Option Up for Summer
  |  First Published: December 2010

The year once again is drawing to a close. I doubt that there would be one reader, or writer for that matter, that wouldn’t have missed a few opportunities this year. I am very good at missing opportunities, and in many cases I don’t even realise they are there until I recall the event later!

December is a fabulous period around Noosa. Sure, it is party time, the tourists are here en masse, parking is at a premium, but hey, it’s Noosa and we really do have to share it. Every retailer benefits from the holidays and so they should. Open seven days a week, early starts, coping with difficult clients and the like. Let’s support our local retailers this Christmas, in particular the smaller independent operators.

For those lucky enough to be holidaying in the beautiful Noosa region, there are fishing opportunities galore. While the river will be a busy place, the boat ramps in particular, dawn starts will produce the goods. Fishing late into the night is an alternative option. It will be a fair bet that those anglers that sleep in, as you do on holidays, start late and then finish early to make up for it, will do it tough.

There will be boats of every imaginable shape and size in the lower reaches of the river. The peak season speed limit changes will be in force, and they will be enforced by the local Boating and Fishing Patrol as well as the floating constabulary. So be warned, do the right thing or have your holiday soured somewhat by possibly hefty fines.

Flathead are a year round proposition in the Noosa River and its incumbent lakes. These tasty fish will respond to trolled minnow lures, cast soft plastics and of course most baits. Moving around is a good way to locate fish, and trolling is the most productive way to do this. Drifting with small pilchards on appropriately sized gangs will also bring flathead, and other species undone.

Bream are also a year round proposition and they can be effectively targeted in the lower reaches. The Frying Pan area, adjacent to the river mouth is very much worth a try. Small amounts of berley delivered regularly will keep the fish interested and nearby. It can be worth fishing the deeper sections of river during daylight and trying shallower areas as night closes in and the fish lose their daylight sensitivities and forage for tucker.

Mangrove jack are often caught as bycatch, however, they can be successfully targeted by lure casting at the myriad bankside snags in between the two major lakes. Drifting a live bait into these snags will also attract the attention of jacks. Rock bars and man-made structure will also harbour jacks during the warmer months.

Jacks are a favoured target of many locals and regular visitors. They are hard hitting and hard fighting fish that generally ambush their prey. Indeed, many anglers feel ambushed after a jack smashes their offering and bricks them in seconds. Hang on tight and be ready. Jacks will expose any weaknesses in your equipment, knots in particular.

Other species of interest in the river are the humble whiting. These delicious fish will respond best to baits of live prawns or nippers. Once again the Frying Pan area is a great start for those chasing whiting.

There are occasional catches of monster threadfin salmon and barramundi in the area as well, so it pays to tie good knots and use quality equipment.

Offshore the options are endless. There are vast reef systems close to the Noosa River mouth. The two largest are North Reef and Sunshine Reef. Both are fished pretty hard year round and both areas deliver some excellent fish.

Snapper are another year round target off Noosa, however, they are more common during the cooler months. By December there should be some pelagic activity happening and this means mackerel and tuna. Last mackerel season was excellent with big catches of spotties and the occasional thumping big Spanish mackerel and serious wahoo just to keep us all interested. Big schools of tuna will be moving into the area also with northern blues, or longtails as they are commonly known. Trolling, cubing and casting slugs into surface feeding frenzies will bring mackerel and tuna to the boat.

Trolling pilchards is a great tactic as well and when the fish are thick simply drifting with ganged unweighted pillies will do the trick, with double and triple hook-ups common. Make sure you stay within the law. If unsure consult a tackle store or the Boating and Fisheries Patrol office at Munna Point.

Bottom bashers will enjoy a large range of fish throughout the holiday period. Red emperor and coral trout are the prize catches, however, pearl perch, sweetlip, squire, Venus tusk fish and various cod species are far more common. All are great tucker, so if you keep a few fish for a feed bleed them well on capture and keep them on ice.

Mahi mahi are another great option during the warmer months off Noosa. They are often caught by bait anglers and all hell can break loose when a big ‘dolly’ is hooked. I have seen them sight cast to when they follow a berley trail right to the boat. They can make for a most memorable experience, and a great feed as well.

In the sweetwater bass and saratoga will be worth chasing at Cooroy’s Lake Macdonald and Borumba Dam up at Imbil. Both dams also hold significant numbers of golden and silver perch as well as Mary River Cod.

Enjoy the holiday period and stay safe on the water. Merry Christmas, and many thanks to all the local fishos that keep me up-to-date with their reports and photos.

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