Dave with a nice 52cm snapper caught casting soft plastics.

Tips for Moreton Bay snapper and flathead

Simon and his dad with a couple of the fish that they caught learning how to read tides in different locations when fishing with lures.
Simon and his dad with a couple of the fish that they caught learning how to read tides in different locations when fishing with lures.
Dave with another couple of nice snapper that he caught for the dinner table. These fish showed up on the sounder, and this proves why good electronics like the Lowrance Live are so important.
The author got this nice little snapper casting a soft plastic into a school of fish spotted on the sounder.
Maxy with one of the several snapper he caught casting soft plastics in southern Moreton Bay.
This 50cm fish ate a Zerek Live Flash Minnow Wriggly.
Maxy was pretty happy with his 68cm flathead caught on a 38mm Zerek Bulldog Crank.
You always expect to catch a couple of fish when the Lowrance looks like this.

Applying a more targeted approach with select techniques on the right part of the tide, with a particular species in mind, has definitely caught more fish lately. I haven’t had that much time on the water this month, but even so I have managed to pick up quite a few nice southern bay fish on lures.

There were a couple of days that stood out over the past month. The first was after I made a decision to chase small snapper with Dave around the bay islands. We had planned to head towards the Jumpinpin area and chase flathead, but conditions were better for squire, and I’d had success in the same area last year.

We headed to the spot that I thought would have plenty of fish, however when we got there the tide wasn’t quite right for what we wanted to do, so we waited patiently for the tide to reach the depth we were after. If we hadn’t got any sort of action from the fish after about an hour, we would have packed up and headed down to the Pin.

We cast a few soft plastics around for a while with no action but, about 45 minutes in, the tide was getting to the right depth and I hooked up to a nice fish, which Dave followed up by nabbing a nice 52cm squire. And it didn’t take long for Dave to hook-up to another nice fish. We were having a lot of fun fighting small model snapper because we were using only 6lb line.Persevering Moreton Bay

Over the years, I’ve found that in this particular area, once you go up to 8, 10 or 12lb line, the fish become quite finicky and they won’t look at your offering, so we were fishing as light as possible. With that said, it took a while to get the fish to the net, but Dave played it well and before long he had another nice 40cm squire in the net.

We kept casting in this spot for a couple of hours and caught a lot of slightly undersized fish around 33cm in length to just legal size of around 35cm, which we returned to the water unharmed to fight another day. Then Dave put in a nice cast and hooked-up to a great fish that got the drag on his ATC Virtuous 2000 screaming – it was an awesome fight on light gear.Persevering Moreton Bay

After only a short time we had another nice 52cm squire in the boat. We caught a few more undersized fish successively, but then – as with all good sessions – everything slowed right down as the tide changed and a northerly breeze pushed in with the sun rise. The rest of the morning session was quite slow, so we returned to the harbour at 11am and agreed it had been a great morning.

The other memorable session I had this month was with two fishers down towards Jumpinpin, when chasing a few flathead. The fishos wanted to learn about different areas to target flatties and a few new techniques. Simon and his dad – who normally use bait and had previously had very limited success with lures – wanted to work around Cabbage Tree Point in Jacobs Well.Persevering Moreton Bay

I organised the day to coincide with a couple of reasonable size tides to show them how to navigate through that area. I also showed them a few places where flathead were likely to be found, and we trolled with hard-bodies and casted soft plastics. On this particular day, the fish didn’t want the soft plastics and we could only get a reaction out of them by trolling hard-bodies, but the fishers picked up quite a few nice fish to take home for tea and had learned a lot along the way.

A good day was had by all of us. I was lucky enough to have a short session with my young son Maxy. We didn’t particularly want to get up bright and early to head out fishing on the day, and we checked that we’d have the right tide needed to target a few squire at around 9.30am. So, we didn’t hit the water until 9am, which is considered a bit late for chasing this particular species in the southern bay.Persevering Moreton Bay

We stuck by our decision that if the tide was right, the fish would still be there. We got to the area and, after having a little sound around with the Lowrance, we spotted a few fish on the bottom. We deployed the electric, put the spot-lock on and started making a few casts. It didn’t take too long to start catching a few undersize fish, which is still good fun on light 6lb gear.

After a short wait, I hooked-up to a nice fish that gave me a good little battle on the light tackle and Maxy scooped it up in the net. It was a strictly catch and release day, so while we didn’t measure anything, we were sure it was around 45cm. Max took a couple of quick photos and then we released it.

We had a great session over the next hour or so and we caught plenty of just legal and slightly undersized fish. Max got himself into a few nice southern bay island squire, which were all around 38-40cm. These fish gave him a great fight on the light gear and I’m always a proud father to watch him catch a few fish, but before long the tide started to slow, and everything stopped biting.

I said to Max we should try to get a couple of flathead, now that the tide was right to chase them. He was pretty keen to give it a go, so we moved over to an area a few hundred metres away that usually holds a few lizards at this time of the year, and we started casting a few plastics around. It didn’t take long before I was lucky enough to pick up a fish around 50cm on a Zerek Live Flash Minnow Wriggly and, after a few quick photos, the fish was released too.Persevering Moreton Bay

We put a few more casts in but we didn’t get any more fish, so I decided to tie on a couple of crankbaits and see if we could tease a couple up. We made a few trolling passes for nothing and, though there was a bit of snot weed around which made it a little more difficult, on the third pass young Maxy told me he was snagged.

I corrected him and told him he’d hooked a nice fish. This fish hooked in only about 400mm of water, so I gave him a bit of stick on the light gear, but he soon had the fish under control and in the net. It was a solid 68cm flatty, which was also released to fight another day after a couple of quick pics.

A northerly breeze had pushed in and it was getting a little bit tricky to fish this area. We had already had a nice day out on the water, so we decided to head home. We got back to the pontoon and I was glad to have had such a great day with my young son. By targeting a few fish on the right side of the tide, even though it wasn’t early in the morning or late in the afternoon, we still managed to snag a couple of decent models.Persevering Moreton Bay

Anyway, hopefully the fishing down this way will pick up over the next few months and become more consistent. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any fish down here. It’s just that they’ve been a bit tricky to catch at the moment and I much prefer it when we can get consistency in fishing sessions and catches, but it will pick up.

Until next month, stay safe on the water and if you’re interested in any of our off the water or on the water tuition classes, or you just want to do a fishing charter, don’t hesitate to give me a call on 0432 386 307, email seanconlonsfishing@hotmail.com or check out the Facebook page.

About Sean Conlon

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