Shoulder-season weather conditions prevailed over the past month, and fishing has continued to be erratic, in response.
Windy weather is making it a little more difficult to get out on a boat and sometimes not comfortable fishing from shore, either. Morning breezes have been very changeable, from all points of the compass but by the afternoon they have almost always swung around to the east, so sticking to the Bribie side of the Passage has usually been the better option.
La Nina is still waiting in the wings and is yet to make her appearance, and although we’ve seen those terrific storms in SE Qld, there have only been a couple of real bouts of rain over the Passage. Over the last week of October and again in early November, the change in barometric pressure before the storms managed to stir up a few species, including mangrove jacks, but the water temperature is still cool – a full degree below average at the moment. The chances of scoring a mangrove jack should increase as the water warms up, especially if those late afternoon storms keep coming through. Try around the north edge of Ningi Creek; they love to hang around the old oyster beds and mangroves in there – almost any paddle-tail soft-plastic lure will work but be ready to take control before the jack gets to cover.
Ningi Creek has been a handy sheltered spot for an afternoon’s fishing lately. There are plenty of big bream to be caught, too, often well over 30cm. Lois’ best was near the third green marker up the creek and Rachael and Torri had success there too. Prawns have consistently been the best bait for bream, although Bruce would dispute that. At 88, he tells me that he has fished up and down the coast all his life and hasn’t used regular bait for more than 40 years. This is his method:
“I soak uncooked rice in a little fish-oil – I just get one of those bottles of fish-attractant but anything will do. Then I cut up fresh white bread crusts into 2’’ pieces – I press a bread crust around my hook -toss a handful of rice into the water, then fish into the spot with my bread. Sometimes I’ll put three hooks onto my line and I’ll score a couple of bream at the same time – it never fails to catch bream!”
Sand whiting are showing up through the Passage and even though it’s early, they are good sizes. Henry and his Dad got lucky, fishing from Sandstone Point but there are bigger numbers of them off the sandbanks at Banksia Beach.
The flathead have been sitting outside Ningi Creek, north and south of the yellow cross marker, but also around the Avon wreck and up at White Patch. Further north, Poverty Creek and the top end of Little Goat Island have yielded some good-sized flathead. Fred and his family took four flathead from White Patch – all about the 55cm mark, along with the inevitable companion flounder – prawns again the bait of the day. They also had a lovely snapper, caught with a gulp soft-plastic.
South of the bridge, Logan and Chris bagged out with snapper, just after the latest rain. They weren’t huge, around the 37cm mark, all of them tempted with live worms. Logan also put out four crabpots – not a single sand or mud crab, but a very pretty giant red hermit crab – with a shell about 15cm across!
Down at the jetty, it has been hit and miss all month. On a day when “not another thing was caught”, Nate did see a big, big grunter bream brought in with a soft-plastic lure. The wind often makes the difference at the jetty and early mornings have been the best time for fishing there lately, but no guarantees...
Further out, Richard says there are plenty of school mackerel around the south cardinal marker and off-shore from Woorim. November is a time to target surface-feeding schools of mackerel in the bay, and as the weather warms, a few spotted mackerel will show up among them. Lures of all kinds can be used but shiny ones work really well – the trick is to wind in fast -that will get the mackerel in the chase.
We see some very enthusiastic fishers around Bribie, but I reckon Nellie wears her love of fishing on her sleeve. Last week, she showed me her fish-ruler tattoo, which extends up her right arm, to make measuring her catch easy. Now that’s dedication!