Top baits and tasty treats
  |  First Published: July 2003

I RECENTLY had a quick, chilly, early-morning squid session on the Shorncliffe pier. I had never been squidding before, and very surprised at how easy it was to catch these tasty little critters. The guys at the pier said the squid may still be around during July, with the more favourable periods being around full and new moon.


Although some of these anglers opted to use double or triple squid jig rigs, I went for the simple, less elaborate setup, consisting of a single squid jig tied off at the end of my line with a 2in glow tube fixed to the line some 60-80cm above the jig.

The best results come from fishing the waters directly under the lights of the pier. I would lower the jig into the water until it had reached a depth of approximately 10 feet, and then retrieve it with short, slow, jigging motion until at the surface. You’ll often see the squid at the surface, and when this occurs it’s just a matter of getting the jig down in front of the squid before it disappears into the darkened waters. It really is that simple, and a lot of fun. Other local spots worth trying are the Redcliffe and Woody Point piers.


When you consider that tailor, bream and flathead are available during July, you can’t forget one of the best baitfish also abundant in our local waters at this time of year – the yellowtail. These are an extremely aggressive hunter and are easily taken on artificial offerings. In the past, flicking for them with a small piece of orange cloth attached to a small hook was all that was needed to take these fish from the same jetties and piers as mentioned above. These days, I prefer to use small jig heads with small single or paddle tails attached as there is far less effort required in getting the right movement into the artificial that entices the fish to bite. For those who are prepared to spend a little more, 45mm lipless crank baits are absolutely dynamite on yellowtail, whether trolled or cast and retrieved. Yellowtail doesn’t fall into the tasty treat category when it comes to human consumption, though your pet moggy may disagree.


Winter whiting – now these are a tasty little treat and top bait. July is prime time for their invasion of our bays and rivers. Mud Island has a reputation for producing quality fish, and this location certainly sees the season begin earlier and finish later compared to those areas fringing the mainland (Deception Bay, Bramble Bay).

I have noticed a considerable improvement in quality of fish around the Redcliffe region during the last two seasons, with fish of 25cm or more not uncommon in southern Pumicestone Passage last season. Those beautiful, warm, calm winter days are ideal for taking the family out on the bay to target these suicidal fish. Blood worms are a great bait for winter whiting, and other baits include finely cut strips of squid (preferably the off-cuts from the squid you caught from the pier the night before), small pieces of prawn, and mud arks.


I have mentioned mud arks in previous articles as a fine bream bait. Their name doesn’t give away their identity at all – they are better described as a mussel or clam. They grow to about 65mm in length and have a heavily corrugated shell, and they are found in the mud and sand flats of our intertidal zones. Their collection is restricted to 50 per person, and in some areas may even be prohibited.

It takes a keen eye to detect these shellfish, as only a small proportion of the shell is seen protruding from the flats. They are often retrieved in cast nets while netting prawns. During winter, weed will grow to that part of the shell which protrudes from the flats, so they are often caught on paternoster rigs while drifting for winter whiting. They are very fleshy inside and make for a top whiting bait. If you’re keen on the taste of pipis, you will love the taste of mud arks.

July’s seafood menu is looking great for those who want to go out and help themselves to the smorgasbord in Moreton Bay.

1) Squid jigs are easy to use and provide anglers with tasty meals and an abundance of bait.

2a & 2b) Small jighead-rigged plastics are great for yellowtail, as are small lipless crankbaits.

3) Mud arks make excellent bait for bream and whiting.

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