Stonker Bream in the Bay
  |  First Published: July 2010

Winter fishing is now in full swing and the fishing has begun to fire with the drop in water temperature in the Northern Bay.

By far the best fun has been had by inshore anglers chasing the feisty tailor schools. These toothy speedsters have been encountered right along the Redcliffe Peninsular and Brisbane River mouth with particularly large congregations holding around the Beacons and inshore islands.

Slashing and thrashing schools of tailor can be seen smashing through the abundant schools of bait. These feeding fish can be readily approached under motor and will attack any presentation cast amongst the mix.

Fish have averaged around 500g to 1kg with the occasional fish pushing to 2kg.

It’s great fun to chase the boiling schools with soft plastics or deep diving minnows. Try using surface lures for a great spectacle and an adrenaline filled session. Cast your lure hard up against the rocks or shoreline, work it out through the boils and hold on.

Most surface strikes fail to connect the first time so be sure to keep the lure in the zone, moving at a steady pace and the tailor will be back for another strike.

Keeping fish and lure attached to your line can be a little tricky at times as other tailor in the school have the bad habit of stealing from their mates’ mouths and subsequently biting through your line.

Using high tensile fluorocarbon leaders can help to evade some lost fish. Using a short thin wire trace about 75mm long can also improve catch rates when the fish aren’t too finicky, but in turn this can detract from the natural appearance of the lure.

These fish will continue to hang around for the next couple of months so be sure to get amongst them while you can.

Bream fishing has been really good in the deeper holes. Some better numbers of bream have showed over the last few weeks and are becoming a little easier to find than last month.

The deep pylons around river mouths and also in the Bay have been harbouring decent breeding schools and are quite easy to catch once located.

Creeks, rivers or canals also hold good numbers of big fish during winter. Fish on the ebb tide or when the tide is running out, as these are the best times for them to come on the bite.

The bream have really put on some weight with average fish being around 800g to 1kg. Winter can produce big bream but can also lead to absolute frustration: the clean and clear water makes them easy to see but hard to hook.

The best plastics have been the ever-reliable 2” Gulp Shrimp in any colour pattern or small curtail grubs also in the 2” size range.

Deep diving hardbody minnows are also producing great fish when worked around deep structure and reef drop-offs. Allow the lure to bump its way along the rocky areas to really get the bream interested.

Casting away from the main structure can also help to locate fish at this time of the year; bream can sometimes hold a surprising distance away from cover when they are congregating for spawning.

Spotting bream mooching under pontoons or over shallow reef is usually a good sign that the fish are actively feeding, so spend a good amount of time working the area to draw a strike before moving on.

Flathead are also on the move around the shallow reefs and flats across the Northern Bay. Good numbers can be encountered by anglers wading the shallows early in the morning with the rising tide.

Flicking small paddle tail plastics or shallow running hardbodies around likely structure or sand flats will produce a nice feed during August and right through until mid September.

Boaties should quietly work the rubble areas around the headlands away from other boats or disturbances. The better quality flathead are usually caught from areas that are harder to access by boat so hopping out and casting the banks is the best option if flathead are on your radar.

Bright coloured lures and plastics like nuclear chicken colours are by far the best to use when targeting flatties in both clear and murky water. Make sure to keep the lure moving with only short breaks when retrieving, this will help to draw plenty of attention from fish in the vicinity.

The old saying of ‘where there is one there is many’ definitely rings true for these guys as they all flock to the same areas where food is plentiful.

Squid have begun showing up in decent numbers in all the usual haunts, these cephalopods are quite tasty and are a pleasant change to target when the fishing is quiet.

Use small Japanese type prawn jigs retrieved slowly through reefs and weed beds in shallow water.

Be sure to net any squid before they are alongside the boat and point away until all ink has been expelled or the clean up might be a lengthy process when you get home!

The snapper season has been pretty quiet from all accounts in the Northern Bay. Some anglers have found small patches of fish around Redcliffe but this season is nowhere near as good as other years. The best haul I have heard of consisted of fish up to 50cm from the Brissy River from the deep channel in front of the loading docks at the mouth.

The use of a good sounder can help to pinpoint these schools holding close to the bottom; fish the run-out tide for best results.

Some big fish have been landed out wide behind Moreton Island by plastics fishers, but these fish are yet to enter the bay. Hopefully things will change this month and we will see the numbers increase as the tidal flow drops out wide.

Good luck this month.

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