Coming up to summer holidays, the weather is becoming warmer, and so is the water. Over the past month, rainfall has been well below average and temperatures a little above average. Apart from the third week of the month, there was little rain and the last week of November brought record temperatures. The temperature of water in the Passage is a big influence on fishing – where, when and what to target.
School mackerel are one of the fish that hang around most of the year but are harder to catch as the weather warms, although there have still been some hanging around. Jack and Stephen were having a bit of luck with the school mackerel a couple of weeks ago, under the bridge as well as around the Ningi Creek marker. One of the best ways to catch mackerel is from a boat, adrift or anchored; another is to hang off a bridge or jetty – usually at first light, on a slow tide, using pilchards on a gang-hook. That’s the bait that Jack and his mate were using, which also caught them some nice trevallies.
John had a bit of luck chasing spotted mackerel a bit further out this week, bringing in three 70cm+, from the M2 channel marker, near the NW point of Moreton Island.
Snapper fishing in the Passage should be just about done and dusted for the year, but there are still plenty of under-sized ones being caught and sent back to the water. In the canals, Cody and Charlotte found a few snapper, but none more than about the 30cm mark. The snapper have also been keeping company with some nice-sized sweetlips under the bridge and at the ripples, both being partial to prawns. Toby, Alex and Markus had an evening fishing session last week – one each of moses perch, sweetlip and bream, using prawns, again at the ripples and the bridge.
Grassy sweetlips have been a favourite catch lately, although this will ease off as the water warms further and the summer northerlies kick in. Sweetlip do like a bit of humidity, though they’re a little fussy about time of day, and like a good tidal flow. Dylan found these factors in his favour, when he caught a few good sweetlips early one recent morning, on the run of a rising tide. On the same day, around the top of the tide, he used mullet to hook up a 60+cm jewfish as well – not big enough to keep but nice to see.
There are plenty of fish that do make fishing worthwhile as we go into summer, especially the mainstays – bream and flathead. Flathead are everywhere right now - Jack’s been catching them in Ningi Creek; Dale and Darren took home five of them, also from Ningi Creek, and Cameron caught a 43cm from the canal-bridge near Banksia Beach Shopping Centre. Mullet, pillies and prawns have been the best baits to use.
As the summer winds kick in, the water clarity will drop, which helps with fishing shallows and sandbanks. The prawns are starting to run, and that also brings fish along the shorelines, so don’t feel you need to get onto a boat or cast off a jetty to get your fish. Almost anywhere along the island side of the Passage should be a good bet for casting a line.
This week has been a great one for bream. Gordon and Debbie, on their yacht, CULATA, caught 16 bream on Tuesday. Only four were keepable, but along with a grunter, shovel-nose and a 50cm flathead, Deb reckoned it was a good morning out. Deb likes to use squid but won’t tell us where their favourite fishing spot is. Her flathead is going to grace an early Christmas dinner.
Whiting are also showing up through the Passage, especially between Gallaghers and Poverty Creek, and seem to be hungry on the falling tide. Worms, of course, are the best bait for whiting.
At last, we can say that the sand crabs are back on the menu. The pots are all over the place; some of the best catches have been south of the bridge. Seven pots between the first two green markers south of the bridge showed a harvest of 13 keepers, after just a few hours, earlier this week. Hopefully, there will be a few on your Christmas table!
Photos Supplied - “It may be over with the snapper for now, but the sand whiting will be around for a while.”
Photo Supplied - “Cam was trying to make it look like a monster flathead but it was big enough anyway - 43cm, caught in under the bridge near Banksia Beach shopping centre.”