Winter fishing so far this year had been going really well, until that spell of cold weather last week. Not only uncomfortable for fishing, but the fish weren’t happy with the weather, either, at the start. After a few days of miserable wind, rain and cold the fish have settled into the wintry conditions and are looking keen again.
July has largely been a month of pleasant, sunny days, with just light afternoon breezes. Being warmer than usual for this time of year, some fish that go quiet in winter, had still being hanging on into July.
Bream are one species that are harder to get over winter in the Passage, because about half of them move out to gather at surf bars and coastal waters for the annual spawning. Before they move to the spawning grounds, they fatten up on the schools of fish that come through in winter, but they are often quite fussy with bait. In the Passage itself, the remainder of the adult population feed on bait-fish, and if caught, are often in good condition.
The mouths of Ningi, Elimbah and Glasshouse Creeks have had good, healthy bream, with the higher tides at dusk or dawn working the best. Jan and Alan, from the Everton Park Fishing Club, had the high tide when they caught 4 big bream for their comp. They used prawns for bait but little round, hard-bodied lures are often the best right now, especially very early in the morning or when the afternoon breeze has rippled the water.
Casting a shallow-diving lure across sandbanks at a creek entrance and steadily winding it back in is all you need to do – the lure’s wobble will alert any bream to investigate and jump on it.
Another candidate for lures of course, is the flathead – and there are plenty out there at the moment. Winter is a good time for the larger flathead; when the cooler weather brings the females into the creeks around the Passage, usually shadowed by a few smaller males. Baits and soft-plastics are both working well – try drifting from north of Ningi along past Turner’s Camp on the last of the falling tide. That’s where Warren and Jackson got onto two biggies, using
Z-man lures, paddle-tails in “motor-oil” tone, to be precise. Nick and Chris drifted further down, between the two green markers south of the bridge, catching 21 fish in all – flathead, whiting and flounder among them.
Whiting have been caught all over the Passage lately. Bloodworms are always favoured baits but not always easy to get. Fresh yabbies are another good option. Joseph and crew pumped a few yabbies and put them to good use, catching a nice bucket of winter whiting near the Avon wreck.
Not just winter whiting around either! Up at Mission point, reports of elbow slapper sand whiting were common in early July – Evan found them easiest to catch on the first of the falling tide, using yabbies. He says they were bigger than the bream up there – 34cm+.
Other fish that have been showing up include moses perch, grassy sweetlip and venus tusk-fish, but these might slow up a little, with the change in the weather. The ripples, outside Pacific Harbour, and the bridge, are good spots to try for them. Prawns and squid have been the baits to use. You might also find a snapper or two in the same area but be warned: there is a full snapper seasonal closure on, until August 15th. If you accidentally catch a snapper, return it to the water as soon as possible.
With water temperatures dropping, this is a great time to chase a few squid. There are plenty out in the Passage lately; it’s been a bumper year for them all through Moreton Bay. You don’t always need a squid-jig to catch them. Lots have been taken on a regular line with bait and a couple of our customers have even picked them up in a landing net, as they swam past the boat!
Crabs are not meant to be in season now and there hasn’t been much luck with the crab pots. But there have been lots of them grabbing a baited hook and holding on as it gets wound in – the trick is scooping the crab with the net before it drops off again – I reckon you’ve got about 2 seconds notice!