Cracker Catches for April
  |  First Published: March 2009

What a great run of fishing we have had in the Northern Bay over the last month. The warmer water has stuck around a little longer than normal and the summer species are also still fishing well.

Redcliffe Peninsular has been well worth a fish early morning before the sun gets up too high and warms up the water surface. Good numbers of bream are holding up over the broken rubble grounds all along the foreshore and headlands, so land-based anglers are in with a good chance of catching a decent feed.

Fishing small hardbody lures super slow in less than 1-2ft of water has seen some crackers being taken recently using the new Atomic Hardz or Jackall Chubbies in shallow water with your rod tip held high to minimise chance of hooking the plug.

Many bream fishers are also removing the front hook from Chubbies to help overcome lure losses in shallow water; it may miss the occasional hit but could save your pocket a substantial hit.

Some nice flathead are also haunting the shallows amongst the bream and bait schools, and most fish are averaging 50-70cm with the odd big girl still around. As always when fishing this area look for schools of nervous baitfish as a tell for bigger predators lurking nearby.

An occasional school of tarpon or oxeye herring have also been marauding the shallows and have provided anglers with thrills as they take to the sky upon hook-up. These little guys are a handful on light bream gear and can also prove troublesome to hook due to their hard bony mouths and aerial antics. Tarpon can be spotted and identified from quite some distance due to the way they feed; in a circular motion with their long dorsal and tail fins regularly breaking the surface.

Bribie Island has been fishing really well with some great catches coming from weeded flats and rocky reefs. Some of the better bream from the area quickly win their freedom early in the fight with a spirited first run – straight under razor sharp oyster encrusted coffee rocks. I hooked several nice fish up to 1kg and walked away with only a handful of smaller fish for the morning and a lot of lost lures!

Some great mangrove jack are also being caught from around the canal entry and deeper reefs systems on dusk and at night, with fish to 4kg being landed at the end of last month.

Needless to say I was quite impressed with the fish that were holding up in Bribie and will defiantly be returning soon.

The Brisbane River has been fishing well with good flows of fresh still flowing in at the upper reaches. Prawns have begun to school up and migrate out into the bay, this should continue for at least the first half of April.

Numerous schools of mullet are also beginning their pre-spawning aggregation around the mouth of the river at present. These fish will hold in the area and feed vigorously as they gain as much body weight prior to moving out to sea and spawning at the end of autumn, or when the first strong westerly trade winds begin to blow.

Now is a great time to target the Brisbane River bruisers as they converge at the mouth of the river to feed on the abundance of bait. Fishers should expect to encounter bull sharks, threadfin salmon, bigger jew, cod, GT and snapper as the tide runs out. Look to fish the Clara’s Rocks area, as well as the sunken wall and along the shipping terminals, with big live baits or 5-7” jerkbait style plastics. Using a decent sounder to find the schools of bait holding deep and in tight balls is a good place to start.

Snapper are once again showing up in the river as well as around the Bay islands, hopefully a better sign of the upcoming winter migration after last year’s dismal season. Most fish have only been 50cm models or smaller but this should change during April.

Pre-dawn is the best time to have a crack at early season snapper as their numbers are not prolific enough to keep them biting throughout the morning, at least in the shallows anyway. Remember finessing at this time of the year can make a remarkable difference in catching snapper or not. Downsizing leaders, hooks and jighead/sinker weights helps timid fish to test your offering.

Longtail tuna are still abundant throughout the bay with the majority of fish becoming more skittish as the seasons change. Those fishing the Pearl Channel can target better fish with live baits like garfish or yakkas. Setting the livies deeper in the water column usually pays better dividends for longtail at this time of the year.

You may also have a good chance of connecting to a Spanish mackerel or cobia. Longtail are also occasionally turning up inside the Brissy River and making a feast of the abundant food supply available so have a surface presentation ready and waiting.

I would like to let my readers know I have recently published my own website. At present surfers can expect to read all back issues of my Northern Bay reports as well as all features and a weekly fishing blog. This site is developed to help my readers access information for the Northern Bay and I will value any feedback or ideas you would like to see posted on it. There is a great links section of all the sites I use to gather information prior to a day’s fishing. Visit the website at http//www.fishconnect.com.au.

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