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brisbane & moreton bay with leeann payne
Leeann Payne
Dated: 18 August, 2003
Moreton Bay

The weather’s been all over the place of late however I’ve managed to squeeze a couple of days of fishing in.

Last weekend I camped at Teewah Beach (south of Double Island Point) and after arriving on Friday night during a torrential downpour, we were then rewarded with a couple of glorious days for fishing. The wind got up a little however it was not enough to spoil the weekend. A winter certainly hasn’t taken place up in south east Queensland and the question is, "is that it for winter?"

The Sand Whiting found along the beaches have been fantastic with some quality fish being caught on wriggler worms as well as pippies. Swallowtail Dart have been in prolific numbers and we enjoyed a great session on them at Red Gorge. The Tailor also made an appearance in that same gutter however from reports we received later, the Tailor apparently bit their heads off north of us.

The bream, Tarwhine fishing was just a little ordinary with not one caught for the couple of days. We fished the best tides however with the lead up to the full moon, we usually don’t fare very well with this species on the beach.

Wednesday (Brisbane Show Day) was spent on the Nerang River catching whiting on wriggler worms. We had to move around a bit to find them with the best catches being up towards Royal Pines Resort. We caught a few at Sundale Bridge, The Southport School, The Council Chambers and Budds Beach but we worked hard for them. For a Brisbane public holiday, we though there may have been more boat traffic on the water but we were surprised to find hardly any!

Snapper from Caloundra Wide.
Noel Day from In Focus Charters has been extremely busy of late with every man and his dog wanting to catch Snapper. Last weekend he reported that the current was raging at Deep Tempest and Square Patch and it was almost impossible to hold bottom so he made the move to Caloundra Wide. The fish numbers were down however they did catch some quality mixed bags of reefies including venus tusk fish, Moses Perch, Snapper and Pearl Perch.. The best Snapper weighed in at 4kg. Most fish were caught in 60m of water.

This was in contrast with his previous trip where his crew managed Snapper and Pearl Perch at Deep Tempest with fish being caught in 100m There were also some Wahoo about.

He also reports that on the troll his crew tangled with some mac tuna and Striped Tuna. An increase in water temperature will see an increase in pelagic activity.
Noel conducts weekend fishing trips using both lures and baits. He can be contacted on 07 38801407 or email: if you want further info on his charters. He supplies food, nibblies, drinks (not alcohol), bait and all gear for a day on the water.
Diver Whiting (winter whiting) are in prolific numbers still and can be caught right throughout the bay. There is no size or bag limit on these fish. Try the southern end of Bribie Island, Deception Bay, Woody Point, Compass Adjustment Buoy, Nudgee, Sand Hills at Moreton Island, Blue Hole, Rous Channel and the Amity banks. The Pine and Caboolture Rivers are producing good numbers as well.

Bream are widespread and there is plenty of quality in amongst them. Bream are being caught in all the rivers, creeks and along the rocky foreshores in the Redcliffe and Scarborough areas.

Bait fishing at night has proven best for the bigger bream with mullet and chicken gut, chicken flesh, steak, worms, yabbies and strips of gar producing plenty of fish.
Bream love schooling in areas of structure so also try rock retaining walls, jetty pylons, oyster leases and bridge pylons. Fishing the mangrove fringes at the top of the tide is another way of catching these fish.

Bream can be found throughout Pumicestone Passage (Donnybrook, Toorbul), Bongaree Jetty, the mouth of the Caboolture River and Pine River (Dohles Rocks and the Wells areas is always productive), Hayes Inlet, the reefs offshore from Redcliffe/Scarborough, Hornibrook Bridge, Brisbane River mouth (Fisherman’s Islands at high tide) and the shallows at Peel Island. They are also being caught along the foreshores at high tide at Cleveland and Victoria Point.

Casting 1" and 2" soft plastics on light jigheads in amongst structure can account for Bream (you will need a light spinning outfit for this). You can also use hard bodied lures such as McGrath’s Attacks 5cm and Halco 35 Scorpions.

