The lead up to Christmas is here again and if you don’t make some time to get out on the water in December between all the parties and shopping to be done, then you will miss out on some great fishing! Aside from the fact that the waterways are far less crowded now than they will be from December 26 onwards, there is everything from mackerel, tuna, jack, bream, whiting, sweetlip, snapper and marlin available.
One of the questions I am constantly asked through spring is, “When will the spotties arrive?” While I don’t have a crystal ball to say exactly when the spotted mackerel will arrive in numbers, generally December is the month. Fingers and toes are crossed for the fish to come in numbers like two years ago rather than last year’s non-event, where dirty water and wide currents conspired to send the fish straight past Moreton Bay into Northern NSW.
For spotties, both baits and lures work very well. A chopped pilchard burley trail will usually get the attention of the fish and a drifted pilchard or live bait will usually do the trick in the bait department. Try anchoring up around the edge of the Chain Banks, Rainbow and Rous Channel or along the drop offs around Peel and Goat Islands.
If you are tossing lures or flies, try hunting around the same areas but look for the big slashes at the surface as the mackerel carve up the bait balls. Birds are another give away but they don’t generally follow the spotties in the same numbers as they would for mack tunas and bonito, which often hang out in the same areas.
Stalking the fish is often the most challenging part of chasing spotties. Often you carefully motor into a position to intercept a school of fish only to have boats come roaring in and spook the school at the last moment. But there are other days where the boats work the schools quietly and slowly together and at times almost every boat is hooked up at once.
Small lures and flies are generally best for chasing spotties early in the season. Some of the more popular lures include Spanyid Raiders and Snipers, Sea Rocks and Smith Metal Shads around 10-25g in weight. In flies it’s hard to go past the trusty Surf Candy in a #1 or 1/0 size, mackerel just can’t resist one of these stripped flat out past their nose.
In early November there were already a few small black marlin appearing along the coastline and if the reports from up the coast are anything to go by, this season should be a cracker!
If you want to get into a billfish, then trolling a spread of small to medium skirted lures anywhere from the South Passage bar out to the 50m line is a good place to start. At times, they can be found herding bait in as little as 7-8m of water, so don’t be surprised wherever these angry ‘little’ blacks turn up. Some of the more popular lures include Meridians in the smaller #4 and #5 sizes, Pakula Dojos and Moldcrafts. Aside from 10-40kg black marlin, there are also wahoo, mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna around for the trollers this month.
For a little more relaxing fishing, try pumping some yabbies around the sandbanks of the Southern Bay Islands on the low tide, then fish the sand flats and mangrove edges for bream and whiting on the rising tide. Lure fishers using small minnows such as Smith Jades, Jackall Chubbies and Strike Pro Pygmies can also target these areas.
Another fun way to spend a few hours in summer is flicking little poppers at whiting in the shallows. Look for areas of mixed sand and weed in knee deep or less water. The faster retrieves tend to excite the whiting while slower retrieves with long pauses tend to attract more bream.
Until next month, tight lines and Merry Christmas! For more information, give me a call on 07 3207 9965 or email on --e-mail address hidden-- . Alternatively 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 Road. We are open every day and also on Thursday nights during December.Reads: 1018