JUNE is a terrific month for wetting a line, providing that you don’t mind the cold. May can be often a changeover month, with the summer species tapering off and the winter species not yet in full swing. With the temperature falling in June, winter species often come on the chew, making the fishing options great for both land-based and boating anglers. Let’s have a look at some angling options for the upcoming month.
Over the next few weeks there should be good numbers of school flathead in most of the estuaries. One easily accessible area for both land-based and boating anglers is the Pine River system, and there are plenty of areas to try around the mouth where the Pine breaks into Moreton Bay.
The Hornibrook Highway Bridge is a great land-based platform with easy access for all. Fishing in the main channels on the lower stages of the tide will put you in with a good chance of a quality flathead, bream or whiting. In the evenings during the higher stages of the tide, fish the flats with baits of worm, yabbies, prawns or squid strips as whiting are often encountered in good numbers. At night, there are even a few chopper tailor to be caught on pilchard baits cast towards the purple light on the road bridge. Boating anglers can fish the same areas with baits and have the added benefit of being able to troll small minnow lures such as Micro Mins, Mini Micro Mullets, Attacks and Rebel Deep Wee Craws for flathead and other species. The last of the run-out tide and the first few hours of the run-in are the best times to work these lures along the edges of the sand banks.
Nearby, the Woody Point Jetty is another good spot to try for a few chopper tailor as well as bream, whiting, flathead and the occasional squire. Night and early mornings are the best times to be soaking fresh baits, especially towards the top of the tide.
The Pumicestone Passage has a broad array of areas to target bream, flathead and whiting, with the shallow areas out of the main current flow often fishing well at night for bream. The deeper holes on the downcurrent side of the sand banks are a great place to drift a lightly-weighted worm or yabby bait, with the chance of quality bream and flathead. Strips of fresh chicken fillet and squid are another good stand-by. Fishing around the Bribie Island Bridge will often produce a few chopper tailor and occasionally a tarpon, which are great fun on light line. Large mullet or live tailor fed down to the bottom may entice a mulloway or a large white-spot shovelnose shark, which are fairly abundant in this area.
Jumpinpin is another area with a broad array of options for estuary anglers. Kalinga Bank is well known for large bream, tailor and mulloway, which are often taken here on fresh baits or livies fished on the bottom. Drifting the channel leading out towards the bar with live mullet or tailor fillets will often produce mulloway but be careful of the swell. Squire Island, Tiger Mullet Channel, Crusoe Island and Canaipa Passage are well-known areas for bream, and the better fish are taken on fresh baits of mullet fillet, chicken fillet, large prawns, tuna cubes and pillie pieces. You may encounter a few tailor around these areas, so always have a pillie floating out the back as well.
June is usually a little early for luderick but they are occasionally taken along the steep bank in Tiger Mullet Channel and along Short Bank. If you can get your hands on some weed, trying for some luderick is definitely worth a go.
The big mover in the bay during June is snapper. Big snapper and the smaller squire are usually targeted around Mud, Green, St Helena and Peel islands. It’s a case of ‘location, location, location’ and seasoned anglers have a few consistent spots that produce at certain times of the tide. For the newcomer it can be frustrating trying to find a productive spot, but working the channels and drop-offs around the islands, as well as the rubble ground, should soon get you a few keepers. You may have to catch and release quite a few undersize fish for each legal one, but the succulent fillets make it worth the effort. Handle these small fish with care and release them in good condition, so they can grow into a quality knobbies.
The most successful snapper anglers are those who fish with fresh baits of fish fillets, squid and live yakkas and slimies. Frozen offerings such as pilchards and squid still produce good results at times, but fresh is best. Hardiheads can be berleyed up with bread and tuna oil around the islands, especially Peel, and caught with a cast net or hardihead drop-net. Grassy and yellow-lined sweetlip are also reasonably common out around the islands as well as several other species, such as bream, cod and morwong. Keep sinkers as light as possible and try to anchor well up from your chosen spot and let out the anchor rope until you can float your baits down to the spot. Many anglers will be working soft plastics while they drift over their chosen areas to target these fish.
The shallow reefs out from Scarborough produce some excellent bream and even a few snapper at night, but you have to be very quiet to get these quality specimens in such shallow water.
Livebaiting around the beacons in the northern bay often produces XOS longtail tuna and mack tuna. It’s not unheard of to catch a cobia, but a yellowtail kingfish is more likely. A few school mackerel are still around but they aren’t common. Jigging the beacons with chrome lures will entice the occasional schoolie as well as yellowtail kingfish, if you can land them.
The artificial reefs are also worth a go, especially at night when the better catches are usually taken. Dawn and dusk are definitely the key times for fishing, with snapper, squire, sweetlip, morwong, Maori cod, bream, tailor, yellowtail kingfish and others being likely catches. Fresh baits and lightly weighted rigs are definitely the way to go, especially for the better quality specimens. The Harry Atkinson is always a popular spot, more so on the weekends, but with the large numbers of squire that feed on these grounds most anglers with the right approach will catch a feed. The Curtain Artificial produces better quality fish, possibly because it gets less attention and better water quality, being farther from the mainland. Many big snapper are caught here every week in June by anglers fishing the shallow rubble ground in around 12m of water. Further out, along the 22m to 24m ledge, larger snapper, cobia, trevally and other quality fish can be caught. Drifting soft plastics on 3/8oz jigheads will produce some creditable fish along this ledge. Plastics will often outfish baits, especially during the daylight hours. Detour to one of the beacons on the way over to get a few live yakkas or slimies on a bait jig, as they will generally entice the better quality specimens.
Schooling pelagics are a little hard to find in June but there may still be a few busting the surface around areas such as the front of Bribie Island, the northern shipping channel, Sand Hills, South Passage Bar and the Rainbow Channel. They are usually not worth targeting but if you see a school on your travels, stop for a few casts. The mack tuna and bonito make great snapper bait and the longtail tuna and mackerel are a welcome addition to the table.
Squid can often be caught in good numbers during June; it’s usually either a feast or a famine. For land-based anglers, good places to try include the Wellington Point jetty, the Manly public jetty, the Manly rockwall, all canal developments, the Woody Point jetty and Scarborough Harbour. Boaties can also try around the weed beds at Peel, Moreton Island (weed beds just north of The Wrecks), the south-east corner of St Helena, the northern side of Mud and Scarborough Reef. Quality squid jigs such as Yo-Zuri or Razorback in the pre-formed prawn shapes, or a stick jig baited with a pillie, are usually the best bet. The period between dusk and dawn is the peak time.
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to fishing Moreton Bay and the surrounding areas in June. Usually the hardest part is deciding which location to try first and which species you want to catch most. The period around the new moon is a good time to be fishing, so get out your diary and start scheduling a few trips. It gets dark fairly early so you can often wet a line for a few hours in the evening without it being a late night. Tasty fish fillets and a few eggs for breakfast is my favourite way to start the day.
1) School flathead will be abundant throughout the estuaries over the coming months.
2) Squire and snapper will become common catches for anglers fishing baits and soft plastics around Moreton Bay.
3) Fishing soft plastics around the canals and rock walls will produce good numbers of bream.
4) Quality bream, and even a few luderick, will be caught around the estuaries on well-presented baits.Reads: 107