Sadly, for we keen beach fishos, the winter and early spring season is finishing up. However, at the time of writing – nearly the middle of October – there are encouraging signs that tailor are continuing on, with great catches at Fraser Island and by Brad Smith’s Fishing Charters in the Broadwater estuary. Flathead are another fish that will slow down as the water temperature rises, but November should still see a few good catches.
Keep an eye on the water temperature and as it heads into the mid 20C and beyond, consider an early morning fish for these species or deeper water during the day. The good news for a range of species and seafood delights is that things are only just starting to heat up!
Crabs and prawns
As the late afternoon storms pick up, along with the water temperature, mud crabs will be on the move. In late spring, I prefer to set my pots in the warmer shallows and at the entrances to drains, alongside deeper muddy banks, among fallen trees and on the deeper bends of creeks and rivers.
Be aware, if we don’t get much rain crabs may head further upstream, so take account of that when setting your pots. If you’re unsure where crabs might be in your local estuary, spread the pots out to try to cover your bases on where they might be concentrated. Sand crabs have also made an encouraging start in north and south Moreton Bay.
Try and line your pots up along a contour line on your GPS maps – sign of a drop-off – and so that the scent of your bait will be carried to other pots. If you have a couple of people on your boat, you could start with four pots in shallower water at 4-5m and four deeper at 6-8m and move them according to the crab catch rates.
My old favourite of tiger prawns from the shore will also be firing up towards the end of November if conditions suit. Sadly though, the past couple of years have seen either strong wind around the best times or huge patches of blue green algae, which I didn’t want to wade in close to shore.
But if we get a few very warm days and light wind around when low tide is a couple of hours after dusk, it will be a good time to be out wading with prawning nets and a powerful headlamp to spot their red beady eyes in the shallows of less than 1m deep. Interestingly, catches of banana prawns have also started to make an appearance, though the ones I’ve seen are still small to medium, which means hard work when peeling them.
Let’s hope it’s a bumper season – so check your nets now for any repair needs or, if you haven’t tried before, pick yourself up a net and start practicing using many of the techniques on YouTube so you’re ready to go when the season is in full swing.