The bay has been fishing well in recent weeks with a broad array of species on offer for those venturing into its waters. Many of the summer species are still in abundance yet winter species are increasing in prominence every day.
Mackerel are still being caught in good numbers especially around the beacons in the northern end of the bay. Most are schoolies to around 65cm in length however several spotties and even the odd Spanish mackerel has been caught recently. Many anglers are jigging the beacons with chromed slices and slugs but the humble pillie floated down adjacent to the beacons will also produce, especially around the change of the tide. Working over each beacon with several casts before moving onto the next is a good ploy. Other species including yellowtail kingfish, cobia, trevally and tuna are also being hooked. Bait fishing around these same beacons will often produce species such as snapper, morwong, sweetlip and several others. There has been a few unusual captures as well, with large and small-mouthed nannygai, triple-tail and red emperor reports coming in recently.
Longtail tuna have been fairly consistent at times however they have often been hard to tempt once located. Most offerings, including the smallest flies, have been refused at times because the tuna are eating miniscule, clear baitfish and will only eat exact replicas of this bait. If you can get close enough to the feeding fish, then casting a small clear stick-bait soft plastic on a resin-head jighead will sometimes produce results. When the tuna are pedantic like this, trying different offerings is worthwhile. Often a larger profile may produce results, even when the tuna are feeding on the most miniscule bait. If small offerings are refused then try larger offerings such as poppers, stickbaits, plastics and Sebile Magic Swimmers, which have proved their worth recently in this regard. All species of tuna can pop up anywhere throughout the bay but most of the action reported recently has come from the shipping channels, Comboyuro to Western Rocks area, the front of Bribie Island and occasionally in The Paddock between Mud Island and The Rous Channel mouth.
Snapper numbers are steadily increasing around the bay islands, various wrecks and artificial reefs. There has been some great quality specimens around with snapper to over 6kg being caught at times. Plenty of 2kg plus specimens have been caught, mainly on soft plastics, although a few quality specimens have fallen for baits at times. Mud and Peel have received a lot of attention from anglers and both have been fishing consistently. However, those who venture out mid week, when the boat traffic is lower, have been achieving the best results. Night sessions at the Harry Atkinson and Curtin Artificial reefs have produced some quality snapper and other species, mainly on baits.
A few cobia have been taken from around the beacons, patches of coffee rock and ledges in the northern bay. Most have succumbed to larger live baits of whiptails, pike and slimey mackerel however one specimen of around 15kg was caught by an angler jigging with Raider metals for mackerel around the M1 beacon.
In the estuaries the fishing has been consistent with species such as flathead, estuary cod, bream, mangrove jack, mulloway and trevally being caught with regularity. The mangrove jack numbers have tapered off however there is still a few quality specimens better than 50cm being caught and naturally several bust offs from quality fish to provide a few “the one that got away” stories.
Flathead have been a consistent catch for anglers trolling lures adjacent prominent banks on the falling tide. The deeper channels have also produced for anglers jigging plastics and drifting baits. Around the rock walls in areas such as at the mouth of the Brisbane River, eastern side of Mud, in the various canal developments and larger harbours there has been increasing numbers of estuary cod caught. Live baits have been popular with the land-based brigade however lures have probably been a better option, especially in the hands of experienced anglers. Bibbed minnow lures that can be cranked down and worked across the top of the structure will work well. These can be allowed to float up and over any snags, which is where the cod lurk. Try lures such as Smith Cherrybloods, Power Dunk minnows, Sebile Koolie Minnow LL 90, Bomber 24A, Richo Sardine and many others.
Prawns are still being caught with some regularity around the mouth of the Logan River, near Coochiemudlo Island, Brisbane River and most other prominent systems. Some anglers have managed to cast net several kilos of large prawns in an hour or so.
There is still a few mud crabs about however numbers have dropped in relation to the water temperature. It is still worth a crack however with one angler recently reporting eight large bucks from the four pots that he set in the Deception Bay area overnight. One or two quality mud crabs is enough to make the effort of setting pots worthwhile for most crabbers. Keep an eye on your crabbing aperatus as there are a few scumbags out there who will raid or steal an unattended pot. People like this would definitely make good crab bait.
May your bait be nervous. Gordon Macdonald