The fishing just keeps getting hotter! The Southern Bay has been fishing great with all sorts of species coming on the bite this spring. Bream, mulloway and snapper have been around in good numbers. Plenty of anglers have been getting out there and stuck into them. The weather has also helped, with some awesome mornings over the past month. Moreton Bay is a great place to be at this time of the year.
October saw the temperatures rise with the hint that summer is well and truly on its way. This time of year proves to be great for targeting big yellowfin bream, especially if it’s not something you’ve done a lot. As the water warms, the bream become less lethargic and readily attack lures with plenty of gusto.
Most of the bay islands are worth a shot. Look to get as shallow as you can, as the fish will move well up into the banks searching for food. I like using pencil shaped lures as they cast very well and have an enticing action when worked on the surface. Small poppers are also very effective in these shallow water situations.
Expect catches of tailor, whiting, flathead and even squid! It’s worth keeping a squid jig rigged and ready to go as quite often squid will follow the lures. If the wind is up and working surface lures becomes tricky, switch to shallow diving crankbaits and you’ll be able to keep the bites coming. Long casts, followed by a slow roll technique is the best way to go. Basically, wind it in just quick enough to get the lure action going.
Mangrove jack are an awesome fish to target and are often overlooked in the Southern Bay area. Not many fish in an estuary can pull harder, and they can sure test your gear. We don’t seem to catch many around the islands, but there are a fair few that call the canals home. Raby Bay and Birkdale canals provide plenty of cover for these red devils and are great places to target the fish.
Cast soft plastics around the pontoons and jetties for the most effective way to catch a mangrove jack. A few popular lures that anglers use in these situations are the 4” ZMan SwimmerZ and the DieZel MinnowZ. They’re the perfect imitation for a little mullet, which the jacks love. Similar sized hardbody lures are also a good option.
All that’s needed is a slow roll retrieve, slowly winding the lure along the face of the pontoons. Mangrove jacks will sit high in the water column, waiting for unsuspecting baitfish to swim past. Keeping your lure in this strike zone is key. Fish appropriate line class too – I wouldn’t fish any lighter than 20lb, as these fish hit like trains and go straight for the structure. You’ll need some pulling power on your end!
There’s been plenty of mulloway around the Peel Island Artificial Reef. Many anglers are cashing in on another great season. Fish in the 80-90cm range have been a common occurrence. Drift over the schooled fish with soft plastics or micro-jigs for the best method to catch mulloway. The most important aspect has been to make sure your lure is right on the fish. This is where your sounder comes into its own.
This is the time of year for big Moreton Bay snapper. Looking back through my records, some of my biggest fish have come as by-catch while chasing mulloway. They aren’t usually in big schools and you only ever hear of them caught in ones and twos, but they’re around and worth looking for. Peel Island Artificial and Harry Atkinson Reefs are the best bets. Try a 5” ZMan Streak in baby bass colour – they love them!
That’s it for this month. If you get into a few fish, I’d love to hear about it. Send in your fishing story to --e-mail address hidden-- and make sure you include some photos. I’ll get them into next month’s report.
Heading out of Cleveland into the bay in glassed out conditions – there aren’t many better places to be.
Jamal Kanj has been getting stuck into plenty of nice fish and sent in this great picture of a mulloway just prior to landing it.
Snapper will often hang around the schools of mulloway and are a sucker for well presented soft plastics.Reads: 411