Northside hotspots
  |  First Published: May 2005

As anglers we often get a little adventurous; seeking the excitement that comes from fishing areas outside of our usual haunts.

But when I venture 100km or so from my home waters, spurred by visions of mangrove jack and larger flathead or bream, I’m often disappointed with the mediocre results and wonder why I hadn’t just stayed home! After all, we Brisbanites have plenty of fishy locations close by.

In this article I’ll list a few local hotspots which have two things in common: they’re all on the fringes of Bramble Bay and they’re all within a stone’s throw of a boat ramp or car park. It doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing either – one of these spots will offer good shelter.

Hayes Inlet - Flathead

As the water temperatures begin to drop in this area, the baitfish and prawns start to make their exit, attracting flathead to the creek from the outer areas of Bramble Bay. As winter nears, thousands of juvenile winter whiting make their way into the creek.

At this stage, if the water temperature stays over 16 degrees, the flathead will also stay in the creek. The shallow nature of this area makes it ideal for trolling small lures such as Micro Minns and Attacks, and for casting soft plastics.

Brighton Wall - Flathead and Bream

This wall runs from the mouth of the Pine River to Shorncliffe. Approximately 5km long, it is necessary to narrow down particular spots that may produce fish. Checking it out at low tide will give you an idea as to where the rocks lie at the base of the wall, providing good bream country.

Berleying an area between the groins with diced poddy mullet is a method that often rewards anglers with a fair catch of bream. Choose the larger tides of the month, fish either side of high tide and fish close to the wall. Flathead will also respond to this tactic.

Clontarf Boat Ramp Rocks - Flathead and Bream

This pair of rocky outcrops is ideal for small boat owners who aren’t keen on travelling too far. Bream respond well here to a lightly-weighted yabby or prawn. Choose quiet times for best results. The fish can be taken here at most stages of the larger tides, and small minnow lures or soft plastics work well too.

The flats between the rocks and the shore dry out at low tide and this is a good time to check the area out for flathead marks. If you can see the telltale marks, you’ll have ample time to plan a flathead session. The fish lie in ambush at the points and between the outcrops as the tide recedes from the flats.

Shorncliffe Pier - Bream

For most of the year this pier is just another land-based fishing spot, but the exception is during May when there are some surprisingly big bream taken from underneath the pier. Some anglers refer to them as ‘pilot bream’, with the belief that they travel in from wider parts of the Bay, but I’m a little sceptical about this theory.

The bream’s appearance coincides with the first spell of chilly weather for the season. I believe these fish are the permanent residents of various snags and holes within Nundah or Cabbage Tree creeks, and that the bream move out to warmer waters away from the cool water of the creek. They don’t show up in any great numbers, so you need to be keen, have plenty of time and an equal measure of patience. The rewards are worth it though – fat bream weighing up to 2kg. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing, extracting them from the structure under the pier is a whole different story.

Clontarf Point, The Wells - Bream and Flathead

The Wells area is one of the most recognised bream haunts in the region. Fly, lure, and bait anglers have targeted the area for decades and consistently come up with good results. Prawns and yabbies are the preferred baits at The Wells, but the approach I use here is different from most other anglers’.

I choose a spot to anchor close to the bridge to cast black Micro Minns over the shoals at night during the run-out tide. Flathead and bream are suckers for these little lures. The retrieve is very steady because the tide is usually strong enough to add action to the lure, and during the retrieve you will feel the lure bumping into the rocks. Removing the belly treble from the lure will decrease your chances of snagging up. Try it sometime – you will be pleasantly surprised.

Nundah Creek Shoals - Bream and Flathead

This area is also very handy to the boat ramp. It’s a well-protected spot during windy conditions, it fishes exactly the same as the Wells, and is an ideal spot for a quick fishing session if you are limited for time.

It is very important to recognise shallow shoals as areas to approach with extreme caution. A skipper is responsible for the safety of all on board, so please take care.

Local lurks

By following these simple steps and concentrating on some waters closer to home, keen anglers can catch plenty of good fish on baits or lures. This area has hundreds of spots where fish are found, and it’s just a matter of getting out there and giving it a go.

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