November signals the beginning of summer weather patterns across the state and the eastern seaboard. For Bay anglers this means a return of hot and strong northerly winds that will remain with us right through until the end of January.
These winds can whip up seas and local waterways and are the least favoured trade winds for the region often creating large, short length waves that can become dangerous if you get caught out! Especially when the tide runs against the prevailing winds!
November is also one of the most dangerous months to be on the Bay during these conditions, so being aware of forecasts is a must particularly for those who are unfamiliar or new to the area. It's totally unlike winter when Bay conditions are easier to predict and seas become calmer. Boaters fishing out wide can often be unaware of the northerly’s blowing in close to shore and as a result stay out longer and return to treacherous waters in close. So my best advice is to keep a close watch on the weather patterns and check in with local coast guards prior to disembarking on your fishing trip.
As far as weather patterns are considered, Bureau Synoptic Maps are a great way to predict when these strong northerly wind events are likely to happen. Look at forecast synoptic weather maps for the dominant high pressure systems moving across the country. When a ‘high’ moves towards the eastern coastline, winds begin to swing from the southeast towards the northeast window. Then as the ‘high’ crosses the coastline the weather usually turns for the worst; winds swing north and strengthen bringing hot humid air. This then produces seasonal thunderstorms and the cycle begins all over again.
Good signs of pelagic activity from all corners of the Bay during October is a positive omen for the month ahead. School mackerel have been showing up in good numbers around the end beacons out from the Brisbane River, Pearl Channel reefs and the shipping channel beacons near Moreton Island. The usual drifted pilly works a treat to locate passing schools and fishing can be quite fast paced when the mackerel decide to come-on.
November should also see the return of large schools of longtail tuna into the bay along with mac tuna, frigate tuna, cobia and Spaniards.
Finding good clean water with current flow and abundant bait will be a good place to start fishing. If fish aren’t visually smashing bait on the surface, sounding along drop-offs or the base off beacons will show up any activity in the depths. Look for tight balls of bait and work plastics, metal jigs, live baits or vibes through the show. Trigger a strike and the other marauding fish will usually come on the chew.
The estuaries are also fishing well with the warmer water. Threadies are in good numbers through the Brisbane River with the odd fish turning up in other river systems, like the Pumicestone passage. These are generally smaller juvenile fish and not anywhere near the size of the Brisbane River monsters. Small jew are also taking lures and baits from anglers targeting threadfin and can be a welcome surprise.
Jackal Mask Vibe TN60 is a gun lure for slow fishing the depths of the Brissy River, and also try Jackall Tranzams and TT Switchblades. The best stretch of the river for targeting these larger fish has been from the Gateway Bridge through to Breakfast creek. The river mouth is still fishing well for bream and flathead.
Boggy Creek is well worth wading around the flats during November for school flathead as the tide rises. Small bright coloured soft plastics with minimal weight are the best artificials to use around this area as there can be some large clumps of weed growing.
For boaters fishing the mouth of the Brissy River, expect also to encounter the occasional angry mangrove jack amongst heavy structure. Bridge pylons, rock bars and deep reef drop-offs are prime locations for big jacks during low light hours.
The Pine River has been fishing well for school flathead around the sand flats at the mouth right through to Dohles Rocks. Trolling along the line where the flats drop off into the channel will result in a feed of flatties. Alternatively casting soft plastics and hardbodies and drifting with the winds is probably the best way to work an area over. Most flathead in November will be schoolies from 40-60cm and should provide a good feed for anglers putting in the hard work.
Bream should be moving up into the upper reaches and into the brackish water this month so places like the Bruce Highway Bridge pylons will be worth a fish with vibes and plastics. Some nice bass have even been caught in the brackish water lately so motoring up into the feeder creeks will be worth the effort.
Redcliffe has been hit and miss with some days being fantastic and others dead as a door nail! Look towards the barometer at this time of the year to help pick better fishing days as the area is prone to shutting down when the barometer is falling. Wind swinging from the south to the southeast usually results from sharply rising barometric pressure; this is the time to fish!
The dirty water has once again made fishing brightly coloured pink lures the go, they seem to get bream into a frenzy especially in water up to 5ft deep. It must be something to do with the glow this colour sends off in bright sunlight. Whatever it is pink is the gun summer colour for bream!
Some good numbers of sharks have been around during October so make sure you remember to throw in the net before you head out for a fish on the Bay. For anglers looking to have a bit of fun or if you actually eat shark then any lump of bait, live pike/mullet or slab of fish will get you connected to a furious whaler. Fish around the end of the new Woody Point Jetty or the entrance of the rivers at Hayes Inlet or the mouth of the Brissy River.
These feisty guys generally move in sizable schools so once you have hooked a shark a few more will come in quick succession. Be aware of those razor sharp teeth and never grab small whalers by the tail to control their thrashing tantrums, as they can whip around and latch on to your hand. Best place to get a good hold is to grasp them from above and lock your fingers immediately behind their jaw bones. If you intend on eating them then a quick blow to the head from a mallet is the fastest and most humane way to dispatch a shark.
Have a good month in the Northern Bay.