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The heat of the moment
  |  First Published: April 2005



Our local waterways have suffered from the lack of rain in recent times. However, when we did finally receive rain, I saw masses of plastic bags, bottles, silt and all sorts of foreign objects hurtling down with the rapid water flow, and that was just at one particular drain which emptied into Nundah Creek.

Could you imagine pouring 500mL of warm water into a dirty rubbish bin, swishing it around a little and then pouring it into a fish tank containing your favourite pet fish? When it comes to looking after our waterways, it seems we’re doing too little too late.

Our local estuaries don’t have the luxury of being flushed by close ocean currents, and the shallow nature of Moreton Bay promotes a significant water temperature change throughout the year. These factors contribute to a very fragile system.

The table appears to have turned of late. Instead of choosing a good tide, time and place to go fishing, the process involves a progressive elimination of where and when not to go fishing. We don’t always have the luxury of being able to go fishing anytime we like, so it’s necessary sometimes to make best of a bad situation.

THE INFLUENCE OF TEMPERATURE

In the years before QFM was published, most of the fishing stories and articles I read focussed on Southeast Queensland. I eagerly read through everything I could get my hands on and, convinced that all of it was gospel, I could be found standing in the middle of a creek with a lantern and scoop net trying to catch prawns in the middle of the night, or desperately trying to turn drink bottles into poddy mullet traps. I honestly believed that any month with an ‘R’ in it would be good for catching mud crabs, and that no ‘R’ equalled no crabs.

A couple of years back I had the pleasure of spending a day on the water with a southern fishing journalist. At this stage I had spent three years taking notes on water temperatures and their apparent influence on where and when we achieved reasonable flathead captures. This particular journalist was a flathead guru who had caught flathead nearly twice as big as any I had ever caught and dozens bigger than my personal best. I couldn’t believe my luck – this guy was a walking encyclopaedia of flathead! Here was my big chance to compare notes on flathead and water temperatures.

When I asked him whether he found flathead more prolific and active in a particular water temperature bracket, he replied that water temperature had nothing to do with it! I was gob-smacked. After all my careful monitoring over the years, I felt as though I’d been hit with a brick. For the remainder of the day I just shut my mouth and listened.

I am still a very enthusiastic reader of material by southern journalists, but the difference now is that I’ve realised southern theories don’t always work in northern waters. It’s obvious that water temperature does play a significant role in Moreton Bay fish movement.

During early winter last year, we fished an area at the mouth of Nundah Creek to target bream. There was quite a chilly breeze blowing at the time, water temperature had dropped considerably, and we worked soft plastics along the drop-off of a shallow sand bank and hooked up to three small bream. We worked back along the bank, only this time working the soft plastics high up on the shallow bank to take four reasonable sized flathead. When separating the fish from the lure, I noticed they were warmer to the touch than the bream had been. The bank here was in lee of the breeze and open to direct sunlight, and it was 5 warmer than the main channel.

Hot session on bream

During the early stages of this year we travelled up and down the coast, and I had all but given up on anything that slightly resembled a red-hot fishing trip. My son Will rang me midweek at work and suggested we do a quick run out to one of our local spots, which we had fished one afternoon for a couple of thumper bream. Keen as, it wasn’t long before we were on the water, with all our knots and tackle checked and ready to go.

The day was a scorcher, low tide had fallen mid to later afternoon and a blustery northwesterly blew for most of the day. By the time we arrived, the northwesterly wind had died out and swung around to a light southeasterly creating overcast conditions, and the water was slightly discoloured as the tide was in the early stages of run-in. I had a gut feeling this was going to be a corker, and it was.

I used a custom-built Samurai 006 worked with 8lb Super Braid and 12lb leader so that I could steer those big bream out from those jagged rocks, but Will battled two large bream to the boat before I took a strike. When I did, the fish gave me a two-minute thumping bout before freeing itself from my line, and the bib disconnected itself from the lure.

I quickly made a grab for a much lighter rod rigged with my favourite lure for this area – an SK Nymph. First cast and retrieve and I was on with a solid hook-up, although Will landed his third as I boated my first fish of the afternoon. The next hefty bream I landed took a big chunk from the side of the wooden Nymph, rendering it incapable of swimming.

Desperate to get back into the action before the sun went down, I picked one of a matched pair of Gary Howard custom-built 7ft 002 Samurai rods. It was loaded with lighter line, and lighter leader with a green and gold Attack lure attached. With this excellent set-up, I achieved longer and more accurate casts, though the real test came for the rod when I steered a 1.3kg bream around a couple of bommies, through a crevice out into open water, before netting it for the photograph.

If this has given you a taste for the potential of our local area, don’t miss next month’s article for five top bream spots and five top flathead spots in the northern creeks, rivers and bays of Brisbane.

If you are keen for other information regarding to fishing these areas, see you on Sunday, April 24 at the Tinnie ‘n’ Tackle Show.

[CAPTION]

1) With the grids removed, it only takes a shower of rain to push these plastic bags out into Nundah Creek.

2) This is a fish.

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