Family friendly fishing
  |  First Published: February 2009

The recent bouts of good rain that has poured over South East Queensland over the past few months has worked wonders for boosting bread and butter species in our local river systems. Bream, whiting and flathead are all holding over the shallow flats early in the morning before the sun gets high and warms up the top layer of water.

Anglers can successfully sight cast to these fish with a stealthy approach. Look for fish finning in extremely shallow water or glass prawns and bait fish acting nervously. At this time of the year bream and whiting get extremely skittish to lures splashing down. This can be very frustrating, especially when multiple schools of fish can be seen working the shore edge and repetitive casts produce no result.

Using small plastics like Gulp Minnow Grubs or 2” sand worms rigged with size 1 and 2 TT’s HWS hooks will give a finesse presentation. Casting the offering onto the shore will help by not startling wary fish, slowly retrieve the plastic or bait to the desired depth and dead-stick it.

Another good tip is to carefully choose the outfit you are wearing when fishing shallow flats. Not so much a fashion statement as fish will spot brightly coloured garments well before you get a chance to approach them. Toning down clothing and hats to more neutral colours will help to overcome being spotted, even crouching down low to the water helps when the fishing gets really tough.

Flathead like to hang out on long shallow sweeping bends mid-river at this time of the year and are not as easily startled in the shallow water as bream. Start fishing around areas of turbulence caused from rubble or rocks that extend out into deeper water.

Fish with small brightly coloured plastics in murky water and retrieve your offering with the current while imparting little twitches to the lure with short pauses. Flatties like a moving lure so remember to keep all pauses to a minimum. Use hardbody lures like shallow Jackall Chubbies or Atomic Hardz Mid Crank to good avail by retrieving your lure slowly with the current flow, making sure to target all fishy looking structure before moving on to the next section of river.

The new jetty at Woody Point was opened in January and is proving to be a hit for local fishermen. New facilities have been added to make this new recreation platform a great place to spend a few hours wetting a line with the family. The surrounding reefs and sand flats have received a rest for the past year and are producing good catches for land based fishos.

Small school mackerel are being taken from halfway along to the end of the jetty with pillies or live bait suspended under floats at varying depths. Using a short single strand wire around 20-30lb breaking strain will help prevent the razor-gang from bite-offs. Plenty of whaler sharks to 30kg have also being caught in this area recently which can make for interesting times when fishing from a stationary platform. Using single strand wire, instead of multi-strand wire, which can be difficult to cut, also helps for quick release of aggressive sharks when they are caught as by catch. Spinning small metal slices and spoons along the various rocky groins and headlands is also very successful for doggie mackerel at this time of the year, especially when high tide coincides with sunset.

The impeding closures have finally happened and we have now lost a large chunk of our much loved fishing grounds in Moreton Bay and the Southern Bay. green zones are in place and recreational fishermen are now forced to put heavier pressure on other areas throughout the Bay.

If anglers thought catching a feed in South East Queensland used to be hard, things are about to get a whole lot harder, 16% harder. In essence green zones are not a bad proposition but using a green zone for political agenda is where the whole “protection” scheme breaks down. I believe a more viable option would have been to employ a more efficiently managed fisheries department to work in conjunction with public education for better use of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Unfortunately this war has been waged and won by the pro-green politicians who are finding ways to sleep better at night. This won’t be the last we hear about Moreton Bay zoning as the EPA will conduct a five year scientific monitoring program with a full review to be conducted in 10 years. My guess is next time we could lose a further 20% of our recreational fishing grounds. Fingers crossed the government haven’t opened up Pandora’s Box for the greens in years to come.

With the closures also come new fishing regulations for size and bag limits. Most species have undergone recent size and take limits changes so don’t get caught out and be sure to familiarise yourself with the new fishing laws. Or you could get stuck with a hefty fine.

Have a great month and make the most of the remaining hot weather in Moreton Bay.

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