There is really only one way to enjoy a South East Queensland searing hot summer and that is by being on the water. This summer has already shaped up to be a record breaker to remember and we are only just approaching the halfway mark.
Although the weather has been painfully hot, fishing in the Northern Bay has been pretty good for pelagics. Early morning sessions on school and spotted mackerel have been fruitful so far this season and should continue for another month or so.
Anglers heading out towards Moreton Island have found the better fish in loose schools around the beacons. High speed vertical jigging has produced the majority of schoolies but they are pretty much tempted to attack anything that resembles a fleeing baitfish.
Most anglers have had no trouble catching their quota in only a few hours but should show a little self-control in how many fish they bring home for a feed. Like many pelagics, mackerel produce high levels of adrenaline that can cook the fish from the inside if not dispatched quickly, this also affects their eating quality and they often don’t keep very well in a freezer. Only keep enough for a couple of meals and there will be plenty next trip out.
Amongst the schoolies there have been a few good-sized cobia. Unlike the last few years where cobes have all been on the smaller size, this year there are less around but the ones that have been caught have all been brutes. Hooking one of these guys while fishing light tackle for mackerel can really give an awesome workout. Once hooked, cobia are generally clean fighting so motor them out into the channel and away from beacons.
The Brisbane River shipping channel has had the occasional school of snapper holding deep and they are generally feeding on crabs and sea cucumber during January. These fish will readily take a well presented bibless lure or plastic fished close to the bottom.
Most snapper are only up to 4kg and are seeking the cooler water down deep or under wharves; fishing at night is the best option as snapper will move away from cover to forage for food. Try fishing anywhere from the mouth right through to the Gateway Bridge where deep structure holds bait schools.
Threadfin salmon have been in abundance right through the Brissy River system, it seems these brutes are actually fishing better this season and are being caught in multitudes per session for anglers who have done their homework. Live baiting along shallow mud flat drop-offs where bait activity is evident, also fishing the run out tide either early morning or late afternoon.
A few grunter have been caught around the Pine River mouth in the last few weeks. These fish have mostly been small ‘just-legals’ taken by whiting fishers but should beef-up in size over the next month. Fresh yabbies and worms fished with little or no weight along the sand flats extending beyond the new bridge out towards the channel leads is often ignored by locals but produces better fishing than further inside the river mouth.
It is also worth setting out a few crab nets in the above area for sandies; January is by far the best month to try for these tasty morsels but be sure to get away from any busy boat traffic and you will be duly rewarded.
Small school flathead are about in good numbers right through January and can be located in much the same areas as whiting and grunter on high tide. On low tide, try trolling small plastics and hardbody lures all along the riverbanks in 6ft of water. Using brightly coloured pink, green or white lures in the dirty water will increase your catch rate and put a feed of fresh flathead on your table.
Bream have pushed upriver this month and can be found from Deep Water Bend right through to the mangrove-lined upper reaches. Bigger bream will be outnumbered by squeakers for those using bait, but by fishing plastics these numbers will greatly reduced. Switchblades fished with a slow rolling/pause action in the deeper channels will produce the best bream action during the hot part of the day.
I had the privilege to attend a media day for the new Lowrance HDS StructureScan units at Glenbawn Dam recently. These new structure imaging units coupled up with Lowrance’s new HDS sonar units are going to revolutionise fishing as we know it.
These units display underwater structure with next to video-like quality to reveal images with either side to side or down scanning. These new LSS-1 (Lowrance Structure Scan) units are about to unlock the last kept secret of the underwater environment. Never before has such precise imaging been available to recreational anglers at such an affordable price.
With total control and expandability thanks to Lowrance’s high speed Ethernet networking and HDS sonar unit’s anglers are able to customise their HDS to display any combination of sonar, scan and GPS modules whilst underway, even at speeds of up to 50km/h. If you get a chance, check them out, you will be amazed at the image quality and price.Reads: 871