The heat is on!
  |  First Published: September 2009

The heat is on and it’s not just the weather either! The Bay fishing is really beginning to fire on all cylinders.

Over the last few weeks the water has slowly warmed and dirties up a bit from the northerly winds persistently whipping up inshore waters. Larger tides and a stronger tidal flow have resulted in some good bait school movement into Moreton Bay. These small food sources become caught in currents and wind chop and are pushed into corners, headlands and islands. This has triggered interest from roaming pelagics that also enter the bay and its shallow waters in the hunt for their next meal.

October signals the start of the annual longtail tuna run with XOS specimens turning up already around the Bay. These fish will enter surprisingly shallow water in the hunt for large congregations of bait and can often be caught by bream and whiting anglers fishing in less than 10’ of water. These fish have also been pressing up into the Brisbane River almost as far as the Gateway Bridge. Having a spare heavy outfit at the ready for the off chance a school of tuna pass by is not such a silly idea. Longtail tuna have awesome eyesight and a prominent lateral line, and use these both to good avail to locate any food opportunity that may pass. Using jerkbait-type plastics retrieved quickly helps to trigger the tuna’s aggressive feeding habits and often results in being hooked solid to a blistering first run. At this time of the year longtail tuna are often by-catch for anglers fishing deep for the end of season snapper. Other pelagic species to target this month include yellowtail kingfish, black kingfish (cobia), school and the occasional Spanish mackerel, barracuda and other tuna species.

Summer whiting are showing up in healthy numbers throughout Deception Bay and the shallow sandbanks in the Northern Bay. Bait soakers have been having the best luck early morning on a flood tide and using fresh baits of peeled prawns or fresh slithers of squid. Casting up current and out at 45 degrees from the boat to let the bait roll across the flats with the tide helps to make the offering seem more natural and will hopefully fool the bigger and more wary elbow-slapping whiting. Keep hooks small and well concealed in your bait with a short length of fluorocarbon leader before a small ball sinker. Making sure sinker weight is kept at an absolute minimum with only just enough to get the line to the bottom.

Flathead are still about in good numbers throughout the Bay with the shallow rubble grounds holding the best numbers of fish this month. Although the bigger girls have moved back up into the rivers, the headlands and flats are still littered with smaller fish and will provide enough sport for a morning session. Targeting flathead can be a little coarser than other bread and butter species as they are often uninterested in what they eat and when. Heavier lines, big baits and plastics will all be readily eaten, even miniature models will take a lure as big as themselves if it swims past their nose; bigger brighter lures are often the best option especially when used in dirty or silted water. Alternatively fresh baits of mullet fillet, yabbies and small live whiting or pilchard pieces will all tickle a flatheads fancy. The other great thing about chasing flathead is they are readily available throughout the day and are not perturbed by a high sun when feeding on the flats. This makes them a prime target for family fishing days when early morning rising is impossible. Just beware of the two sets of sharp gill spikes located on either side of the head just in front of the gill plates. Should there be an unfortunate circumstance where a spiking takes place the pain can be excruciating and bleed profusely, an old fishing remedy is to rub the affected wound on the belly slime of the flathead to ease symptoms. I am not sure of the validity of this remedy but through my own experiences there is some sustenance to it, maybe it’s true or maybe it just offers a placebo effect but whatever it is continue to use this method to ease painful flathead spiking.

Bream are returning to their shallow grounds throughout the bay. Some big post spawn fish have been caught in murky shallow water less than 2’ deep. The better-sized bream are being taken by using top-water presentations like MegaBass DogX Jrs or Lucky Craft Sammie 65s in clear or yellow tinged colours. Recently, surface fishing for bream early in the morning has been out fishing all other methods like soft plastics or hardbodies.

Anglers interested in learning how to target bream with artificial lures are given a great opportunity to learn from Australia’s best anglers through the ABT BREAM Tournament circuit. Joining ABT is like joining an Australia-wide fishing club with many benefits and tackle discounts as well as fishing tournaments as either a Boater (boat owner) or Non-Boater (anglers without boats). Anglers are paired up randomly prior to the commencement of a tournament and learn new techniques as a result. For more information about ABT Tournaments contact ABT on (07) 3387 0888 or on the web at www.bream.com.au . This really is good fun and well worth getting involved with.

Good luck on the Bay this month.

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