Fish Fire Up Inshore
  |  First Published: September 2008

Inshore fishing has really begun to fire over the last few weeks in the Northern Bay, and it is defiantly starting to improve from the slow start we experienced during the early winter season.

Headlands and reef systems around Redcliffe Peninsular are producing some great fishing for snapper, tailor, flathead and bream. The Bay Islands are still harder to fish due to the cold clear water but it will begin to improve during September as the tidal flow begins to increase.

Good numbers of snapper are late this season but are starting to appear in good numbers during the darker hours. Whiting are also in healthy numbers around Deception Bay and all beaches around the mouths of the major river systems.

Scarborough Reef is still producing some stonker-sized bream over the shallow grounds; they have mostly completed spawning for the season and are ravenously trying to restore lost energy. The schools of smaller spawning fish have begun their migration back into the rivers but the big breeders are still about for the next month before they also retreat for the summer.

These bream are moving up into the skinny water to forage during the high tide, targetting small baitfish and molluscs and can frequently be seen fining the surface as they dart about. Sight casting small 50-75mm surface lures, wake baits or shallow diving lures in front of surface-feeding bream can make for some exciting sessions, especially when they dash 10m or so to crash-tackle your lure. Likewise, targetting surface feeding bream with small unweighted cubes of mullet has great result amongst the wash from breaking waves.

Remember to keep up your confidence when fishing on top-water and be sure to remain fishing right through until the tide abates and dries out the flats, as the bream will come. The deeper holes adjacent to the reef are where these fish will retreat to towards the bottom of the tide and respond better to lightly weighted plastics and vibration blades.

Flathead are still the standout species around Redcliffe and we are set for a bumper season on these guys, 20+ fish per session is an easy prospect along the Scarborough flats, Bramble Bay and the Pine River. Curl-tailed plastics are dynamite and must have been designed specifically for flatties as they find them totally irresistible. Bright coloured lures in pink, yellow or white and working them across the sandy patches between the rubble/reef will draw a strong response. Using slightly heavier jigheads about 1/6-1/4oz helps to enable the plastic grubs to bounce close to the bottom and kick up plenty of sand. By using a fast drift pattern and casting out in a radius to your boat, schools of flathead can be located quickly. There is nothing better than a feed of fresh white flathead fillets and September is the month to capitalise on them.

Tailor are still about in force but are smaller specimens than we had last month, however, the schools are defiantly bigger and more widespread. Good schools have been encountered in the local rivers and canals, the fringing reefs around the headlands and out on the shallow banks near the Pearl Channel. Using a good berley mix consisting of chicken pellets, tuna oil, beach sand and mashed pilchards in good current lines will get the tailor on the chew and hold them in the vicinity for a longer period.

An old technique my grandfather showed me to target tailor was to use strips of tuna or mullet cut into slithers, just long enough for your ganged hooks, then place into a container filled with tuna oil and put into the fridge for about 4-5 days. This process marinades the fillets with oil and, even though it is the stinkiest, it is the best bait to fish for tailor. Also, adding rock salt will preserve the fillets and they will not require refrigeration when on extended trips.

Offshore the snapper are in enough numbers to make a trip out wide worthwhile. Pearlies are still abundant and are filling up most of the esky space along with cod, amberjack, parrot and trag. Cobia are beginning to show up in good numbers over the shallower reefs and are falling to large live baits meant for snapper. Cobes will begin to school up during September so fishing likely spots, like beacons and bait grounds north of Moreton Island, is worth investing your time in. Enjoy some great spring fishing this month.

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