Summer Shines on Reefs
  |  First Published: November 2010

November is a great month to wet a line in the Noosa district. The rivers and creeks have warmed up significantly from the cooler months and their activity will increase. Reef anglers will be enjoying the warmer dawn starts and the impoundments will hopefully be firing with big bass and saratoga on the chew.

The offshore scene has delivered mixed results, but most regulars have been able to secure a feed. The snapper season was a bit of a fizzer with water temperatures considered too high to bring the snapper inshore in numbers. A few quality fish have been caught at North and Sunshine reefs, both at anchor and on the drift.

While the snapper have been scarce around the inner reefs, the wider locations such as the Hards and the Barwon Banks have delivered some great fish up to 8kg, along with amberjack, quality pearl perch, cobia, scarlet sea perch and a few red emperor for the really lucky anglers.

On these wider reefs big baits often deliver big fish, so don’t skimp on half pillies and similar if you have gone to the trouble and expense of getting out there. Sure, half pillies will deliver a feed, but if you want to tangle with serious fish you might just need a serious bait on a serious, and extra strong hook.

For most of us it is a continual search for fish at the closer and obviously more easily accessible locations, such as the vast North and Sunshine reefs, with plenty of marks to suss out on every adventure. Sometimes it can be a case of continual relocations to find active fish, on other occasions a trickle of berley will bring the fish on and of course dreams do come true when you luck upon a patch of hungry fish and the action can be chaotic.

In recent months I have been drilled into the reef on several occasions by large and unidentified monsters of the deep, mostly due to inattention to detail, particularly line and reel. On one particular occasion, I was on Sunshine Reef and the crew had managed a meagre but acceptable haul of sweetlip, tuskies and pearl perch. My pilchard bait was slammed hard and the foe drilled me into the reef busting me off in the process. While I might not have had a great chance anyway, I found that the line buried itself deep into the reel resulting in an involuntary lock up and a lost fish. My loss and my fault. The reel is now tightly reloaded with new braid...

Offshore anglers should have a ball throughout November. There will be options aplenty and reefs galore to prospect on. There will still be a few lingering snapper about, which by and large are a year round target anyway. Other ice box fillers will be cobia, job fish, scarlet sea perch, pearlies, tuskies, sweetlip, mahi mahi, kings and possibly coral trout.

There is a good chance that some early spotted mackerel will be around during November and if we see a mackerel season similar to the last we will be busy!

The Noosa River will also be fishing well this month. The warmer water will bring the rampant jacks into play as well as big flathead and jewfish. The usual bream and whiting will be around in numbers too.

Mangrove jack are best targeted around structure – be it man-made or naturally occurring. Stealth is a big factor when chasing shallow water jacks, as is correct bait or lure presentation. Deeper water fish and those hiding in rock bars or riverside snags are less spooky and can be tempted with well placed lures that land very close to the structure. Live baits drifted into the same structure will also bring jacks undone, and there is a very real chance of by-catch such as jew, barra or even a big threadfin sambo.

The flathead will more than likely be widespread throughout the system, however it is probable that there will also be scattered concentrations in the lower reaches. Often these groups will be comprised of a large henfish or two with a great mob of willing males nearby.

If you do happen to find a concentration of flathead please release the larger fish as they will be pre spawn hens almost ready to go. Keep a couple of smaller male fish around 50cm as they are less important to the longevity of the species.

For those that prefer a feed of succulent whiting the shallow yabby banks on the northern side of the river, particularly in the lower reaches, will deliver the goods. Live yabbies and live prawns are the gun baits for whiting. It will be best to fish areas with continual water movement.

Goat Island and the shallows just past Makepeace Island are very much worth a look for whiting. Flathead, bream and other species will be also present in these areas.

For anlgers that enjoy the aerial antics of tarpon these fish can often be found in Kin Kin Creek and occasionally in big schools in between lakes Cooroibah and Cootharabah. Tarpon are a great fly target, however long casts are sometimes required so get some practice in down at the oval so you are ready!

A slab of smelly tarpon is a great jack bait so drift one into a leafy snag on a warm evening and hang on tight.

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