JUNE AND JULY, TYPICALLY, ARE MONTHS OF BEAUTIFUL, CALM WEATHER AND PLEASANT FISHING DAYS. LATELY THAT HASN’T ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE, WITH A LOT OF CLOUD COVER, OCCASIONAL HEAVY RAIN AND BRISK WINDS. MORNING TEMPERATURES HAVE ALSO BEEN WELL BELOW AVERAGE.
That may explain why the flathead have been picking up just lately. Cold mornings and a bit of wind will always help to stir things up. There have been plenty of under-sized sand flathead being caught, and some bigger ones among them. Sam and his sons spent most of their fishing trip under the bridge, hiding from a cold westerly on a day that BOM recorded as having zero hours of sunlight. Getting nothing at all, not even nibbles, they gave up and moved into Ningi Creek and caught two good flathead, using prawns and mullet for bait. The next day, Madeleine nabbed a 50cm flatty, using bacon, at the same spot.
The full day of rain on the first Saturday of July has really made the difference with flathead fishing. July is often the month that the big flathead fishing takes off and it looks promising so far. As the weather cools, larger flathead are attracted to the mouths of the creeks. They’re keen and will usually attempt to eat anything that passes by. Casting and retrieving soft plastics and hard-bodied lures is often the best way of catching them. If you’re using bait, make sure you use the tidal flow – allow the boat to drift along the sandbank.
If you’re shore-based, then cast out lures over the shallow flats, where the incoming tidal flow brings a food source to the fish. Look for signs of a weed-bed or the edge of the mangroves. Bullock Creek, at Meldale, is another spot where some nice flathead have shown up. Going after flathead, it’s always a good idea to add some strong leader to your line – they’re pretty good at biting through a regular line, which John figured out too late!
I have heard that there are lots of bream at the bridge and further north, but not many of them are really big. Ray did get a good one, as well as a flathead, squid and sandcrab, again at Ningi Creek – in his words, “the place to be”. Richard says there are plenty of big bream in Ned’s Gutter.
Down at Bongaree jetty, there have been catches of snapper, tailor and sweetlip. The snapper are picking up in size, just in time for the annual closed season, which goes from July 15th -August 15th. One of our regulars, Shane, had an unusually quiet fishing session today, as I write the report. His crew scored one nice, fat tuskfish at the bridge, using prawns, one 37cm winter whiting and lots of baby snapper at the Ripples.
Don’t forget that EVERY snapper must be released back into the water for the snapper closure period, so try to unhook carefully, not damaging their lateral line in the process – give them a chance to keep growing!
Fishing outside the Passage has shown mixed success lately. One man told me, “They’re not taking anything – poddy mullet, mullet strips, pillies, hardy heads – tried the lot!” Not long after, Rob, Jo and Amy had a great time out at the Cockle Banks. They took just an hour to pick up 40 winter whiting; Rob found that the nipper heads of live worms was absolutely the way to get the whiting. Jo also caught three puffer fish (maybe the same one twice) and two under-sized flathead, so lots of fun all round. Talking of fun, check out the Fishability Qld event at Bongaree Jetty, on July 30th – as well as fishing, they’re running filleting and rope splicing tutorials and an indigenous art workshop. Sounds great!