The release of water out of Wivenhoe Dam recently has again reduced the clarity of water within the bay, however this does not seem to have affected the fishing with most reports being positive. The Brisbane River has been a little hit and miss at times, with the best results coming from around the mouth on the latter half of the rising tide and first of the falling tide. Offshore the action is getting hotter by the day with some awesome pelagics being caught.
Many anglers who usually target snapper have turned their attention to sweetlip over the last few weeks due to the current ban on taking snapper. Thankfully, there is now only a little over a week to go until this ban is lifted. Sweetlip, especially grassies, will feed in similar areas to snapper but are often found on the grounds a little wider of the bay islands, especially over a sand or mud bottom. Baits such as fillets, large green prawns and fresh squid will heighten you chances of success although they will take frozen offerings. I have always had the best results in the early mornings just before dawn. However with the water clarity lower in the bay at present, anglers have achieved results at all stages of the day. The eastern side of Green Island, north-western side of Mud and the South-West Rocks area at Peel are some of the more productive areas for sweeties within the bay.
Squid have started to show up for those who are specifically targeting them. There’s been some decent specimens taken from Bird Island, Goat Island, Rous Channel and northern end of the Rainbow Channel but as the waters clear, squid will move into the shallows around the bay islands and foreshores. Most canals, harbours and shallow areas around reef, rubble and weed beds are worth a look.
An occasional mackerel is still being caught within Moreton Bay but the numbers of other pelagics have been increasing steadily. In the northern end, from The Four Beacons north, longtails are regularly being located. The shipping channels are the first places to look but longtails will occasionally pop up anywhere, so it pays to be ready. The area along the front of Bribie Island is usually very consistent for longtails and schools of other tunas. Hopefully these fish will hang around for a bit as The Bribie Island Sport Fish Club is holding its Longtail Tuna Fly Fishing Challenge on the 28th and 29th of May. This is a great competition that is not too serious with plenty of knowledge to be gained by lesser-experienced anglers. Give Ray Wessels a call on 07 3888 5064 for more details.
Prawns have been reasonably consistent with some decent hauls coming from around the mouth of the Logan River. The Brisbane River and most other systems north and south of Brisbane have also yielded a good bounty for keen cast-netters. Numbers of these tasty morsels will increase in the coming weeks so check that cast net for holes and get out and get amongst them.
Mangrove jack numbers have been reasonably good with now being the time to get out and chase them, before the water temperatures drop too much. The residential canals, Nerang River system, Coomera River and structure ridden mangrove creeks are worth a look. Specimens to over 60cm have been caught at times. Matt Mundy of the Queensland Roar managed three nice jacks in the Raby Bay Canals whilst luring the pre-dawn falling tide a couple of days after their recent grand final win. I ventured down there one afternoon for a few hours of casting a couple of days later but only managed a few estuary cod on the rising tide. The bridges in the Nerang River are worth a serious look, especially at night. I got a small jack of 38cm mid morning at the Little Tallabudgera Creek Bridge last week but specimens to 58cm have recently been reported from various locales in this system.
Offshore the action has been fairly good with species such as Spanish mackerel, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and blue marlin being caught. The area around Point Lookout has been a popular spot for anglers targeting Spanish mackerel on trolled baits and bibbed minnows. The occasional wahoo, yellowfin, dolphinfish and other species has also been caught. Most of the usual troll grounds north of Cape Moreton are worth a look with some good reports of wahoo from the Hutchies area. Out wide of Cape Moreton, in the waters between 300m and over 1000m, boats specifically targeting blue marlin with trolled skirted lures and heavy tackle have been releasing specimens to over 350kg. “Megumi” skippered by Ken Brown tagged six blues from eight strikes recently and followed this up a few days later with a couple more tags going in. Other boats including “Big Business” and “Absolut” have also been getting amongst some quality blues. The blues have been a little hit and miss at times but if you can get onto them there is some awesome fishing to be experienced.
May your bait be nervous. Gordon Macdonald