If high speed, line burning, adrenalin pumping fish are on your wish list, then the coming months on Moreton Bay are for you! Mackerel and most of the tunas (including yellowfin) are currently smacking bait schools from Bribie Island to as far south as Macley Island and everywhere in between.
High speed spinning for mackerel on navigational beacons is becoming the adopted method in Moreton Bay. Beacon bashing, as it has become affectionately known, is as easy as casting chrome slices or slugs directly at beacons or in the general vicinity letting your lure sink to the bottom and retrieving it as fast as possible. Using live baits and pillies under floats will also catch good numbers of mackerel with the odd cobia. Due to the popularity of this fishing method there can be up to 8 boats anchored around each beacon on any given day.
Many sports fisherman with electric motors and top of the range sounders are putting them to good use while beacon bashing. Due to the amount of boats around the beacons deploying the electric motor and circumnavigating the boats looking for schools on the sounder is also a good way to find and catch fish .
Casting at surface feeding fish is another popular method for catching tuna and mackerel. A different approach is required when chasing surface feeding fish – it’s a lot like hunting. Driving around looking for signs of birds in the sky, schools of bait on the surface or the culmination of birds, bait and fish turning the water to foam. Positioning the boat to make the perfect cast, seeing the fish appear behind the lure then the hook-up and watching line disappear from your reel is a real heart stopper.
On the reef fishing front, snapper and sweetlip are making up the majority of catches around the Bay’s islands and surrounding reefs (that’s if you don’t count grinners). Estuary cod, parrot and cobia are also around at the moment and worth targeting with some anglers even catching the odd coral trout to 55cm.
The best time to be on the water to take advantage of reef fishing is before dawn. Fishing large lightly weighted strip baits of gar, tuna and mullet, or large live baits such as mullet, sand crabs and legal squire will give best results.
Soft plastics are working well for most reef dwellers and are the best option when the pre-dawn adventures are not your thing. Plastics work at any time of day or night whereas bait fishing in the bay is best done at dawn or dusk.
Small black marlin and sailfish really come alive off Cape Moreton at this time of year as the warm currents and bait schools push closer to the coast. Fishing the closer reefs off the Cape will also be worth a look for snapper and sweetlip too.
The estuaries are worth a look for crabs, flathead, big summer bream and whiting. Fish live yabbies or soldier crabs in the deeper holes for bream and whiting on the low tides. Also try trolling and casting over the flats with small lures or fly for flathead on the falling tides. Finally, drifting with small strip baits about 5cm long will also catch plenty of bream and flathead.
The mighty Brisbane River is fishing well with snapper are on the chew and some XOS river fish being boated. A big snapper for the river is around 3-4kg. Jew are about in numbers in the usual spots but if we get some good flushing rain they’ll really start to fire!
Crabs are on the move in the river with good catches being caught from the mouth to the Hamilton reach of the city.
December heralds the silly season on the water. Be careful enjoying the time off work and stay safe. Have a merry Christmas at home with the family and especially on the fishing front.Reads: 724