Cooler months creep closer
  |  First Published: May 2011

Cooler days are just around the corner and all of our thoughts are on the upcoming winter season, which by all counts is set to be a cracker.

There are loads of quality snapper, grass sweetlip, red throat emperor, morwong, pearl perch, iodine bream, cod and red emperor around on the reefs at the moment and this will carry through the next few months. Anglers have picked up plenty of table quality fish on the Inner and Outer Gneerings, Mooloolaba blinker and surrounding reefs.

Fishing the closer reefs means less travelling and big savings on fuel, especially when it is another 40km out to the Barwon Banks before you even get a line wet. The price of fuel will play a big role on what happens with the fishing over the coming months; you will need to fish smart and hopefully these suggestions will help.

When fishing the close in reefs look to the peak tide times in the morning or evening to fish. In particular fish the areas if you have a tide change at either dawn or dusk or one hour either side of the peak or low of the tide. Normally I would fish Murphys Reef by leaving Mooloolaba harbour at around 4pm, fish outside until 6.30pm and return home with some nice fish in the esky.

Alternatively if the tide is better in the morning then I would depart by 4.30am and return by 8am with a feed. Normally fishing an in between tide is nowhere near as successful as what was just mentioned. As long as you adjust your times then there will always be at least five days in any month that will be perfect for fishing depending on what the weather will allow.

If you go out every chance you can then you will find that some days are good, others are just simply dead or you may have to travel a long way to get a feed. This is simply because all the elements do not add up to the best bite periods.

It is okay when you have the choice to fish either pelagics or reefies during the January to April period around here but when it is mostly the reefies on the chew you need to target them well. Planning your trip is an important aspect of fishing, as is keeping a record of what happens on every trip.

It can be hard to get into the habit of keeping a fishing diary, but consider how many times have you said “time is flying, where has the year gone?” Now imagine if you had started your dairy last year, you would now have at least 15-20 entries in it to compare with the year ahead. So it pays to get a dairy started now. If you could not be bothered then at least purchase a tide and fishing almanac book. These will give you an insight into the best days of every month to fish with the best results all going well.

Once you are set to fish then it is just a matter of working out the species you wish to target and heading out to the spots in your dairy that have produced the fish you are after.

Offshore reefs such as Wide Caloundra, Barwon Banks and the 12 Mile are all a great option for those that want that extra challenge over the coming months. The bigger snapper will be best fished around the 80m+ marks unless you are prepared to put in the time on the closer reefs. Fish the deeper drop-offs on the opposite side of the tidal run late into the evening for those fish that are cruising around looking for a feed.

The estuaries should be productive as the bigger bream are slowly making their way into the Pumicestone Passage and the Maroochy River. Flathead are still around in good numbers and worth flicking a soft plastic or baiting a fresh mullet or herring to entice. A lot of people are getting bitten off in the passage at the moment and the likely culprits are chopper tailor. Whiting are slowing but the winter varieties will soon be around in numbers so hold on, as things will improve.

Work the Blue Hole in the evenings for quality bream or the eddies around Happy Valley for both bream and flathead. Military Jetty and the weed beds around the Powerboat Club in Caloundra are top spots to target flathead and whiting so put on some shoes and take a walk at low tide. The northern tip of Bribie Island is another good spot to chase bream and whiting and while you are there try around the corner on the surf beach.

The rocks around Kings and Shelly beaches are terrific spots to try for the bread and butter varieties and as the weather gets cooler the bigger tailor will come on in numbers. It is also not unusual to catch snapper and sweetlip off them on low tides.

Mulloway are best targeted in the deeper drop-offs of the passage and Maroochy River system in particular around the Cod Hole in the evenings. Work the canal areas around Kawana and Pelican Waters for trevally and queenfish and if you want to get up early, a session on tarpon is the right ticket.

Overall May is a great month for anglers and plenty of big Spaniards will be starting to show their power. The reef species will come on in big numbers so get out there and start to have some fun.

The past month on the Sunshine Coast has been one of interest with the new temporary closures being debated within the fishing arena. These closures are ridiculous when you consider that nothing is going to come from them and in the long term we will know nothing more about the true state of our fisheries than the government claims they do now. Surely common sense and good eco management will come into play here. Overall this only serves to prove that this current government is prepared to do anything to keep the greens on side. It’s a shame that we are the ones that will wear the outcomes of these intolerable lies.

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