Winter definitely does not agree with me. I hate everything about it, except for the hot fishing action that can be experienced in Moreton Bay and filtering waterways.
As the weather chills down the fishing action heats up for species such as mulloway, bream, tailor and snapper. With such a broad array of prime bread-and-butter species on offer, now is the time to don the beanie and get to the beach, estuary or bay to target your favourite species.
Tailor are a species that are in full swing during June. Anglers seem to find them in all kinds of places from inshore river mouths to the eastern facing beaches of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands. They are occasionally caught on any bait, however whole fish baits such as blue pilchards, whitebait, hardiheads, frogmouth pillies, gar and anchovies are prime offerings. Fillet strip-baits from mullet, gar and especially bonito are also top tucker to the ever-popular tailor.
Most anglers who specifically target the larger greenbacks have a preference for pencil gar, which although often hard to source and a little dearer than pilchards, definitely have the runs on the board for these trophy tailor. Four 4/0 hooks ganged together in the conventional manner or three 4/0 hooks ganged with a swivel joiner will suit these long, thin baits and present them as natural as possible.
Ganging hooks together with the swivel joiner makes each rig slightly dearer but has the added advantage of being easier to put in the bait. As each hook can move independently of the other this rig provides a better hook-up ratio and is overall much stronger. These rigs can be made with Tru-Turn 711 hooks or VMC 9255 hooks or can be purchased ready-made from the better tackle shops.
The eastern facing beaches of Moreton and Stradbroke Island require a ferry or boat ride to access, however, quality beach fishing can also be experienced along the front of Bribie Island from Skirmish Point all the way to Caloundra.
This extensive stretch is easiest to access via 4WD (permit required) but areas around Skirmish Point are close enough to use Shanks Pony.
Like most beach fishing, the best results are usually achieved around dawn and dusk, especially when this coincides with a rising tide. Other areas worth trying for the land-based angler without a 4WD are the Woody Point Jetty, Wynnum Rock Wall, Wellington Point Jetty and the Redcliffe Jetty. The latter spot also produces a few school mackerel at this time of the year for anglers suspending pillies below floats.
Tailor can show up anywhere, providing there is baitfish activity to draw them. If you have a boat, look for tailor around the Amity Rock Wall, top end of the Rous Channel, shallow reef areas on the northern end of Mud Island, along the reef edge on the western side of Peel, the tripod beacon at the mouth of the Pumicestone Passage and around the Jumpinpin Bar area. Lighted areas such as bridges draw baitfish activity at night and subsequently are prime places to target tailor with baits, plastics, small chrome slices and even baitfish profile flies. The Bribie Island Bridge is one easily accessible spot.
For those who love to target pelagics, either on lures or fly, there is still action to be had during June, although it usually tends to be smaller tunas such as mac and frigate and bonito (Australian and Watsons). There will also still be a few smaller schools of longtails around.
During June, pelagics can often be found well inshore because they feed on the same bait species as the tailor. This time last year we had quite a few schools of mac tuna to around 4kg in weight frequently feeding in the Brisbane River, with specimens caught as far up as the Gateway Bridge.
The Jumpinpin Bar, mouth of Pumicestone Passage, around the bay islands and along the front of Bribie Island are other areas where small boat owners can get amongst a few of these fun sportsfish (and great bait) during decent conditions.
Other areas in the bay worth investigating are around the Naval Reserve Banks, Rainbow Channel and Rous Channel as well as all the main channels in the Northern Bay.
The Brisbane River is usually a great place to target snapper from a small boat or kayak, and some anglers even achieve reasonable results from the shore. The area around the mouth, especially along the prominent river edge, Claras Rocks, Caltex Reach and around the various wharfs are usually the best areas, but snapper have still been caught upriver as far as the city reaches when the water clarity is good.
Soft plastics, crankbaits, blades and broad array of other lures can be used to successfully target snapper in the river. Other species such as threadfin, bream, flathead, cod and mulloway are also taken on these offerings with regularity.
Many anglers fishing the river use large live baits such as mullet and pike to target the mulloway and threadfin, and they can also get a welcome by-catch of snapper.
Numbers of mulloway are usually not that great but with specimens to over 35kg caught in recent years the rewards are worth the effort. Live baits are better for river snapper than frozen offerings. Small poddy mullet and prawns drifted close to the bottom with a minimum of lead are the best bet.
