Late spring in the Southern Bay is an interesting time. The pelagic numbers are starting to build up, bream, kingfish, trevally and the odd queenfish can be found around the shallow rocky reefs. Cod and jacks are getting hungry in the creeks and canals while the Bay Islands are holding increasing numbers of sweetlip.
A variety of species can be targeted in a day on the bay at the moment. A typical day could start with some topwater fishing in the shallows at the crack of dawn for trevally, kingfish and the odd tailor, followed by tossing some soft plastics for snapper along the reef edges and then chasing mackerel and tuna around the channels as the day progresses.
Shallow water fishing for kings and trevally on topwater lures is an early morning affair with the fishing usually all over once the sun hits the water. The size of poppers and stickbaits to use does depend on what bait is present at the time. If there are showers of small whitebait and hardiheads about, then stick to lures in the 50-70mm range. If garfish are skipping across the surface then consider moving up to 70-100mm size lures. Some popular lures include Tiemco Black Peppers and Red Pepper Babys, XPS Z Pops and Jackson RA Pops. Kings and trevally are curious creatures that turn on and off very quickly so mix up your retrieves with slow bloops, fast twitches, long pauses and so on. Good locations to try are anywhere that current meets shallow reef. Look on a map of the Bay Islands and you will see there are points that stick out into the adjacent channels around Mud, Green, St Helena, Goat and Coochiemudlo islands. The only area to watch out for is the Green Zone at the northern and western side of Peel Island. The shallow coral flats here are out of bounds (anything in 2m of water or less on a zero tide) but the channel marker poles sitting out in deeper water are fair game for anglers. Hooking trevally and kingfish on the marker poles is one thing, landing them in this barnacle encrusted environment is another thing entirely!
Chasing snapper along the reef edges is good fun in November. A lot of other less common species show up at this time of the year as well. Coral trout, spangled emperor, grass emperor, estuary cod, various tuskfish and chinaman fish are all a possibility. Varying your approach can pay dividends with the snapper and the bycatch. Downsizing you presentation from the regular 4-5” plastic to something like a 3” Assassin Shad will still catch snapper but it will also appeal to the emperors and tuskfish. On the other hand upping the strength of your tackle to 20lb or even 30lb can put the odds in your favour if a good sized trout comes along. The heavy tackle approach works better after a bit of rough weather; if the water is too clear, the snapper will shy away from the larger leader size.
Tuna and mackerel can be quite flighty early in their seasonal run - here one minute gone the next. Or popping up everywhere but not balling up the bait enough for you to stalk individual schools. There are a few tricks that can turn things your way, however. The easiest one to do is to sit on the edge of a sandbank, adjacent to where there are fish popping up. Be patient and just keep casting along the edge of the dropoff. Sooner of later a fish or two should work their way along the edge and with a bit of luck they will run into your lure. It seems like a pretty random approach for anglers more used to stalking schools of tuna or mackerel, but it is very effective. Small metal lures like 7-14g Sea Rocks work well on the mackerel when ripped up from the bottom at speed, while 4-5” Assassin Shads and Zoom Superflukes work great on tuna when slowly hopped back up off the bottom. Fly anglers do very well casting large deceivers, polar fibre minnows and bush pigs out on sinking lines and then stripping them back slowly. Just hold on tight for that big hit out of the blue when you least expect it!
Until next month, tight lines! For more information, give me a call on 07 3207 9965 or --e-mail address hidden-- . Alternately drop in and see us at Fish Head in Victoria Point. We are located near MacDonalds in the Town Centre at Victoria Point, just off the Redland Bay Rd.Reads: 1201