Change of seasons
  |  First Published: November 2010

Traditionally November is our time to change over from the prolific winter reef species to the hard hitting pelagics like mackerel, wahoo, mahi mahi, cobia, sailfish and marlin.

Early signs indicate the fish have started to hit early this year and already we have had many reports of big cobia, spotty and Spanish mackerel and sailfish being caught outside. Wide Caloundra is still the place to fish for the pearl perch and parrot with other species making up the numbers.

Floating a live bait or a large pilchard out the back of the boat while anchored is a great idea to hook up on one of the many pelagics out around the features of the Barwon Banks right through to the top of the Hards. We had a great season on trag jew and snapper on the Banks.

Emperor, particularly red throats, are everywhere along with grassy sweetlip and long nose emperor. Fishing around the three sisters mid-Banks is the spot to get plenty of reef species and you never know what will take a live bait around this area.

The 85s are worth anchoring on and spending a good session with plenty of berley. If you are equipped for it, spend an evening or overnight session around these waters.

The rocks that run along the southern end of the banks are also a good target area for this month particularly early morning or evening sessions. It is a shallow area starting at around 40m and dropping down to 80m as you progress east.

This area holds a lot of features and is very rocky on the bottom, which generally costs you a packet load of gear if you do a lot of drifting

When I fish this area I adjust my paternoster rigs to have a long distance from sinker to the bottom hook so that if I get caught up, I can normally save the hooks. The rocks hold sweetlip, parrot, hussar, iodine bream, emperor, snapper and pearlies and any number of big predators.

The inner reefs around Caloundra are slow with the exception of mackerel at the moment. so fish them in the evening as the sun sets for best results. Murphys Reef has a lot of smaller fish around at the moment so look around hard before choosing your spot to anchor.

Test out your mackerel lures at the Inner and Outer Gneerings. Trolling around the shallow shelf on the Gneering Shoals will be particularly productive. The mackerel of course will be chasing any surface activity that is around so target the bait schools and tuna spurts for best results.

Trolling just outside of Point Cartwright at Mooloolaba will reward you with mackerel and with the number of spotties around at present you will be hard pressed to miss out. Remember to use smaller lures to target the mackerel; don’t always think big chunky lures mean big fish!

Slow down your trolling speed to 3-6 knots and set a spread of smaller deep or shallow diving lures. Use downriggers to set some lures to the depth of the bait and troll around them until you get hit.

The rock wall around Mooloolaba can be fished for mackerel out off the northern tip. Rig a rod for large predators in the evening while you fish for chunky bream close into the rock wall.

Monster flathead cruise around the eddies waiting to ambush anything that swims past so if you can get live baits then use them.

Target bream around the pontoons and jetties within the harbour, particularly around the trawlers and long liners. The monster trevally will keep you amused if the bream are quiet.

Fresh squid are a gun bait around the area and the squid can be caught within metres of where you can fish.

The Pumicestone Passage has big flathead, bream, whiting and tarwhine to target at anytime of the day. The early morning period is the best time to target the trevally and queenies on poppers particularly around the Military Jetty and the Pelican Waters Bridge.

If the bait schools are being smashed then it’s a good time to start casting poppers. Shallow diving hardbodied lures are also a good option, particularly Yo-Zuri minnow floaters. These lures have a lot of flash and roll that excite the predators and make them smash the lures.

Fish fresh herring on a small two gang hook and target flathead around the deeper channels. If they are available try whiting fillets as an alternative to the herring as flathead like them both.

Mangrove jack are this months target as they will really start to fire. Currimundi Lake, the bridges at Kawana and the rock walls around Kawana Island are great spots to target them.

Jacks are best targeted just on dawn with well presented, small hardbodied lures, blades and soft plastics.

Live bait such as herring and hardiheads will make great bait for bream and flathead this month.

Poppers in the early hours of the morning should be used to target big trevally and queenies, which will normally congregate around the bridges and pontoons in search of the bait.

Quite often you will see them herd the bait schools down the canals up against a wall until there is nowhere for them to go and then smash them hard. This is the place to be with your lures to nail the big ones that cruise around these areas constantly.

Whiting can be taken around the weed beds within Pumicestone Passage, so it is basically a matter of finding the weed, casting bait just around the edges, and then commence a slow retrieve.

The deeper channels will be the place to try live baits this month particularly pike, large herring and poddy mullet. Large lizards will be around and open to fresh baits and lures so choose your spots well.

The Caloundra Bar on the change of the tide will be worth of a fish in the mornings, particularly for pelagics. Fish around Brays Rock and Currimundi for mackerel this month and don’t forget to tackle some cobia and mahi mahi.

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