With the silly season now well and truly behind us, February can be a great time of the year to take your time and just enjoy being on the water without the hustle and bustle of previous months.
February is by far the best summer month to fish for warm water tropical species inside Moreton Bay. Extreme weather patterns begin to become a little more predictable and there is less chance of those tremendous afternoon thunderstorms experienced in January.
The deeper coffee reef systems in Moreton Bay have been fishing exceptionally well through January with the Pearl Channel being the standout and consistent fish producer. I managed a couple of trips to the Channel so far this summer with each trip consisting of fun fishing with soft plastics for cod, mackerel, parrot, flathead, small snapper, spangled emperor, slate bream and many line burning unstoppables.
One of these recent trips I had the opportunity to fish with the guys from Tackle Tactics and learned new techniques producing better fish results. My co-angler onboard Declan tied on a TT Switchblade 1/4 in gold noggin colour and begun using a vertical jigging action as the boat drifted with the prevailing current. The Switchblade was getting annihilated by unstoppable critters on every drift.
Declan also managed to produce several nice cod, snapper and spangled emperor boat-side but it was the spool emptying runs that really made the morning worthwhile. During this time I persisted in fishing several varieties of soft plastics and although I hooked and landed a few nice fish the blades won the day by a long shot! These little vibration lures fish very well for smaller species like bream but I was also astounded that such large fish also found the little Switchblade lures so irresistible. This could soon see blades out numbering plastics in my tacklebox as it becomes more apparent one lure catches everything from whiting to tuna and is much less expensive when you compare a few lost blades to several lost packets of soft-plastic tails.
Fishing around the inshore areas and headlands has been steady in January and should remain right through February. Bread and butter species have been abundant in the usual places but the better catches have been for anglers prepared to be in position prior to sunrise.
Good numbers of summer whiting are coming from beaches at the Northern Peninsular of Redcliffe as the tide rises, fresh nipper or worm baits left to drift unweighted or with minimal split shot/ball type sinkers will produce best results.
Another pointer is to use the lightest possible line weight. Many anglers greatly reduce their catch-rate due to using too heavier line. Fishing for whiting really requires leaders of 2lb or less with top quality fluorocarbon being worth tying on instead of coloured monofilaments.
Bream have still been consistent along all foreshore areas including Mud Island. Although the average bream size reduces through summer the occasional trophy bream are still available for anglers using hardbody or top-water lures. A few nice bream have been caught along the Redcliffe Peninsular by anglers working the wash zones on the shallow reefs and close to the beaches and headlands.
The end of February has proven to be a good time to connect to that once in a lifetime trophy bream in Moreton Bay with good fish up to 1.6kg being caught in recent years. Look out for large shallow schools of baitfish being worked by predators and the bruiser bream won’t be too far behind.
On those days where the wind is too onshore and conditions less than comfortable for fishing on the bay or rivers it is worth remembering our well stocked freshwater impoundments can produce a great day’s fishing and picnicking for the family.
One of the closest and most picturesque dams for Northern Bay anglers is Lake Samsonvale or as it’s better known alias North Pine Dam. The dam has reached close to 95% capacity, the recreation and BBQ facilities are within metres of the water’s edge and there is green grass right down to the waterline. North Pine Dam is well worth visiting for a family day’s fishing and relaxing and can be accessed via many recreation areas, the best being at Bullocky Rest or Harrison Pocket near the Dam wall.
The fishing a the dam is excellent from the shore with Australian bass, golden perch, silver perch and freshwater garfish all readily caught by land-based anglers. Remember anglers over the age of 18 will require a SIP fishing permit obtainable at fishing stores but it is worth the investment for this well managed fishery.
Next time you are at a loose end with the weather or just for something different pack a picnic lunch and grab a few rods and spend the day at Lake Samsonvale.