Anglers who braved the cold chill of winter mornings have been rewarded with a great turnaround of fishing in the Northern Bay. Tailor have been the standout species over last month turning up in abundant schools. Anglers have encountered these toothy speedsters at all corners of the bay with particularly large congregations holding around the re-claimed area at the mouth of the Brisbane River and Scarborough Reef.
The predator’s movements have been given away by showers of terrified bait easily visible trying to escape as schools of tailor tear through them. The tailor have been averaging around 1kg with some fish as big as 4kg amongst the schools. Chasing the boiling schools with surface lures or deep diving minnows brings great excitement for both angler and fish.
Surface walkers like Lucky Craft Sammy’s or poppers like SPRO Hydro-Pop are prime tackle for targeting the boils. Cast hard up against the rocks and work the lure out through the boils. Varying your retrieve speed can be the difference between enticing a strike and not getting the slightest interest. But the tailor have been pretty ravenous for the most part, so getting hook ups has not been too difficult.
Keeping the fish and lure attached to your line can be the tricky part when fishing the boil. Other tailor in the school have a bad habit of stealing from their mate’s mouths and subsequently biting through your line. Using high tensile fluorocarbon leaders and a short thin wire trace about 75mm long can help evade some lost fish and improve catch rates when the fish aren’t too finicky.
The awesome tailor action this season is a hot topic amongst anglers. These fish can be expected to hang around for the next couple of months so be sure to get amongst them while you can, as it has been a few years since tailor numbers have been this good.
Some better numbers of bream have shown up recently over the last few weeks and are becoming a little easier to find. Most deep holes near the mouths of creeks, rivers or canals hold good numbers of big fish, it is just a matter of waiting for the right tidal phase for them to come on to the bite.
The bream have really put on some weight with average fish being around 35cm to the tip of the tail and about 800g. I have even seen some schools of bream consisting of fish up to 1.5kg. Most frustratingly, the clear water makes the big bream easy to see but hard to hook, even when using 2lb fluorocarbon line.
The latest, greatest plastics producing good results of bream at the moment are the 2.5” Gulp Shrimp in banana prawn. The only problem with this latest addition to the Holy Grail of plastics is finding a tackle store that has them in stock.
Deep diving hardbody minnows are still producing great fish when worked around deep structure. This allows the lure to bump along the rocky areas, which really gets bream interested. Casting away from the main structure also helps locate fish at this time of the year – bream can sometimes hold a surprising distance away from cover when they are congregating to spawn.
Spotting bream mooching under pontoons or over shallow reef is usually a good sign that the fish are actively feeding, so spend a good amount of time working the area to draw a strike before moving on. Surface bites have slowed a little, which probably has a lot to do with tailor beating the bream to the lure.
Bream and tailor aside, I am happy to report the annual flathead migration is now underway – somewhat earlier than last year. These pre-historic looking fish have been in healthy numbers around Scott’s Point and Scarborough Reef for the last few weeks, with the draining tide make it quite easy to catch 15-20 fish in a few hours.
Quietly working the rubble areas around the headlands away from other boats is the key to success. Flathead are also a good target for land based anglers at the moment as most of the decent fish I have caught recently have come from areas that are actually easier for land based anglers to access. Be sure not to overlook the stretches of beach between the rocky points.
Bright coloured lures and plastics (like electric chicken style colours) are one of the best when targeting flatties in both clear and murky water. Make sure to keep the lure moving with only short breaks when retrieving, which will help to draw plenty of attention from the fish in the vicinity. The old saying of where there is one there is more is defiantly true for these guys as they all flock to the same areas where food is plentiful.
Snapper have been elusive to say the least so far this season. While some mixed reports of good fish have filtered in from the Redcliffe region with the occasional fish out around the islands, as far as numbers go, they seem to pale in comparison to last year’s cracker snapper season.
Fingers crossed the snapper are just a little late this year and we can get a good run at some decent knobbies on the shallow grounds this month. Keep working the usual haunts and you should eventually crack a pattern that will get the snapper biting.
Good luck for the coming month and enjoy the best month of winter fishing in the Northern Bay.Reads: 829