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A decent 52cm grunter caught on a Zerek Live Shrimp Hot Legs.

Persistence pays off in Moreton Bay

Wow, while we probably say it every year, “I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas,” this year has definitely flown by, so Merry Christmas everyone!

Thank you for reading my articles for the past 12 months, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

I’ve revelled in spending time on the water and catching fish with family, friends and clients, which helps to make these articles possible.

And the more time I spend on the water, the more information I’m able to gather.

Occasionally people will say that Moreton Bay’s fished out or they’re struggling to get fish.

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Ian with the biggest snapper of the day at 48cm, caught on a McCarthy Bait.

 

That’s possibly because they don’t get enough time on the water – due to work commitments, family obligations or simply poor weather throughout the year.

Now sometimes, you have to go fishing when the conditions aren’t perfect.

I’m definitely not saying go out when the weather doesn’t allow it.

I’m saying that perhaps consider fishing when the moon phase isn’t perfect or the wind direction isn’t right – it doesn’t always have to be spot on.

Other factors, such as getting out early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the sunrise or sunset bite, can be changed up.

Ian and Mick with a double hook up to a couple of southern bay flathead.

 

Occasionally, having a fish at the ‘wrong’ times can teach you a lot more about certain areas.

You’ll be surprised at what you can catch when everything isn’t in your favour, simply by being out there and being persistent.

This is what’s happened on a few occasions over the past month for me.

The first charter, four fishos wanted to learn about Moreton Bay, fishing in general and also catching fish on lures.

And though it took some organising to schedule a date that worked for everyone, we eventually found one that worked with reasonable tides.

Flathead can still be caught in the warm shallows by trolling hard-bodies such as the 70mm Duo.

 

However, the weather forecast was not favourable, with wind against the tide all day – not dangerous but not ideal.

Due to the amount of planning it had taken, the anglers were keen to keep the original date if they could.

So, we had a 15-18 knot southerly with a run-in tide.

For me, wind against tide almost all day does not equate to fun.

But with a nice early low tide, we headed out to see if we could get flathead first up.

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Rung captured her first-ever squire on a Zerek Flash Minnow Wriggly.

 

I thought we’d do okay but unfortunately, the fish didn’t bite.

And even though we caught only one flathead and one 52cm grunter on soft plastics, the crew were happy with that.

However, the wind picked up and started to blow fairly hard from the southeast.

We tried a few spots, but they were basically unfishable, so I had to come up with something to get us back in control – which meant trolling.

We headed to a little area, tied on some ripper divers and started trolling hard-bodies to see if we’d get snapper.

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A Zerek Ripper Diver was used for this southern bay sand flathead.

 

And it didn’t take long before the fishos picked up their first fish – a nice 42cm southern bay snapper.

We kept using this technique and picked up a legal squire, a 34cm bream and a sand flathead before the sharks moved in.

While our trip was coming to an end, we had a nice high tide, so I steered us out of the breeze to work the mangrove line for flathead on the way home.

Lucky enough, we pulled into a spot, had a few casts and picked up a nice flathead.

We decided to have a troll on the way back in and picked up the best flatty of the day on the ever-faithful Zerek Bulldog Crank.

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A lovely 66cm snapper managed by Rung in 1m of water against mangroves.

 

So, for a day where all the conditions weren’t perfect, by staying out and persisting, the crew picked up a nice feed a fish and learnt a few different techniques.

The second ‘persistence pays off’ charter for the month was with Jason and his partner Rung.

We had a good high tide scheduled for the morning, so we should have been able to get into a few nice flatties fairly early for a nice easy day.

Unfortunately, the flathead decided they didn’t want to bite that morning, which made things a little harder.

We quickly ran out to some rubble ground and caught a few fish by drifting before the northerly picked up.

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Rung was very happy catching bream and other species.

 

Then we were in the same predicament as the previous charter, with wind against the tide.

We tried a few spots with bait, but these were unfishable.

Jason asked to try one more location on the way home to see if we could hook a flathead.

So, as the tide was getting low, we headed to an area out of the wind to cast a few soft plastics.

The water was putrid brown and though we had a couple of taps and bumps from flatties, we could not get them to commit.

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A very happy client used a Zerek Ripper Diver on his first ever snapper.

 

And then Rung hooked up to a solid fish.

It really played up on the light gear.

We were fishing in about 0.5-1m of water against the mangrove line for flathead, so it was a surprise when – in filthy water, on an outgoing tide, at 2pm in the afternoon, with a northerly

breeze – a 66cm snapper was safely in the net and onboard.

The crew were very happy – I mean, we could see the boat ramp from where we caught the snapper!

Mick hooked a decent flathead using a Zerek Flash Minnow Wriggly.

 

A great example of when persistence absolutely pays off.

Lastly, number three for the month – with Ian and his brother Mick – was an interesting charter.

I had prepared to cancel this particular trip – one, because my back wasn’t playing ball and two, it was predicted to blow 20 knots from the north straight off the bat and all day.

However, Mick had come from Ipswich to celebrate Ian’s birthday and had booked accommodation, so it had to go ahead.

In my favour was an early morning low tide and an incoming tide with a northerly wind – wind and tide travelling in the same direction is always a plus.

We headed out early and hid around the islands.

Caught on a Zerek Bulldog Crank was the best flathead of that particular charter.

 

The fishos picked up a couple of flathead but it was a fairly slow start.

As the tide started to increase, I pushed out to some rubble ground.

With the northerly blowing 15-20 knots, we drifted with soft plastics and, while we didn’t have a ball, we caught a nice feed of 42-48cm snapper and plenty of 34-35cm fish that we enjoyed catching and releasing.

Mick picked up a nice flathead and, on the final drift, Ian picked up the best snapper of the day at 48cm.

By that stage, the wind was fairly strong, so we called it.

For a day that we probably would have given a miss to under normal circumstances, the crew scored a nice feed of fish.

A nice 44cm snapper caught by Ian on a Zerek Flash Minnow Wriggly.

 

And because the wind and tide were moving in the same direction, it wasn’t too uncomfortable.

The standout lures for the day were McArthy Baits and Zerek Flash Minnow Wrigglys – they basically caught everything.

So, there’s a few stories of persisting and staying out on the water when everything may not be ideal.

As I said, we were not out in dangerous weather conditions, but not all elements were in our favour.

However, just by being out there, some nice fish were caught.

Perhaps over the Christmas holidays and with a bit of persistence you too could pick up a couple of nice fish to take home for the table.

Merry Christmas and stay safe.

As we all know, with our jobs and lives we are time poor, so if you can learn more to optimise your time on the water, why not – remember knowledge is key.

Until next month, stay safe on the water and, if you’re interested in our fishing tuition or want to do a fishing charter, give me a call on 0432 386 307, send an email to seanconlonsfishing@hotmail.com or check out the Facebook page Seano’s Inshore Fishing Charters and Tuition.

About Sean Conlon

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