The summer fishing season is definitely under way, with air and water temperatures on the rise. This past month has seen consistent daily maximums in the high 20s/low30s, which has been about 3 degrees above last month’s average. Water temperatures have also increased about 3 degrees over the past 6 weeks, in the Passage.
Local winds have also been steady for weeks; almost always from the north and blowing more than 15knots every afternoon, keeping water clarity low.
We’ve just had the driest November on record. Apart from the thunderstorm on November 17 and the rain just last week, most of the weather has passed north or south of us.
All of this points to the sort of consistent weather that makes fish more inclined to be tempted by your bait or lure, which has certainly been the case over the past month. Changeable weather means erratic barometric pressure, which affects the swim bladders of fish, especially those with larger swim bladders, like bream and snapper, sweetlip too. With stable weather, fish feel more comfortable and more interested in feeding. It goes a long way to explain why there’s been such a fantastic run of bream and sweetlip in the Passage. Even the snapper have held on in good sizes.
Darcy found some good-sized fish near Shag Island, 3 big bream among them, using prawns for bait. On a windy day, Nick and Chris drifted north of the bridge, past Bellara; it was a messy sort of day but still good for catching bream and sweetlip. North of the bridge was also the right place for Damon and Luke, with bream, sweetlip and a snapper, just shy of legal size. It was a fast tide, which is not always a bad thing, and the fish were caught using just regular jig lures.
There are still cod to be found around Bongaree jetty, and around other structures or rocky areas of the Passage. Mullet fillets have worked well to catch them. Most of the cod we have heard about have been tossed back in, including Luke’s cod, 49cm, which was caught at the jetty.
Flathead went quiet last month, but some really good catches have come in recently. Troy says he didn’t have to go far for his 69cm beauty, sitting just north of Spinnaker Sound Marina. Also try the north end of White Patch - prawns have been doing the trick there.
Further out, mackerel have been plentiful. Richard and his mates had a great day, saying “If you couldn’t catch a mackerel, you must have forgotten to take your rod.” With 15 mackerel, 2.5kg plus, snapper about 3.2kg and sweetlip at 2.5kg, it was a good day for them all. Early morning starts are good for mackerel; a jig and pilchards favoured for bait.
As we go further into summer, the good fishing should continue, but the storms will change the feeding behaviour of the fish in the Passage. A keen fisher should change their strategy accordingly. We’ll go into that next month.
Fishability Qld held its end-of-year Community Fish-off at Bongaree jetty at the start of the month, with trophies handed out to the 2019 winners. Thanks to Simone Wilson, who came along to support this great program, which offers friendly, accessible fishing outings to people who don’t often have such opportunities.