Winter fishing has well and truly started here at Bribie; the variety and numbers of fish being brought in, reflect the changing of the seasons.
Water clarity is good, because we’ve had precious little rain of late – less than 10mm for the whole of May. The winds, too, have been light, and mainly from the west.
We all know the air temperature has dropped over the past couple of weeks – that’s why it’s so hard to get up early to go fishing! The water temperature has dropped, too, to about 21o, which heralds the winter whiting and tailor season.
Flounder has been a big winner this month. From the shore, south of the bridge, up the Passage on both sides – just about any sandbank is holding flounder. They haven’t been modest sizes, either; plate-sized flounders are common. Squid has been the favoured bait, with prawns also being useful.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of squid out there, too. Amanda and Daniel caught a few on a jig, just on the south side of the bridge, and then used them to catch flounder, flathead and a sand crab.
Flathead, especially sand and bar-tailed, have been keeping the flounder company, in all the same spots through the Passage. Joshua caught a big flathead, while the kids were hooking onto flounder. The sizes have been improving through the month, and now we’re seeing plenty of 50cm+ specimens. Happily, we also hear of 65-70cm ones going back into the water!
Squid, again, is the most successful bait for flathead; pilchards and prawns are also working. A lot of the flathead have been caught on soft plastics. One that has been recommended is the Suga-pen 70, colour MB16. I’m told the MB is “Moreton Bay”, so it’s really made for local conditions, but is quite expensive. A cheaper choice, that Samantha and Craig used to catch a 48cm flathead, near the Avon wreck, was a Pro-range Squidgie, White Lightning. I actually reckon that in the current conditions, almost any well-handled lure is going to work a treat for flathead. Sam caught a big flathead with a basic soft plastic last week; then caught a 64cm toadfish with the same lure – yum!
The venus tuskfish are holding on into the cool weather and have been regular catches. The best place for them has been just north of Pacific Harbour, which is where Eleanor and crew caught three last weekend. Light line, small hook and prawns are a good combination for tuskfish; be alert to the smallest nibble and be ready to hold the fish back from the oyster beds or other refuges.
There are some really impressive bream being caught, on soft plastics and squid, as well as the ever-popular chicken fillet. Bream numbers are usually on the increase during June, and there should be plenty of under-sized ones to keep the kids busy in the creek mouths, Pacific Harbour and along the Bribie side of the Passage. The big bream will be in the same places, but are a bit cannier – not always easy to hook up – try using mullet strips; leaving the scales on often attracts the bigger bream.
Winter whiting season has well started and anywhere from Cooks Rocks across to the beacon and over to Gilligan’s Island is a good place to go for them, although they are all through the Passage right now. Shelly caught lots when she was fishing off Red Beach, around the 23cm mark but, thinking they were summer whiting, she threw them all back! Now is also the time to target tailor in the same area, on poppers and jerkbaits.
Big jewfish are enjoying the cooler weather and keeping a few fishers going through the nights around the bridge. Try casting to the deeper holes near the pylons, around the turn of tide.
The bigger snapper are yet to make their presence felt in the Passage, but there are plenty of almost big enough ones. Another cold spell may be all they need to settle in around the ripples, outside Pacific Harbour.
It’s near the end of the season for crabbing, but there are still plenty out there, and they’re coming up on the bait, so keep your landing net handy – they won’t give you a second chance!
At the Bongaree jetty a couple of days ago, there was a good crowd and plenty of fishing. Lots of nibbles, all afternoon, but nothing caught – until the sun started sinking; then the fish began to play the game. It’s all about patience, and good company.