Bonito in the Bay

Bonito in the Bay

A family wedding meant that Sharon, the kids, and I boarded a plane and headed to Brisbane. Nick picked us up from the airport and, much to my wife’s dismay, immediately started discussing the day’s fishing plans. We dropped the family off at Nick’s place, had a quick cup of coffee, hitched up the boat, and headed for Moreton Bay.

Conditions on the bay were near perfect – well, for us humans. A warm autumn day with sunny, blue skies and not a breath of wind. The water looked like glass as we skimmed across, it heading for some structure between Peel Island and North Stradbroke.

We started the day with some bottom fishing, using squid and pilchards as bait. Fishing was tough due to the strong current and the abundance of rats and mice. Perhaps tough is the wrong word, since within seconds of your bait hitting the bottom it was being picked at by multiple fish, something not many people would complain about. We both managed a few hook ups, but nothing substantial came out, other than a small rockcod (picked up by Nick) that was a little more interesting as it had been tagged.

Itching for bigger fish we headed for the water between Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island. We dead drifted close to the breakers, dragging baits along the bottom while chucking spoons at the slightest ripple. Sadly nothing came of this and soon we found ourselves wondering if the conditions were just a little too good. On the up side we did get to see a lovely dugong pottering around in search of sea grass.

By this stage it was midday and we needed to freshen up. This involved a quick stop on Moreton Island for a toilet break, followed by a failed attempt to swim with a turtle, and an ice cold beer. 

Feeling rejuvenated we headed back out. After a complex half an hour creeping over the sand banks (enjoying the abundance of starfish and rays lurking in the shallows) we found some deeper water. Almost immediately we spotted the thing we’d been looking for all day – absolute pandemonium! The water began to boil as a shoal of mackerel smashed into a school of baitfish. 

We ripped our rods from the holders and tossed our spoons into the feeding frenzy. Immediately a large fish picked up my lure, but sadly I was broken off. This gave Nick the freedom to let out a large, “BWAHAAHAAAAA!!!” as he landed a decent sized mackerel, while I was left sprawled on the deck, frantically tying on another lure. Thankfully the tables turned and soon I was landing fish (leaping bonito) while Nick dug through the tackle box in search of any remaining spoons.

Eventually the fish went off the boil and, rather than being greedy, we decided to call it a day and headed home to our families and a fresh bottle of rum. 

Warren with two small bonito caught on spoon in Moreton Bay