If you love to wet a line, here’s some expert tips to increase your chances of catching a feed for dinner.
G’day folks, Spring is definitely in the air. This time of year, we see the beginning of a cross over from the cool weather species to the warm weather species. A day out on Moreton Bay can see a real mixed bag hit the deck.
The closed season for Snapper and Pearl Perch is over and they can now be targeted. I spoke to Mick Dragt of Big Cat Charters who said: “The past few trips we have gone wide of Moreton Island and while slow, still managed good numbers of Snapper and Pearl Perch. We have managed to bag a couple of Mahi Mahi along the way. We should see Mahi Mahi turn up in good numbers very soon”.
If you’re fishing a little closer to the Bribie Passage or the Redcliffe peninsula, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a feed. We will see the numbers of bream remain, but the quality will begin to reduce. Most fishos know that the end of winter the bream are in top condition and at their heaviest. Moving away from the winter breeding season, they lose condition rapidly.
Margate Beach and Bribie Passage have fired up over the past couple of weeks, with reasonable numbers of whiting and flathead being caught. Banksia Beach, White Patch and Skirmish Point have all been producing reasonable numbers however there’s not a lot of quality at the moment.
Live yabbies and worms are the better baits, when chasing a feed of whiting.
If flathead is your flavour, then whole Pilchard or strips of mullet will increase your chances. Don’t be afraid to fish big baits as Dusky Flathead really show up this time of year, often in very good numbers. Just remember, they have a minimum and maximum size limit in Queensland, 40cm to 75cm. When handling the larger specimens, be mindful of taking their weight evenly and not hanging them by lip grips, this will ensure a healthy release.
If you prefer to target flathead on lures, I suggest 3 or 4 inch soft plastics in the Z’man range. My go-to diving hard body is the Daiwa Double Clutch 95mm in natural colours. For top water, you can’t go post the Bassday Sugapens in 95mm.
If you see my bright green Stacer Proline on the water, don’t be shy I’m always up for a chat.
Redcliffe is a real can of worms – and for the whiting angler this is a good thing! There are five main species of marine worms (polychaetes) that anglers use for bait in Moreton Bay and four of them can be found at Redcliffe.
Cribb Island worms, or mud worms, are the commercially-harvested species sold in various bait and tackle shops. They can be dug in areas of the Peninsula such as Woody Point, in the soft mud and clay, and in parts of Deception Bay. They are commonly referred to as bloodworms but they are not the “true” bloodworm. The true bloodworm is much softer and much harder to get, but Hays Inlet is the place to get them. To harvest them, you will generally need to be in at least knee-deep mud. You place your hands into the soft mud to at least your elbows and pull back the clods. The bloodworms tend to be in the firmer mud underneath. Remember if you dig there, do not disturb mangroves and be aware that the no fishing zone there also includes no worm digging.
Rock worms (or ‘rockies’) are a small worm well-known to anglers at Redcliffe. They are found in coarse sand between rocks and in the clay material. They are highly abundant, but very patchy, and it pays to keep moving around to locate them. A word of caution, you will require a very sturdy fork to dig them. Breaking a fork is not uncommon in the rocky terrain.
A challenge with rock worms is keeping them alive. There are a couple of methods for this. My preferred approach is to collect some coarse and relatively clean sand in a bucket from adjacent to the area. I then only place whole rock worms in the bucket. This means that care needs to be taken in extracting the relatively fragile worms from where you have found them. Then when I have finished digging, I place a further small amount of sand over the top of the worms, and then a rag well dampened in seawater. On returning home, I drain any excess saltwater from the bucket, and place the bucket in a tray of water. The purpose of the latter is to prevent any ants finding their way into the bucket of rock worms. Rock worms can be kept alive for in excess of three days using this method, as long as they are kept cool and moist. It often pays to re-wet the rag with seawater and redrain if necessary.
Wriggler worms are another Redcliffe specialty and a favourite for many anglers who fish at Bribie Island and around Comboyuro Point on Moreton Island. They are found in the coarse sand around the high tide mark. The preferred tool to dig them with is a 10-prong fork. A pile of sand is dug and the fork shaken so that the sand falls through the prongs of the fork and the worms remain on them. They are a highly-active worm, and rather than being threaded on the hook, are generally presented as a writhing cluster. Keeping them alive is relatively easy and involves keep them in the sand they are found in a cool environment (e.g. a foam esky), and ensuring that ants don’t get in. They can be kept for a period of weeks, but they do tend to lose condition and can become like fine threads, which potentially reduces their effectiveness.
Surf worms are another popular bait. They can’t be caught on the peninsula itself, but hopefully a new barge service to Moreton Island will put them within reach again!!!
Dr Daryl McPhee is a marine scientist at Bond University. He grew up at Sandgate. Do you have a question for him? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
For Serge Testa, having a park named after him is an exciting first, but it’s his other first that continues to amaze – sailing around the world in a tiny boat…