Top tips for great season for fishing

Published 11:00am 3 May 2024

Top tips for great season for fishing
Words by Dr Dazza
Daryl McPhee is an associate professor of environmental science at Bond University


This is a great time of the year to be fishing locally - one of my favourites. There is a great mix of opportunities, so fingers crossed for some good weather windows.

It will be a big month for women anglers as the Women’s Fishing Classic runs from May 12 to June 8. This is the fourth year this competition has run. With a prize pool of over $85,000, it is sure to attract many participants and some stunning trophy fish will no doubt be caught.

Estuary and land based

This is a great time of the year to be targeting tailor inshore and land based along the foreshore. While plenty will be caught from places like Redcliffe and Woody Point jetties, I prefer the foreshore anywhere from Scarborough to Shorncliffe on the larger high tides at night as it tends to consistently produce better sized fish. My preferred bait and rig are a small pilchard on a set of 3 x 3/0 ganged hooks. Sinker size will vary from unweighted up to about a four-ball sinker depending on where you are fishing. Make sure you bleed your tailor catch and put them on ice straight away. This will ensure they stay firm when filleting.

Dusky flathead have settled back into their inshore feeding areas and you will find them in the Pine and Caboolture Rivers, Hays Inlet and along the foreshores. They are a great target on various soft plastic lures and small hard body lures like the Daiwa Double Clutch and the Gravity Twitch from Savage Gear. It’s often best to target them on the run-out tide anywhere where water is draining from the flats into a main channel. Such locations are where dusky flathead lie in wait for unsuspecting baitfish. Remember dusky flathead have both a minimum legal size of 40cm and a maximum legal size of 75cm. The latter is to protect the larger breeding females.

Yellowfin bream will be widespread throughout the lower reaches of the estuarine and inshore areas as this is the month that the species starts to commence their autumn/winter spawning migration. Around the mouth of the Pine River and the fishing platforms on the Ted Smout Bridge will be a favoured location to target them. Flesh baits such as fresh mullet strips will account for most of the better fish caught.

On an unhappy note, a new introduced pest species, the Suminoe oyster has been detected in Bribie Passage, Kedron Brook and around Pinkenba. This is a large species of oyster (up to 24cm) which has the potential to impact native shellfish species and fish habitat. They are difficult to distinguish from native oyster species until they grow to a size much larger than our native oysters. Keep an eye out for any giant oysters and report them to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. More on this issue next month!

Inshore reefs

Expect squire and a few grass sweetlip on the reefs for those that fish light. Focus on dawn, dusk and at night. Mixed in with squire will be tailor if you are floating around pilchards. There will still be a few quality barred grunter mooching around. Just remember they have a minimum legal size of 40cm but fish over 60cm can be caught around Scarborough Reef.

Beach fishing

This can be a great month for fishing the surf beach at Moreton Island, particularly for swallowtail dart but bream and tarwhine will also be caught. For swallowtail dart, look for the gutters that have plenty of white water over them. The stretch of beach around the “gun emplacements” south to Long Point on Moreton Island is always a favoured stretch of beach for them, but they can turn up anywhere depending on the beach formations. Yabbies are the number one bait, although eugaries, beach worms or peeled prawns will produce some fish as well. Swallowtail dart are fantastic sport and good eating if bled, filleted and eaten fresh. They also come up brilliantly when put through the smoker.

It is a bit too early for the main run of tailor along the surf beach, but if you put in some effort in the deeper gutters around dawn and dusk you should find a couple of choppers and maybe a larger fish or two.

Crabbing and prawning

This is not a great month for mud crabbing so if you want a feed of crabs, it is best to target blue swimmer crabs. While it takes more time to peel blue swimmer crabs compared to mud crabs, the fine white meat makes up for it.

Cast netting for banana prawns has been hit and miss locally and expect that trend to continue. Those that put in the effort will be rewarded. Any rainfall during the month will have a significant impact on where the prawns are.

Offshore

There should be some good weather windows for offshore fishing this month. Snapper, pearl perch, teraglin, silver trevally and venus tusk fish will be the main species caught.

Top tips for great season for fishing

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