It is still cold! And it’s getting harder to get out of the cosy warm bed. Every winter I am sure is getting colder than the last or maybe my body just reacts more to the chill these days? Whatever the case, I have never been one to pass up an opportunity to witness early morning glassed-out conditions that only winter seems to dish up.
Winter is kind of a cruel joke, really. But I guess every time you gets to enjoy the tranquillity of fish breaking the surface of mirrored ocean and fog drifting from your mouth, you feel like the luckiest person on earth. Yeah, fishermen are gluttons for punishment, but we love it!
Confronting the early morning chills has been rewarding for the most part around the Northern Bay. Tailor have been feeding aggressively around the shallow grounds on the abundant schools of hardiheads. These smaller school fish are usually easy to locate and catch all the way along the Redcliffe Peninsular. Large schools have been holding up around the outer reef fringes right through the day and are easily taken by using small strip baits of mullet or pilchard.
Casting lightly weighted plastics and small hardbody minnows up onto the shallow reef flats and retrieving them slowly back over the ledges will get you into good some of the better sized tailor. Remember to use heavier leaders or super fine wire traces with these ferocious little predators.
Squid are still a big hit around the shallower reef/weed flats in Moreton Bay. Although the numbers have dwindled marginally the bigger guys have moved in and are some of the biggest cephalopods I have seen around for many years. Most anglers have come across large schools of squid while fishing with hardbody lures over the shallows, only to get numerous hits without hooking up. A quick change over to a prawn style squid jig produces instant results in this situation.
Remember to shave off the front lead keel to allow the squid jig to only sink when retrieved, or you may spend a lot of time back tracking to un-snag your expensive rig. The squid fishing has been so fantastic this year bream anglers fishing top-water presentations like Lucky Craft Sammy 65s or MegaBass DogX Jrs are having their lure crunched by surface munching squid. A few have even found the hooks on occasion. Just watch out for that final ink squirt!
Bream are abundant at this time of the year and have been fishing consistently for the first part of winter, let’s hope the last month continues to produce prize quality fish. Fishing in the typical winter hot spots like the wall at the mouth of the Brissy River, deeper holes and drop-off’s along the Redcliffe Peninsular, and any rocky/rubble holes adjacent to the shoreline is your best bet.
These fish are feeding heavily on the schools of hardiheads that are around so presenting them with similar small baits or plastics will produce the best results. One of my personal favourite techniques for targeting bream at this time of the year is to use ultra light TTs HWS jigheads with 2-3” Berkley Gulp Minnows cast out amongst the bait school and let the plastic slowly waft towards the bottom. Bream go nuts for it.
This month the bream will be at their most active on the five days leading up to the full moon cycle. Fishing usually drops off quite fast after the moon starts to wane. Also try fishing at night on high tide over the shallow reef flats with unweighted baits or plastics, especially if we get a cold offshore breeze on dusk. The biggest fish of the season are usually taken at this time of the year under the cover of darkness.
Snapper just haven’t seemed to fire this season on the shallow grounds. There has been the odd good knobbie about but for the most part they have been only small pinkies to about 45cm. These smaller fish are around in good numbers for anglers chasing a feed for the table.
But for anglers relentlessly fishing for the elusive 8kg+ knobbie, this season seems to be a hard taskmaster. They are out there just not the numbers we have experienced in past seasons. The best area to fish baits and plastics are out wide from Redcliffe or the northern end of Mud Island. As always at this time of the season pre-dawn and dusk is prime time for Bay snapper,
Grunter have also begun to show up around river mouths and the Bay Islands. These fish are often in good numbers from August through to the end of September before returning north with the bait schools. The best areas to fish for these great tasting morsels is on sand flats and rubble grounds normally fished for whiting. Grunter can be taken on the usual whiting gear as they are predominantly clean fighters and generally don’t rub off your line. Fishing with small unweighted peeled prawns or prawn type plastics like Gulp Shrimp work well and are also good for by-catch of whiting, bream and flathead.
Lastly, I would like to let my readers know the website I have been working on to post past reports now also includes area reports from four anglers ranging from the Northern Bay through to the Gold Coast. These blogs are now weekly and include all the latest info and photos from the area. We have now also included short videos for novice and pro-anglers (especially bream tournament anglers) alike as a reference point for fishing with artificial hardbodies and plastics. Check it out at www.fishconnect.com.au and if there is anything you would like to see included then get in contact with us.Reads: 1652