The start of summer has been a tricky period for fishing, although we’ve seen a big variety of fish caught and plenty of impressive catches among them.
Last month, we talked about the possible onset of La Nina. Less pronounced at this stage than perhaps expected, the rains have been regular enough, but not often heavy enough to flush out the creeks. That good storm in the middle of December was just in time for the trawlermen, with strong south-easterlies stirring things up so that everyone got the prawns they wanted for Christmas. The weather since then has largely been dry and calm, with light winds from the north.
The steady weather conditions are likely to make bream, snapper and sweetlip relaxed and hungry, which is good news for fishing. Lots of 30cm+ bream are being taken home on days like this, and from all through the Passage. Tara and crew spent an afternoon fishing near Parrot Island and brought home seven bream – all at 30cm or above.
Will got up behind the Avon wreck, among the mangroves, to catch himself a nice 40cm bream.
Daniel and Ricki had a good haul (three big bream, a grunter and summer whiting), near Shag Island. On the same day, brothers David and Charlie, had 30cm+ bream between them, from a drift past the Oyster Regeneration project, outside Pacific Harbour.
A reminder here: please don’t anchor in the sign-posted area just north of Pacific Harbour – besides being the site of the specially built oyster cages, which can be easily damaged by your anchor, it is also very near Kakadu Beach, which is the summer resting area for thousands of migratory wading birds. Drifting is usually the better way to go, anyway, because it takes you over a lot of underwater structure, which the fish love to hang around!
Sitting between the lock entrance and Buckley’s Hole has been a favourite spot for finding some pretty good-sized fish, including bream, snapper and grassy sweetlip. About 100m out from the Bribie side of the Passage, from IGA to the bridge, there is a nice drop-off, which works well for fishing on the drift.
Flathead have been harder to find lately but there has been some luck using lures. The water being very warm, fishing for them on the sandflats is not always successful, although that’s where you’ll find them on the cloudy days. The best flathead spots over the past month have been the gutters, especially on a rising tide. The mid-December rains mixed up the water enough to get the flathead going for a couple of days, and they were being readily caught on the sandbanks at the mouths of Ningi and Elimbah Creeks. Matt released a 67cm flathead, after catching it near Banksia Beach using soldier crabs for bait. Hard-body lures were also working well at the time, over the flats.
Like every other month of the year, shovel-nose sharks and stingrays are abundant throughout the Passage, especially over the shallows, and more than anything else they are a lot of fun, even if you don’t want to eat them! Be careful not to injure them if returning them to the water; current best advice is to cut the line near the hook, rather than try to prise it away.
At the time of writing, we’re all still waiting for that La Nina to kick in, although we have been promised some excitement over the next couple of days, (Jan 7/8), with a bit of rain. Keep an eye on the weather reports and be ready to strike in the couple of hours before the rain hits – when the barometer moves the bream should go crazy!