What’s swimming in moreton bay for Christmas? - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Photos: Spero Kartanos.


Where has the year gone! The end of 2022 is here, so let’s hope the fishing is just as good in 2023.

When the winds allow us to go fishing, the bay has plenty of fish. Whether you’re a fishing fanatic or a weekend/family/kids fisherman, Moreton Bay has plenty to offer. Here’s a quick rundown of the species in the bay this time of year.

Whiting. It’s the easiest and the best fish for the kids and the family to catch and probably the best tasting for most. You should find whiting in good numbers around the southern side of the Chain Banks, Amity Banks, the Maroon Bank side of the Rous Channel, and of course, the Sand Hills at Moreton Island and the blue hole.

In the north/easterlies, most will float around Horseshoe Bay at Peel Island – the shallows have plenty of whiting but also lots of traffic. The best bait is sand worms or blood worms and peeled small prawns and squid strips on a paternoster rig while drifting.

Squire/Snapper. December squire and snapper will be closest to Wynnum/Manly on the eastern side of Green, Mud and St Helena Islands, and Wellington Point all around Peel Island. In particular, try Lazaret Gutter and Harry’s artificial reef, Mt Cotton Reach, and in the Rous further north, Cowan Reef.

I prefer the shallow reefs close to our Bay Islands with smaller currents, and fishing in 18 to 21-ft depth makes it fun, running a rig with enough weight to get to the bottom on a 3.0 to 6.0 snapper hook. The best baits for me are small whole whiting and garfish. Whiting heads are my favourite, but squid, cuttlefish, octopus, mullet flesh and grinner fillets will catch a fish or two. I prefer a good run in the tide (especially outgoing), and you’ll also find sweetlip, bream and flathead while fishing for squire.

School Mackerel. The best way to catch school mackerel is with diving boards – Yamashita, Delta or Yozuri (copies orange boards) with 3-inch spoons, trolling at 5 to 7 knots around the bay near Hope Banks, the basin at Peel Island, the Rous Channel, Rainbow Channel and deeper water at the Sand Hills and Shark Spit. At the shipping channel and the Measured Mile Beacon, you can also float a pilly out around any of the bay markers, and when you are whiting fishing, there’s always a mackerel swimming around.

Spotty Mackerel should start showing up in the next few weeks, and you can catch them trolling, but a chrome slug thrown and retrieved in a feeding school is the way to catch them.

Sand Crabs will also be in excellent numbers throughout the bay, and a pot or two should make everyone happy!

Last but not least, one of the best-tasting critters in the bay is the Tiger Squid, which are starting to show up in all the weed banks in the bay on the western side of Moreton Island, the Rous Channel, Small Boat Channel, Amity Banks, Rainbow Channel and Green Island. You need nice clear water and a couple of good quality squid jigs. A cast and slow retrieve should get you a squid and a face full of ink (which happens to us all).

Have fun and be careful; watch the weather and all the extra boat traffic. There are a couple of nasties in the bay you should be cautious of – the stone fish and Moreton Bay Irukandji jellyfish we have in the bay will be in bigger numbers as the water warms up.

To all my readers, Merry Christmas, good fishing, and a happy and healthy New Year to you all! See you in 2023.

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