Hotting up the chilly weather
  |  First Published: June 2008

The weather is certainty getting cold in the South East, but the fishing is defiantly hotting up! We are rapidly approaching peak winter fishing conditions with some great species to target over the next month.

The one great thing about June is land-based fishing is a very viable option for those anglers who prefer to keep on terra firma. Top winter land-based hotspots in the Northern Bay are Scarborough Reef, Scotts Point and Pelican Point through to the Hornibrook Bridge.

Fishing around sunrise and sunset with full tides will bring the fish right to your feet. Fresh unweighted flesh baits will yield great returns in these areas, likewise for anglers using soft plastics and hardbody lures.

The most common practice for land-based fishers is to launch their offering as far as possible towards the horizon, but this is usually the best way to return home empty-handed. Most actively feeding fish will be within 1-4m from the shore, especially if baitfish are present. Working your lures or bait parallel to the shoreline will draw 10 times more strikes and result in a fun fishing session.

Bream, snapper, tailor, jew and elbow-slapper whiting have all begun congregating and are currently in their breeding cycles. This is when overfishing can have dire effects on fish stocks so sensible fishing is required to only take a enough fish for a feed.

Care should also be taken when catch and release is practiced, minimise handling of fish and the length of time the fish are out of the water, also be sure to remove hooks with minimal impact on the fish. If your hook is lodged too deep inside a fish’s mouth, snip it off as the hook will rust out quickly.

Prime fishing times during the month will revolve around the moon cycles. Full moon will trigger the start of the bream and snapper spawning in the shallow reef and headland areas. For the week over the full moon, bream will move into the shallows and (hopefully) away from predators to complete their cycle.

Cold southerly winds will force the fish to leap into action in a frenzied manner to be first to the brooding females. It is a great time for a reaction bite as bream will snap at any fish that enters the spawning area.

Keep your eyes peeled on the weather charts for the full moon and southerly wind around 10-knots, and you will be in for a great session. These fish expel a huge amount of energy during this time of the year and are forced to either eat or die, so the fishing is usually easy, though most bream are usually lean from the experience. It is not uncommon to see 1kg+ fish washed up dead on the shore during spawning season, its just nature’s way.

Tailor have been in some reasonably good schools so far this season with 2kg+ fish not being uncommon. Mud Island has had some nice tailor busting through the shallow reef ledges showering the baitfish in all directions. Casting small hardbody lures and surface walkers, like Lucky Craft Sammy 65’s, into the boils will draw some aggressive strikes. Remember to keep moving the lure even after a strike has occurred as tailor have the knack of missing hooks on the first, second and even third smash. But the fish will return again and again, until hooked or you lose your lure.

This type of fishing can be extremely visually stimulating to watch and get your adrenal glands working overtime. Be sure to carry a bag of crushed ice with you as tailor need to be chilled down as quickly as possible after dispatching, these guys also don’t freeze too well so setting a fresh feed of fish for dinner the same night is advisable.

Bait fishers should spend some time catching fresh hardiheads before every trip as this is the tailor’s preferred diet at the minute. Most boat ramps and shallow beaches in the Bay are holding good schools of these prime little baitfish.

The offshore fishing really began to fire during last month and should continue now for the next couple of months. Big bags of pearlies have come from the Wide Caloundra area with most fish succumbing to fresh pieces of mullet fished lightly.

Pearlies have been thick in comparison to the snapper with only the odd knobbie coming from within the schools. Try targeting the bigger fish by using large 7”+ soft plastics with strong jigheads and just enough weight to give the lure some action on the drop. This will help to avoid the pickers and ensure the fish you are hooked up to are quality. Japanese jigging will come into its own over the next few months as the AJ’s and sambo’s start smashing through the pearlie schools. Working your sounder looking for predominant drop-offs and deep balls of baitfish is the best way to save energy from jigging 100m of water tirelessly. Also, have your gear at the ready to drop as soon as likely areas appear on the screen, this will give you the best chance of getting your arms stretched.

Colour sounder hues of red and orange indicates when a bait ball is packed in tight and under siege from predatory species. Working blue or green soundings usually means the fish are not under any threat by pelagics and therefore not usually worth working your winding arm.

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