Whiting numbers are still reasonable so it’s worth digging a few worms for bait (at low tide – rockworms along the Redcliffe/Scarborough foreshores – rocky areas of course or "wrigglers" can be dug from the coarse sandy areas with a fork). Fishing the edges of the banks in Pumicestone Passage is worth the effort using either worms or yabbies for baits. Some people like using squid however I’ve had the best results on worms used on a size 6 or 4 chemically sharpened long shank hook. Fish as light as possible – up to 3kg line and a small sinker to suit the run of the tide.

Whiting can be caught along the eastern beach of Bribie Island, Pebble Beach, White Patch, Mission Point, Beachmere, the Caboolture and Pine Rivers, Hornibrook Bridge and along the foreshores (sandy beaches) of Scarborough, Redcliffe, and Wellington Point. It is best to fish towards the top of the tide in the Scarborough area when fishing the foreshores. Also try the Hornibrook Bridge and along the edges of sandbanks in most rivers and creeks. Over on Moreton Island they can be caught on both the western and eastern side of the island. Along the beaches, use worms, pippies or yabbies for the best results. In rougher conditions along the beach, worms and pippies will stay on the hook a lot better than yabbies.

Flathead will always be a fish to target in the estuaries. A renowned scavenger, they’ll take lures, flies and baits. Try along the edges of the sandbanks at low tide, usually 2 hours either side of the tide is best when the waters recede from the sandbank. If the tide is higher, your best bet will be to troll shallow diving minnows over the top of the banks.

Trolling lures is a great way of covering ground and it’s best that your lure hits the bottom when trolling – that’s where the flathead will be lying in ambush. For the shallows (over the top of sandbanks at high tide or otherwise along the edges of sanbanks at low tide, try the Attack Minnows, RMG 35 Scorpions, Micro Mullets, Tilsan Minnows, Willo’s, Manns Stretch 5 and Brad Smith’s Lil’Mates. These are all shallow diving lures that should be used in shallow water (about 1m).

The deep gutters on the edges of the sandbanks can be worked with deeper diving lures including the Tilsan Bass, Bombers and Nilsmaster. A slow troll works best for these fish.

Soft plastics lures cast over the shallows will produce good results with the Ecogear large Grass Minnows working well. Use lighter jig heads over shallow ground and heavier jigs in deeper water. The Prawnstar is another magical little lure that imitates a prawn.

If using baits, try live baits of herring, whiting, yabbies and mullet. You can also use flesh baits, w.a. pilchards, whitebait, frogmouth pilchards, prawns etc, etc. Ensure you use enough weight (sinkers) so that your baits stay in touch with the bottom.

Flathead can be found through Pumicestone Passage (try the creek mouths), Bongaree Jetty, at Beachmere, Caboolture River, Hayes Inlet, Pine River, northern end of the Hornibrook Bridge, Redcliffe/Scarborough foreshores, Brisbane River mouth, Fisherman’s Island area, Nudgee Creek and the foreshores at Manly, Wellington Point, Lota to Redland Bay (at high tide in these areas).

At the southern end of Moreton Bay, the islands are turning up some nice sweetlip as well as squire / Snapper and sandcrabs. Try around Mud, Green, Peel, Coochiemudlo and Macleay. The better quality fish are usually caught at night using Pilchards and Squid baits. Also try whiting heads and cuttlefish though prawns, yakkas, hardyheads and herring have also produced a few fish. The Brisbane River has still been turning up a squire with those fishing for bream accounting for these. Soft plastics cast towards the rock walls is doing the job. The sunken wall has been fishing well with those using unweighted baits (yabbies, bonito, chicken flesh etc) doing well.

There have also been reports of School Mackerel being caught in the bay so it’s worth trolling a few lures for these fish. We have found that hard bodied minnows work every bit as well as casting slugs into the schools of fish. It’s also worthwhile fishing the beacons in the bay using either metal lures or W.A. Pilchards.

It’s also this time of year that the jew ( Mulloway) can be caught in the Brisbane River near the Gateway Bridge. Live mullet are great baits to use however you can use w.a. pilchards or squid.

Tailor numbers have been good and it’s definitely time to dust off the surf rods. Tailor can be caught using metal lures (Halco Twistys, Prickly Petes) or baits of W.A. Pilchards or Whitebait.

