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Northern Bay anglers blessed
  |  First Published: August 2009



Northern Bay anglers were blessed with spectacular conditions last month. Early morning glassed out conditions prevailed and the fishing was better than average for those willing to set out before sunrise.

Finding schools of baitfish has been key to connecting with bigger pelagic species in both the shallow and wide grounds. Redcliffe has had some reasonable schools of hardiheads holding in the deeper water around the outer coffee rock reef ledges. The best schools have defiantly been around the end marker pole off Castlereagh Reef and the wider grounds out from the Scarborough jetty.

A distinct lack of bait in the shallows has resulted in slow fishing instead of the normally exceptional fishing we get in this area each August. The squid have also slowed, most likely because there are no baitfish for them to eat.

Some better numbers of snapper were caught in the Northern Bay towards the end of last month with fish up to 9.5kg being taken under the cover of darkness. Hopefully this trend will continue right through until the end of September as the water begins to lose its clarity.

Most of the better knobbies have been taken on large soft plastics up to 7” in length, fished with an erratic jerk/pause action. Drifting with the prevailing wind helps to minimise spooking the fish.

Small schools of snapper have been herding up the bait schools tight against the reef drop-offs prior to sunrise and after sunset, so it’s worthwhile making the effort to get out early.

The Brisbane River should once again begin to fire for snapper in the deeper holes near the mouth as baitfish migrate out into the Bay during September. Fishing on the run-out tide during September is prime time for large predatory fish in the Brisbane River. Using large live baits or plastics is dynamite once you have found the fish on your sounder.

BREAM AND FLATHEAD

Bream fishing has once again proved to be fruitful as the annual spawning run winds up for another year. The big fish will be ravenous during September after several months of activity along the deeper reefs and holes.

This time of the year sees bream moving back up rivers and out into the Bay before the seasonal thunderstorms and rain set in. Changing techniques from using plastics around deep water to using shallow-running hardbodies will get the fish more aggressive this month,

As the water begins to warm the bream will migrate back to their summer feeding grounds. Places like weed flats, shallow reefs, sand banks and river tributaries will be worth probing towards the end of this month.

As September progresses, bream will once again become active for surface presentations. Using small 30-40mm surface walkers and poppers will draw more enquiries than the larger 50-60mm models, at least until October arrives. I have found that although bream will rise to a large surface lure it can spook them just as quickly. Using smaller lures will help to overcome this wariness before the hot summer water returns and gets the bream really active.

Flathead are once again starting to turn up in good numbers in Southeast Queensland as they begin to congregate for spawning. September can be one of the best months of the year to get connected to good quantities of lizards as well as that once-in-a-lifetime trophy flathead.

During daylight hours flathead school up at locations where there is lots of prey to feed their ravenous spawning appetite. Areas like sand spits, rubble grounds, weed banks and river mouths are flathead hotspots during spring and will provide endless hours of fun for the whole family (just watch out for those nasty gill spikes).

If you are chasing ‘big girls’, targeting deep holes or drop-offs around rivers and headlands is your best bet. Use large soft plastics like 3” Gulp Shrimps or 5” Jerkshads and curl-tail shads with an erratic jerk/pause action. Heavier jigheads up to 1/2oz will ensure your plastic stays in close to the bottom and in the strike zone longer. Bigger jigheads also help to create more commotion on the bottom structure, which flathead just love!

If soft plastics aren’t your thing, using live baits in these same areas works just as well. Live garfish, mullet or whiting up to 250mm long (check DPI regulations for minimum lengths) are favourites for monster-sized lizards. Setting out lines at different depth contours will help you to cover a greater area when flatties are moving about.

A rising tide is the best time to target flathead as they tend to move around more to find food-rich locations before burying themselves in the sand or silt on the run-out tide.

THE MONTH AHEAD

This month signals the start of the summer speedster season, and hopefully we’ll get an early glimpse of how the pelagic season will play out this year. Doggie mackerel, longtail tuna and cobia will begin to enter the Bay in search for schools of frogmouth pilchards and hardiheads. Working the beacons with plastics and metal jigs is a good litmus test for the kind of action the rest of the Bay will yield.

The Pearl Channel will also be worth prospecting in September, with good numbers of gold-spot cod beginning to move into the shallower water also in the hunt of bait schools.

I hope you all enjoy the start of spring and have a great month.

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