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March 2019 Fishing Report – The Island and Surrounds

March 2019 Fishing Report – The Island and Surrounds

Fishing has continued to be a little quiet in the past month. The summer has brought less than 25% of its usual rainfall and most of the winds have continued to be easterlies. Storm season in SE Qld should be bringing unsettled afternoons, with south-easterlies and downpours. Cyclone Oma did manage to muddy things up a little, which made the fish a little livelier, and occasional rain has fallen.

The baitfish are now out in good numbers, and the winds have pushed a lot of them up into the Pumicestone Passage. The big tides that coincided with Oma’s travel down our coast also helped to lure the baitfish further up the Passage.

Of course, following the bait have been some good-sized fish. Grassy sweetlip have been taking lures and fresh bait, particularly as you get further north. Ningi Creek hasn’t been showing much of anything lately but Poverty Creek and the 112s are holding a few good grassy sweetlip.

Flathead have also been giving Ningi Creek a miss, it probably just needs a couple of days of real rain, to flush it out and freshen it up. The better fishing for flathead has been on the rising tide, on the sandbar north of the Avon wreck and up around White Patch. Sam’s dusky flathead was a just respectable 42cm, caught using prawns, drifting off the Banksia Beach boat ramp.

Prawn baits have yielded improving results lately. The prawn season has been very slow this summer, again because of good weather, poor rains and winds from the wrong quarter. Over the past week, prawning has picked up well and that has encouraged the flathead and the bream, who don’t mind chasing prawns – either the real thing or light-weighted plastics.

To use prawn-lures, cast over the water and bring them skipping back near the top. Hanging out under the Bribie end of the bridge, when the tide is just starting to run should work well, especially early mornings or evenings, when the prawns are often busiest.

Another bait that has been catching fish lately is the ever-reliable squid. Often favoured for fishing with young kids, because it stays on the hook well, it has been proving itself with flathead, stingrays and snapper (which are still mostly too small to keep at this time of year). Paul and his boys had a successful afternoon on squid recently, up at the north end of White Patch, on the rising tide.

Mangrove jack are another fish that have been found further up the Passage lately, Elimbah Creek being a place to try for them. The ones we see here are the juveniles; they’re brought in by tide and wind as larvae in Spring and enjoy Bribie’s hospitality until they’re about 8 years old. A really good-sized mangrove jack in the Passage would be about 40cm; like snapper, they have to be over 35cm to be legal.

Mangrove jack like live baits – whiting are a good choice but make sure they’re legal size. A solid hard-body lure will also work with them, one that drops down to where the jack is waiting in his hideout. Mullet strips or a whole mullet butterfly-filleted make an attractive bait for mangrove jack. Use a little bit of weight, a biggish hook and make sure the barb is all the way through the mullet. Then cast downstream and let the bait drift towards some snaggy mangrove roots. If you’re fishing out in the Passage, try casting down-tide towards pylons or along the side of the water - near the end of Warrigal Street is a handy spot. The canals are another great place to go for mangrove jack; they love hiding under the floating pontoons or near the revetment walls.

As the days start to cool a little, so will the water, which will cheer up the bream, flathead and whiting. Late afternoons, when the wind has dropped, and the tide has bottomed out – what better time to cast out and try your luck. All we need is a bit more of that rain…

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