Fishing tips: What's biting in April 2024

Published 10:00am 12 April 2024

Fishing tips: What's biting in April 2024
Words by Dr Dazza
By Daryl McPhee

April heralds the start of the change of seasons and it is a great time for mixed bags in the local area. Water temperature will start to drop, day length is becoming shorter, and the wind generally shifts more to the southwest in the mornings.

Inshore reefs

The inshore reefs around the Peninsula will continue produce squire, Moses perch and grass sweetlip throughout April and those who fish light with fresh bait will consistently do the best. There is ongoing confusion among local anglers in differentiating grass sweetlip which have a minimum legal size of 30cm and spangled emperor which have a minimum legal size of 45cm. The latter have been particularly prevalent this year. If you are fishing the inshore reefs, brush up on how to correctly identify the two species, and if you are still unsure, release the fish. Tailor will become more active during April and it is a great month to start to target them. Floating pilchards will do the trick around the inshore reefs.

Estuary and land based

Tailor will also be a good target along the foreshore at night and the mouths of the Pine and Caboolture Rivers and Hays Inlet. There can be some really good quality tailor early in the season. A ripper of a tailor of more than 60cm was caught recently near the mouth of the Pine River. Dusky flathead become more abundant locally as they move back from the summer spawning grounds around surf bars. Hays Inlet is a favoured haunt of mine to target them on either soft plastic or hard bodied lures. Mixed in with dusky flathead will be occasional bar tailed flathead, flounder, trevally and juvenile mulloway. Bream will be active as they continue to build up condition prior to their winter spawning migration and can be targeted at most locations with the popular ones being the fishing platforms on the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge, the Pine River, Hays Inlet, Caboolture River and the Redcliffe foreshore. Bream take a variety of baits, but if I had to recommend one bait only locally it would be fresh mullet fillets cut into strips. It can withstand the attention of smaller fish and attract the larger models.

Beach Fishing

If you are visiting Moreton Island, April is a great month to be targeting swallowtail dart. The northern beaches of the island between Comboyuro Point and Yellowpatch are good in a strong southern easterly this time of year. When conditions are right, the surf beach will also produce plenty of fish. The trick to getting good quality swallowtail dart is to make sure you are casting and holding out far enough where the larger fish congregate. If you are wearing a good pair of polaroids, under bright conditions you should be easily able to see the schools of swallowtail dart as they are distinctive. Yabbies are the number one bait for them. Eugaries, beach worms or peeled prawns will produce some fish as well. Mixed in with the swallowtail dart, will be tarwhine, bream and sand whiting.

Prawning

April is a good month to be targeting banana prawns with cast nets. Banana prawns are in large schools in autumn as they undertake their spawning migration from the upstream areas of rivers and creeks into Moreton Bay itself. Good catches have been coming from most of the usual haunts throughout Moreton Bay. Look for the concentration of boats and you will find them, or use your sounder to find them yourself.

Crabbing

Unless there is significant rain, mud crabbing will taper off in April but those who want to set pots are likely to still scratch up a feed. April can be a fantastic month locally in Bramble and Deception Bays for blue swimmer crabs. Those who want a feed should get out their and chase them. Make sure you label your crab pots properly and the pots are of a sufficient design and weight to stay put in any current. I find the extra money for good quality pots is well spent in terms of catch rate.

Offshore

Depredation by sharks continues to be an ongoing problem for offshore anglers. Recent reports by experienced local offshore fishers also suggest that green sea toads are causing issues. With their impressive set of choppers, they are adept at biting through most traces. Offshore anglers are hoping they move on sooner rather than later. When offshore anglers are getting a decent opportunity, snapper, pearl perch, teraglin and venus tusk fish are the main species being caught.

Dusky flathead will become more common locally as they return from their spawning migration.

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