Tailor are being caught throughout Pumicestone Passage, out from Redcliffe/Scarborough, Moreton Island (western and eastern sides), and through Moreton Bay, particularly around the southern islands (look for either birds diving or schools of fish breaking the surface). Remember there is a bag limit of 20 per person for Tailor (30 if you’re on Fraser Island). Legal minimum size is 30cm.

The ocean beaches of Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island are worth looking at for Tailor, dart, whiting and bream when conditions allow (westerlies are great for surf fishing). It’s a good idea to carry a couple of surf rods when fishing the beaches. If the Tailor are around, use a heavier surf rod though if they aren’t on the bite, a light surf rod (about 10’6) used in conjunction with a 600B Alvey and up to 4kg line will be great for all the other species.

Use the freshest baits or live baits if possible. Beachworms and yabbies are great for dart and whiting while bream and Tarwhine love flesh baits of bonito and even Tailor fillets. Fish structure such as holes or gutters.

Logan/Jumpinpin Area

This time of year is fantastic if you’re looking at catching a feed of Bream for the family. Generally if you want better quality fish, it’s a good idea to be on the water at dawn, dusk or through the night. Baits mentioned previously for Bream can be used in the Jumpinpin area as well.

You’ll find good numbers of these fish right throughout the area in the Logan River, Kalinga Bank, short Island, Tiger Mullet Channel, Whalley’s Gutter, Never Fail Islands and Cobby Passage. Establish a good berley trail going (chook pellets, bran, tuna oil, bread, pilchard pieces can all be utilised) and your results will improve. Remember a berley trail will only be worthwhile if there is minimal run in the tide (around the change of tide is a good time).

If fishing the beaches dawn, dusk and throughout the night is a good time to be fishing for this species. I particularly like using either tuna flesh or Tailor flesh for the larger bream.

South Stradbroke Island has been fishing reasonably well for Tailor by those using W.A. Pilchards and whitebait. Flesh baits of bonito fished during the night has accounted for some better size fish. Concentrate your efforts on the evenings, during the night and early morning for the best results. The fish generally go off the bite as the sun rises further into the sky.

The rod setup we use for whiting. This photo was taken at the Sundale Bridge.
South Stradbroke Island’s ocean beaches will be worth a look for whiting, dart and flathead. All the fish on the beach will bite well on yabbies and worms.
Tailor can also be caught in the Jumpinpin Bar area. Whitebait, frogmouth pilchards and w.a. pillies are producing the fish with a lot of the fish being caught during the run-in tide. Also try casting and retrieving smaller chrome slugs (40gms and under). Jew have also been caught here on live baits of mullet and Tailor.

Flathead have been caught at Kalinga Banks down to Tipplers. In shallow water, soft plastics on light jigheads will catch the fish. Shads are working well with lime green and orange being productive (just make sure the lure is on the bottom). You can troll the shallows using shallow diving lures as well. Trolling is very productive 2 hours either side of low tide when the sandbanks are exposed.

Some other places worth looking are along the eastern and northern side of Crusoe Island, Tiger Mullet Channel, Whalleys Gutter, Slipping Sands and the Bedrooms.

Summer Whiting can be caught on the edges of the sandbanks at Slipping Sands, Squire Island, Crusoe Island, the Gold and Green Banks. Best bait is yabbies that can be pumped from most sandbanks in the area. You can also use worms.

A garfish taken last week whilst whiting fishing. They have been improving in numbers over the last couple of weeks.
Garfish are improving in numbers and whilst we were fishing last week down the Gold Coast, we managed a couple on wriggler worms. It is preferable to anchor up over/near weed beds , establish a berley trail of bread and use small pieces of prawn on a size 8 hook under a pencil float for best results. Try not to ignore the berley trail as you’ll find that the fish can lose interest.

The Brisbane Boat Show is on again from Wednesday 27th August through until Monday 1st September. I’ll be at the Fishing Expo on Friday evening as well as all day Sunday. Make sure you come over and say hi!!
Leeann Payne Fishnet Pro Angler
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