Fishing is a popular activity year-round in Brisbane, both for novice and experienced fishers.
Now the cooler months are upon us there are plenty of winter species in the Brisbane River and surrounding bay islands to hook and serve up onto your dinner plate. We take a look at five species in particular that come out to play when it’s cold.
Winter whiting is a reliable catch in the cooler months and is a great tasting fish. From June to September you can find good populations in Brisbane. For boaties, the mouth and the Pinkenba stretch of the Brisbane River, Boggy Creek, Bulimba Creek, around the Gateway Bridge and Moreton Bay are all good areas to cast a line. For land-based fishers, the Wynnum and Redcliffe Peninsula foreshores hold good numbers of these fish. To consistently catch a feed of whiting, use a variety of bait such as worms, squid strips and peeled prawns rather than flies, lures and plastics.
The cooler months attract large numbers of flathead at the mouths of the numerous creeks and rivers that drain into Moreton Bay. Flathead are aggressive and usually attempt to eat anything that passes by. So using the casting and retrieve methods with either artificial flies, bait, soft plastics and hard-bodied lures will all be successful in catching this fish. You can also try wading the shallow flats and casting surface poppers or small hard-bodied lures, any areas in fact where the tidal flow brings a food source to the fish.
If you want to catch bream in winter then focus on the estuaries and river mouths where the fish are getting ready to spawn. You’ll need heavier lures that can sink further down to reach the fish as they will be holding further down in deep holes and rock walls. Fishing by boat is best so you can drift and bomb repeatedly over a wide area. Dawn and dusk are optimal times to catch this fish which can be a challenge as they’re quite wily.
Trevally can be caught all year round in Brisbane, and make for exciting fishing due to their strength of performance. There are many different species of trevally in a range of different sizes, and they prefer offshore reefs, estuaries, rivers and creeks, anywhere that has water movement. A heavy line and large poppers and jigs work best to reel larger trevally, but for smaller ones you can use pretty much anything. Once a trevally takes a bite you’ll know about it, they have a powerful fighting ability.
Another good eating fish in winter is tailor and, like trevally, usually put up a good fight. In fact, they’re known as ‘fins with teeth’, so be careful when handling! Larger tailor swim in the rivers in winter where they track schools of baitfish, they also like headlands, rocks and reef. Lure them with your own baits such as pilchards, yellowfish and fillets of mullet or soft plastics, but put enough movement in it to attract their attention. They do move around a lot so there’s no guarantees with tailor but dawn and dusk may produce better results.
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