Being an angler in the South East corner of Queensland is really a privilege most of us take for granted for eight months of the year.
June is one of those special months where it’s worth taking in a deep breathe of cool fresh air and really appreciate the calm conditions and the beauty of Moreton Bay and its surrounds.
Cold air temperatures and stable tidal flows will equate to peak bay snapper fishing for the next couple of months and for shore-based fishos snapper will become a viable option.
High tides during the dark will see many good schools of smaller pan sized pinkies and the occasional cracker amongst them. Fishing small live baits of hardiheads, mullet or whiting suspended under a float and allowed to drift with the offshore wind is the easiest sit-back-and-wait method. Suspending whole or half pilchards is also a good option.
Best land-based options are any of the rocky points along the Scarborough Peninsular, Woody Point and Bells Bay area, Brighton rock groins (high tide only) and Brisbane River mouth. For those who prefer to work several areas during the session, flicking 4-5” jerkbait style soft plastics or smaller 3-5” creature baits should provide great fun when the fish are on.
Using lighter line weights and leaders during June is paramount to catching snapper as they become more flighty from the clearer water. For spin gear use light PE braids of 8lb and fluorocarbon between 10-12lb. For baitcasters 10lb braids and 12-20lb leader is more than ample to stop marauding bay snapper.
Be sure to use quality hooks and jigheads as snapper have awesome jaw crushing power and will make short work of cheap lower grade metals. Many trophy fish have won their freedom due to straightening or breaking hooks and it’s just not worth skimping out and saving a few bucks to blow that fish of a lifetime.
Boaties should be concentrating their efforts around defined reef and drop-off areas at Mud Island, Redcliffe, Moreton Island and the Brisbane River mouth during June and even water as shallow as 2-3ft before sunrise towards the end of the month.
These fish are beginning to school up in the deeper holes and channels as the big girls start to roe for spawning. When a large school of bream is located during their spawning they become vulnerable to overfishing. Remember any excessive fishing pressure placed on bream during this time can have detrimental effects on their spawning, so keep catches to a minimum.
Using deep vibration blade techniques along the reef ledges and deep pylons is the best method to nail a few decent bream during daylight hours. But working the shallow reef flats at night will pay the best dividends to secure a feed for those who can brave the cold.
In winter try to time your outings with peak periods around full and new moon as the bream tend to be less aggressive and drop-off the bite during the neap tides, especially during the day.
Best soft plastic presentations will be small baitfish profiles to replicate the frogmouth pilchards and hardiheads that enter the bay in plague proportions during winter. Using light jigheads for a slow sink rate and an erratic twitch and pause retrieve through these bait schools will draw the attention of any actively feeding bream in the area and can provide hours of fun.
Surface fishing for bream can be a little fickle and frustrating during winter. While you may draw plenty of interest from cruising fish, actually getting them to firmly strike a lure is tricky. If you’re interested in trying your luck on some surface bream try douse your lure with plenty of catch scent, especially on the hooks. But be warned tailor may well beat the bream to the strike.
June is prime time for the toothy tailor. These speedsters will already be inside the bay in good numbers and should be hunting in large schools around most headlands, sheltered beaches and reef flats.
Finding the feeding schools is reasonably easy in the early morning when the water is glassed-out. Look for any overhead bird action, surface busting or bait schools showering.
Once located anglers can usually approach the schools under motor without spooking them, but when in casting range work the area quickly as tailor will generally move quite fast in pursuit of a feed.
Lure or bait choices can really be anything for these vivacious feeders, as long as it is not too large (no more than 80mm long). Surface poppers/walkers, bibbed shallow or deep diving lures, stick minnows and plastics are all good options. Keep these tasty critters chilled once caught and they will provide plenty of succulent meals over the next few months.
Whiting have been encountered in decent numbers so far this winter and should continue to congregate for the next few months. The most productive areas have been on the Deception Bay flats, Bells Bay to the south of the Houghton Highway and the mouth of the Pine River and Hayes Inlet.
Berley consisting of pollard, chicken pellets, mashed pillies and prawns and a healthy splash of tuna oil will bring whiting right to your feet.
Attach a small to medium berley cage to your whiting rig just above the sinker, roll the mix up into a small ball and squeeze the berley into the cage. Cast the line out and it won’t take long until you get the whiting in a frenzy.
Use small pieces of beach/blood worms when the bite is timid and fresh caught squid strips and tentacles when the bite increases.Reads: 1965