Brisbane and Moreton Bay Fishing – An Introduction

When the general populous of Brisvegas decide to go fishing for the weekend they don’t have to travel far to find some of the best fishing on the east coast of Australia.

Moreton Bay is bounded by Moreton Island, North and South Stradbroke Island. The bays limits encompass the northern areas of Bribie Island (including Pumicestone Passage) across to Moreton Island and down toward Jumpinpin in the south. The Stradbroke Islands, particularly South Stradbroke shelter a large semi-estuarine area dotted with mangrove islands, bays, inlets and creeks called Jumpinpin. The focus of this book is on the accessible fishing grounds from Wellington Point south of Brisbane toward Donnybrook in the Pumicestone Passage north of Brisbane.

The massively fertile grounds of Moreton Bay offer a plethora of fishing opportunities. During the cold winter months the bay delivers bream and winter whiting around the estuaries and shallows, tailor from the beaches and tasty snapper and squire around the bay reefs and offshore waters. As warm summer currents penetrate the bay pelagic species such as spotty And Spanish mackerel move into the bay and the game fisherman begin to target marlin and sailfish off the islands.

The Pumicestone Passage’s 30 kilometres of winding and shallow passageways offer an excellent environment for the bread and butter species of bream whiting and flathead. Mangrove jack are also pursued in the creeks shooting off from the main passage, Coochin Creek is a good option. As the passage opens up to the bay there are good opportunities to expand the target species on offer. Jew can be caught around the bridge, and squire and grass sweetlip are targeted in the deeper sections of the lower passage, and around features such as Cook’s Rocks.

The rocky reefs around Castlereagh Point at Scarborough are renowned for big bream, squire, and grass sweetlip. Much of the foreshore around the Redcliffe Peninsula is excellent for whiting from the beaches, such as Margate and Sutton, but the rock outcrops also provide good opportunities for a feed of bream also. The Pine River also remains quite productive, from Dholes Rocks for bream to the old Hornibrook Highway. The old bridge fishes best at night for bream, whiting, flathead and the odd mulloway. The Brisbane River is an excellent bream fishery and has been also known for good catches of squire around the mouth. Mulloway are also taken around the prominent bridges at night. The Gateway has produced many a good mulloway. In terms of choice, Brisbane and Moreton Bay offers everything the keen angler could want.

The offshore reefs can be hard to access. The reefs that extend from the tip of Cape Moreton (Flinders Reef and Hutchinson Shoal) south toward the Tempest reefs are a fair drive across the exposed northern bay. The reefs accessed via the South Passage Bar on the southern end of Moreton Island and North Stradbroke are also protected by the temperament of the bar itself. The South Passage Bar can be very dangerous as it has a myriad of channels and banks that are treacherous when there is big swell about. Local knowledge is essential. However, the accessibility of the reefs ensures there is always a good feed on offer when conditions permit.

Don’t forget the islands themselves. The beach fishing on both Moreton and Straddie is exceptional. Tailor, whiting, jew, dart and flathead are all available here. If the surf is not to your forte, fish the western beaches or the southern tip of the Island around Reeders Point. The inside calmer waters are particularly good for chasing flathead, notably the shallow tidal bays and timbered areas that provide feature and cover. The timbered foreshores are favourite bream haunts in winter. Chopper tailor, whiting and dart can also be caught on the western beaches around protruding sand spits such as Comboyuro Point and spots like Tailor Bight. Most anglers travel to Moreton for tailor in winter and whiting in the summer on the eastern beach. The eastern beaches here form some of the best gutters for surf.

Fishing image from River to Reef bookDeep holes for jew and tailor, to top low tide gutters for whiting and dart. Bait is plentiful with heaps of pipi banks and beach worms on offer.

Even if you don’t have a 4WD or a boat to explore the offshore islands and reefs the greater Brisbane foreshore offers plenty of fishing. The land based angler can choose amongst the many jetties, rock walls and small beaches to target bread and butter species such as whiting, bream and flathead. The Redcliffe peninsula (and areas south such as Shorncliffe and Sandgate) is one of those places that can give the land-based angler a good day out. From sandy beaches like Suttons down towards Woody Point, the rock wall at Sandgate, the Hornibrook Highway platform crossing the Pine River and Hayes Inlet, and well known jetties such as the Redcliffe, Woody Point and Shorncliffe Jetty, they all provide an excellent day out.

As a kid I used to troll Scarborough Reef with my grandfather for thumper tailor, drift the local inshore reefs for snapper, head down to Nudgee Beach on a regular basis for some whiting and bream. It doesn’t matter what you are after or what your limits are, Brisbane has some great areas to wet a line.


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Moreton Bay Fish Species


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