Mac into Summer
  |  First Published: December 2010

The summer months on the Sunshine Coast have bought with them good numbers of bait schools and with them plenty of tuna and mackerel ready to take a lure. The season started off well and now the action has intensified to a hot bite from Mooloolaba to Caloundra.

Apart from mackerel other pelagics such as mahi mahi, wahoo, amberjack, cobia, sailfish and smaller marlin have all been taken outside and when they are quiet you can always turn to any number of reef species that will take a bait or lure.

The Barwon Banks, 40km east of Mooloolaba, has been on fire lately with parrot, cod, hussar, sweetlip, red throat emperor, morwong, iodine bream and pearl perch all being taken around the many pinnacles and wire weed patches that make up the area.

For those who don’t mind a little more travel, a further 12km northeast will see you at the bottom of the Hards. This is a spot you will need to try before you decide to take a fishing trip somewhere else in Australia. Depths in the area range from 27m right through to 150m; on average, it’s most productive if you fish around the 80m mark.

Wide Caloundra has also seen a great run of fish with mahi mahi and mackerel both being taken along with some big cobia. There are so many species around that will nail a floating bait that it is really most days you won’t miss out.

The closer systems such as Murphys, Chardons, Gneerings and Caloundra 5 & 7 mile reefs are worth a shot in the early morning or heading in to the evenings. Run-in tides right on dusk have been producing hot bites recently with all sorts of reefies come on the chew.

Trolling for mackerel around the Caloundra 7 & 12 mile reefs is coming into full swing with plenty of boaties taking advantage of the days of good weather.

Start your run around Currimundi if you don’t want to head out too far and work towards Brays Rock up around the beacons and out.

Watching your sounder closely this time of year is important as it is a matter of getting your lures or baits down to where the fish are.

Downriggers are a handy piece of equipment but if you don’t have them then use a running bean sinker on your line to get down or try the living lip lure that enables you to connect a live or dead bait and troll it naturally.

Working around the blinker, which is approximately 9km east of Mooloolaba harbour, is also a handy spot to target for mackerel, cobia and kingfish. Bait schools are sometimes caught hanging around the buoy, which in turn attract the pelagics.

Old Womens Island is also worth the trip and in unsure seas it is a close attraction for all sorts of fish, particularly kingfish and mackerel.

Large schools of mac tuna can be seen on a regular basis smashing the schools of bait. All you need to hook up onto one of these terrific fighters is to cast a chrome slug, between 15-40g, right in the middle of them or on the running side and you will be in for a fight.

I recently enjoyed a top day out around Murphys Reef. I spotted what I thought was five mackerel cruising along the surface so I threw the boat into neutral, jumped over the esky and grabbed my spin stick, which was rigged with a 25g slug, cast it out back behind the boat and nailed a 6.7kg mac tuna – what a fight on light spin gear.

Opportunities like this are available right throughout summer on the Sunshine Coast so if you are not sure what to do head down to your local tackle store and ask some questions.

Be sure to send me a picture of any catches so that I can get them into the magazine.

The estuaries as you would expect this time of year are full of hungry trevally and queenfish. Both species are taking everything from live pike and big herring to a 7” soft plastic.

Flathead have probably been the most consistent catch this year particularly around Pumicestone Passage.

While the whiting have been around, they have also been difficult to find in great numbers – but I figure that this can only make us better anglers.

Bream are still around making great sport for the kids particularly around holiday time. The Boardwalk in Caloundra will soon be packed with holidaymakers looking to land a big one and there will be plenty of chances for that.

Soft plastics such as small paddletails or squidgies will work well this month around the bridges pontoons and jetties; just ask around to find out what colour is working best.

Target the sand bars around the Esplanade on Golden Beach for the bread and butter varieties and if the kids get sick of fishing then they can have a swim. Remember the most important thing is to fish early morning or late evening when things have settled down from the hustle and bustle of the day’s activities.

The Blue Hole would be my choice in the morning or evening for bream, flathead and trevally. Sit off the channel on the western edge of the sand bar and let your bait travel slightly in the current for best results.

Slow retrieves on small hardbodied lures or soft plastics will always take a mangrove jack particularly within Currimundi Lake and the canals of Pelican Waters. They have really come on lately with some huge fish reaching over 3kg.

If you can get it use live bait such as poddy mullet or prawns in the first instance or try what the aforementioned artificials. The beaches of course will be packed but are worth a cast for dart, bream, mackerel and whiting with the top of the tide being the pick of times.

This is going to be a ripper summer for pelagics so make it your goal to catch just one new species this year so that you can enjoy some bragging rights.

Have a great Christmas, a safe and happy holidays, and a Happy New Year to you all.

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