible to catch some of the better-sized knobbies in close under the cover of darkness. Squire have started to school up and are definitely not as abundant as they were at this time in August. If you find a school holding over a particular area then it is well worth trying to keep contact with them. Most of the fish in these congregations are of legal size and some good catches can still be taken.
Further out on the deeper reefs there are still plenty of pearlies and average-sized snapper on the chew. Most boats that head out are being rewarded with nice catches and getting their limits easily. Red emperor and nannygai are also starting to show up in numbers around large reef pinnacles, and although most are undersize the occasional keeper has found its way to the boat.
The summer current is slowly starting to increase its flow, one day the current can be ripping through and virtually impossible to hold bottom and the next day nothing. Longtail tuna, black and yellow kingies, and amberjack are terrorising the offshore reef systems at the moment and are annoying to deal with at times. Baits meant for reef fish are being slammed most times before they get to the bottom resulting in anglers being bent over the boats gunnels to subdue their catch.
I haven’t heard of any XOS cobia yet but most of the fish taken further out are averaging 15kg. The best baits would have to be the freshest available and yakkas are exactly that at the moment, so take a few bait jigs out when you go.
Inshore, and up the creeks the warming water has definitely sparked the cod into action, any rubble grounds or rock walls are worth flicking small lures or baits. A good way to finish an early morning soft plastics session around Mud Island is to race back to the ever expanding rock wall reclamation area at the mouth of the Brisbane River. Tie on a small shallow diving bibbed lure or shad style plastic and slow troll all the way back to the loading docks. Nice goldspot cod sit in the rocks crevasses waiting to ambush small baitfish as they pass by. Cod, flathead, squire, Moses perch, mangrove jack, tailor and grunter are all a very good possibility when trolling along this strip.
Now will be a good time to start live baiting the various deep holes around the river mouths at night for school jew. You will probably catch a hundred whaler sharks before you hook a jewie so patience is a must. It’s a good idea to use nylon leaders so that when you hook a nice fish and it doesn’t bite you off, there is a good chance it isn’t a shark.
Some of the better spots to catch live bait around the rivers are try the mud flats around the mouth – just wait until low tide. Herring, mullet and prawns can all be collected this way.
I am currently looking into joining a fishing club. I want to do this to produce more informative articles for readers. As my most preferred fishing method is with the use of soft plastics I feel that there is a need to expand my horizons and discuss the other forms of fishing each month. Kind of keeping my fingers more over the heart rather than just on the pulse.
I have a new e-mail address for readers to contact me with their fishy tales and pictures --e-mail address hidden-- I will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible about fishing in the Northern Bay. See you out there.Reads: 456