The strong summer currents have well and truly settled in for the season and have turned the clear Bay water to a murky muddy-brown, which makes navigating the shallow reef areas more difficult around the Redcliffe Peninsular and Bay Islands.
With the change of currents and water clarity, fishing has become a little hit and miss over the past few weeks, however there are still some good fish to be caught for anglers who put in the effort in locating bait schools.
Anglers targeting the shallow reefs and sandy foreshores at Scott’s Point and Scarborough Reef have produced nice flathead and summer whiting on the run-out tide. Fresh baits of whiting fillets, nippers or hardiheads are working a treat rigged un-weighted on small hooks.
There are still plenty of bream around the headlands at present and there are some real stonkers amongst the smaller pickers. A good way of avoiding undersized by-catch along these reef structures is by using small surface poppers like River2Sea Bubble Pop, Rebel Pop-R, Lucky Craft Sammys and Bassday Sugarpen.
Work these top water lures on sunrise with a super slow action and plenty of long pauses to imitate injured baitfish or prawns. The great thing about fishing the surface is there is less chance of losing expensive lures to the reef. It is also quite surprising the variety of fish that will actually rise to smash a well presented surface lure. The adrenalin rush that comes with this style of fishing makes it great fun too.
Alternatively using small lightly weighted plastics bounced along the bottom will produce its fair share of results. Just remember when the water is dirty to use plastics designed to send vibrations through the water.
Small snapper are still being caught during the dark hours at Redcliffe but it has definitely been an ordinary season all round for the pink fish. But I doubt the lack of pink fish catches is not due to recreational fishermen raping the sea like some green lobbyists will have us all believe. It’s just a natural cycle of nature and fish migration patterns that change from year to year. I think if anything or anyone is to blame, then global warming and nutrient rich run-off from farming has far more impact on fish stocks than recreational fishermen.
Further out in the Bay the surface boils are becoming more prolific as schools of Longtail tuna, mack tuna and school mackerel slash and crash through small balls of baitfish. Some anglers have been having good success on these surface schools lately as they don’t seem to be too wary of boats approaching, unlike past seasons when feeding pelagics vanished quickly when approached.
Fly fishers seem to have a higher hook-up rate than the metal slug brigade. The pelagics are definitely becoming more cunning every year so keep changing lures and flies until you finally get one that works.
In my experience clear hand-poured soft plastics like Juro’s Firebait Minnows are the best lures of choice when times get tough. Rather than ripping the lure back to the boat at lightning speed try giving rapid jerks and rips with short pauses when retrieving the plastic, this gives a better imitation of fleeing bait and is more likely to get smashed.
Another good method is to use the afore mentioned plastic rigged with TT’s 1/12th HWS hooks and left to waft down below the bait boils.
The Pearl Channel has started to produce some nice gold-spot cod. As the tide flows over the sand bars, drift with soft plastic jerk-baits, bouncing them along the bottom to help locate feeding fish quickly. Continue to work productive areas as cod are likely to strike at an offering several times until the bait has been engulfed.
Other catches from the Pearl include tuna, mackerel, parrot, morwong, squire and cobia. Keep you terminal tackle in top condition, hooking unstoppable brutes is common and some prized catches have been taken from the pearl over the past few seasons.
The Brisbane River still seems to be fishing fairly well. As the water warms up the schooling snapper will begin to disperse and these fish will hunt in smaller groups around the deeper drop-offs.
The prawn migration is also in full swing. The river is fishing at its best as the tide is falling, with the prawn schools a prime location to fish for snapper, threadfin, jew, jacks, bream and flathead. Try fishing areas in and around the mouth of Boggy Creek, Clara’s Rocks and along the shipping terminals.
Now is the time to put in some decent lure casting for anglers that are chasing the dream of catching a world-class threadfin. Threadies will eat anything that is well presented but one of the proven lures has been Jackall Mask Vibes in 60 or 70. Colours that have worked for me in the past include ghost black red belly, pink ayu, red head, tenn shad and gold fleck. A good tip from Harry Watson was to leave the pre-rigged hardware (hooks and rings) on the lure and upgrade your line class to 30lb+ because when the lure gets attached to the plug the lure can be pulled in most circumstances, creating fewer lost lures.
Mud Island has fished a little better over the last month now the water has more colour to it. Plenty of good tailor schools are still haunting the shallow grounds with solid fish up to 2kg quite common. Using surface lures over the shallows on sunrise will get these speedsters to fire up with plenty of good bream also beginning to get in on the action.
Flathead have begun to quieten down as the water heats up but are still around in enough numbers to target along the sandy stretches close to the shoreline. An occasional snapper is also being taken with small fresh live baits of whiting, grinners and pike in the shallows but only at night. Well worth an overnight expedition if you get the chance over the next month.
Lastly, I would like to thank the readers of QFM and hope I have contributed enough information to help you catch a few over the past year. This year has seen some big changes within QFM and I know 2009 will be even bigger. Be sure to also grab an issue of the 2009 Catch magazine for loads of in-depth information on some of the best fishing locations on the East Coast.
I look forward to seeing you out on the water over the Christmas period so come over and say G ’day if you get the chance. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and remember: stay safe, stay patient and most of all stay jolly! Cheers.Reads: 736