Snap into May
  |  First Published: April 2010

The bay has been rather fickle over the last few months with only a handful of calm days available to get out and catch a few for a feed.

As usual these good days have fallen mostly during the working week and provided even less chance for recreational anglers to get out on the water and get the world off their shoulders.

The positive side to the typical mid-season garb we receive at this time of the year is the bay and its piscatorial inhabitants are getting a chance to replenish and revive. Then hopefully when the weather comes good the fish will too.

By the middle of the month snapper should be showing up in reasonable numbers along Redcliffe, Mud Island and in the Brisbane River mouth.

I believe May is the best month to connect to a trophy sized bay snapper due to the following combination of key elements.


Large schools of baitfish enter the bay during May, these tiny morsels often hold in relatively shallow water to seek shelter from attack from above and below.

Cooler water

This month the surface temperature will cool down a few degrees and make the transition from cold deep water, where they like to hold in summer, much more comfortable.

Dirty water

Although the tidal currents will have slowed down considerably, the bay will still suspend a fair amount of silt. This dirtier water helps larger predators to enter reasonably shallow water without the risk of being easily spooked, thus allowing the larger snapper to freely feed during daylight hours.


This is the time of year when the big girls move into shallow water to reproduce. Good fish will often start an early spawn run during May, especially if we receive an early pre-winter cold snap.

Many 3-5kg snapper will become available for the soft plastic fraternity as well as bait fishos anchored up on prominent drop-offs and reef structures.

Using finely ground berley will attract snapper in range of well-presented baits and provide a few hours of fun and a feed.

Be sure to keep noise to a minimum when waiting for the snapper to come onto the bite as they are particularly wary and sensitive to any unfamiliar sounds and will shut down. Noises like rattling anchor chains, knocks to sides of aluminium boats, engine noise and even loud talking on quiet days will reduce chances of stalking snapper.

As the water begins to clear over the next few months snapper will become more susceptible to noise, which can make targeting them frustrating.

For this reason anglers in the know prefer to get out to their favoured snapper grounds prior to sunrise so they are in place on the peak bite time as the sun kisses the horizon.

Be aware of anglers who are already set up in a spot before you too. Give these fishos respect and take a wide berth when motoring to your location.

Tailor have also been in healthy numbers throughout the bay during April and some schools with fish up to 2kg have been encountered by bream anglers working the shallows.

These terrors have been favouring surface walked lures meant for bream and although the take is spectacular it often results in losing expensive Japanese lures.

When targeting tailor on surface lures swapping to less expensive budget brands is a must and the tailor really show no loss of interest with a less refined action.

Target tailor along shallow reef ledges, island rubble flats or in small bays where bait schools are gathered. Particularly in places where bait schools seem edgy or agitated, which is a flashing beacon of tailor being in the area.

Most anglers out for a morning session will fish for snapper pre-dawn until the bite slows then switch to targeting tailor and bream until mid morning. This covers the full spectrum of winter fishing and keeps quiet trips to a minimum.

Bream numbers and sizes will begin to increase during May as the large breeders return to the shallows to gorge on baitfish and fatten up for the forth-coming breeding season.

The numbers of XOS bream in the bay have slowly improved and should continue to incline through the approaching winter.

Fishing small slender soft plastics in wave wash zones with lightly weighted jigheads like TT HWS is a good starting point for finding feeding bream.

Prime bream locations can change at the drop of a hat so be prepared to try different locations and techniques to find the feeding schools of bream.

As the water begins to cool more through winter, fishing deeper holes or ledges will become the key to finding better numbers of bream as they begin to congregate for spawning. In this situation using small deep running hardbody lures or TT Switchblades will have the best results.

Good luck this month and fingers crossed the weather begins to settle enough to enable a few more days on the water this month.

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