Bream numbers should be at a premium during June. Anglers can take advantage of this prime bread-and-butter species by targeting them from any location you can dangle a line in saltwater. All land-based areas will produce bream although you generally have to pick through the undersized specimens to get a few keepers.
Many anglers use lures such as small hardbody minnows, blades, surface baits and soft plastics to target bream on a catch and release basis, however, they are one of the staple table species and can readily be caught on most baits, frozen or fresh due to being scavengers. Raw chicken fillet would have to be one of my favourite baits and is not as messy as other popular baits such as mullet gut, fowl gut, pilchard pieces, mullet fillet, white bait and hardiheads.
Bait fishing in the deeper holes in the estuaries and along the edges of prominent banks and other structure, such as fallen mangroves, jetties and rock walls, will almost certainly see sizzling white fillets on the barbeque that night. Night sessions around areas such as Kalinga Bank are almost legendary amongst beanie-clad anglers braving the cold nights whilst targeting bream and mulloway.
Luring around structure is also productive with canals, rock walls and the shallow rubble grounds surrounding the bay islands regularly producing quality bream to over 1kg, plus the occasional trophy specimen.
The bay islands are prime snapper haunts during June and those willing to tolerate the cold nights with the assistance of beanies, warm weather clothing and of course the obligatory flask of coffee, often score snapper to over 8kg when using quality bait.
The best rig is usually a running ball sinker set-up, similar to that used for bream, except slightly heavier. Keeping the bait on the move is often the key to the better quality snapper although most anglers are happy with any legals over 35cm.
Soft plastics can produce some startling results in the hands of knowledgeable anglers and sometimes even for novices new to this great form of fishing. At times while drifting, you can simply cast the plastic out, put the rod in the holder and wait for the hook-up, it can be that simple. The various jerk-shad style plastics from Berkley, Slam, Exude, Guzzlerz, Assassin, Gambler, Zoom and others are very popular due to the ease of use and their productivity.
I also favour curl-tail grubs such as Slam, Ripperz, Ausspin and Gulp, and prawn profiles such as Prongs and Gulp Shrimp. Sizes between 3” and 7” will work and it seems as if every successful angler has a favourite plastic, which just goes to show the willingness of snapper to eat most things put in front of them.
Peel, Mud and Harry Atkinson are the most popular areas in the Southern Bay, but there are also plenty of ledges, wrecks and rubble grounds in the Northern Bay, including the Curtin Artificial, Benowa Track Grounds, Captain Nelson, Pearl Channel and around the bases of any beacons. All these areas can produce good quality snapper and other species, which can be caught throughout most stages of the tide on a variety of offerings.
The Scarborough Reef area is highly popular due to its close proximity to the Queens Beach, Margate Beach and Scarborough Harbour ramps and has limited protection from the ever-prevalent westerly winds. Snapper, bream, flathead, cod, sweetlip and a lot of other species are caught here on both plastics and baits.
Stealth is important in such shallow water as it is surprising how such a small noise can transmit so far in the shallows. Electric motors are a must when travelling around casting plastics along the various sections of this expansive reef system.
With its close proximity to land, Scarborough Reef is also a popular spot for kayakers who paddle out to fish this area. The stealth factor of their approach means that they often achieve better results than many boating anglers, and get some exercise in the process. Bait fishing for bream can produce plenty of quality specimens and it pays to have out a floating pillie to target the odd tailor and snapper.
The Dunwich Jetty can produce some awesome action during June for anglers at night. The lights attract baitfish, which in turn attract various species of trevally, yellowtail kings, snapper and plenty of unstoppable critters. Most anglers achieve success on soft plastics or surface lures but live baits could also be used.
Night sessions anchored at either the Harry Atkinson or Curtin Artificial reefs can be productive for snapper, sweetlip, trevally, sharks, and the occasional mulloway and cobia. Live offerings reign supreme, however, quality fresh baits and even frozen offerings are also definitely worth using.
Well there certainly is a lot on offer for anglers fishing Moreton Bay and surrounding waterways during June. The cold can be a little daunting for some but the benefits in rugging up and making the effort to get out there in the elements can mean a tasty seafood meal at the end of the day.
Whether you fish the beaches, bay or estuaries there is definitely plenty of variety to get you piscatorially inspired during June.Reads: 259