Cool Climate, Hot Catches
  |  First Published: June 2011

The Sunshine Coast like the rest of Queensland has seen its fair share of wet and windy weather so far this year, which has hampered fishing for long periods at a time. The good news is that when the weather has permitted the fishing has run hot and this season we have witnessed some extraordinary events across the reef systems.

One of those events is the huge number of small or baby pearl perch, hussar and squire that for a short period made it near impossible to get down to the bigger fish. It was fantastic for those that love to hook up and hold on to a big amberjack, which are cruising around looking for a cheap feed on the closer reefs such as Murphys, Halls, Caloundra 5 and 7 Mile and the Inner and Outer Gneerings.

The winter months have truly settled in now and the traditional runs of quality snapper and sweetlip have seen plenty of anglers locked in heavy battles. Pearl perch have been around in good numbers at Wide Caloundra and further south from the tip of Moreton Island. The Barwon Banks around the northern part, which is close to the bottom of the Hards, has produced some big snapper between 5-7kg on a consistent basis and the same can be said for pearl perch.

The larger predators like amberjack, Spanish mackerel and cobia can still be caught around the deeper areas and on the shallow reefs that are holding the best bait fish.

Currimundi Reef has big bream well over the kilo mark and a stack of rainbow runners that are always first to every bait dropped down. Brays Rock is the spot for a quick run out to get a feed but remember all the safety gear you need to have on board to avoid a fine. Murphys around the gravel patches will fish well for bigger snapper into the evening and as the sun goes down you will catch plenty of grassy sweetlip, red throat emperor, iodine bream, pearlies and snapper.

Good Moses perch are available later in the afternoon or early mornings and normally we get a good feed of them along with parrot when drifting on paternoster rigs. Old Womens Island will be the spot on the full and new moons to get your supplies of squid and don’t forget to have a baited line down to pick up any reefies.

Float lining down the berley trail is now one of the better methods to employ when targeted big snapper. A snood or ganged rig using live baits such as yakkas or slimies will prove to be killers over the next couple of months. I will normally use a 40lb trace around 2-4m in length with a running ball sinker with just enough weight to make the bait sink naturally with the berley.

Baitrunner fishing reels, either spin or overhead versions really come into their own with this method because you can allow the bigger fish time to swallow the bait before striking and setting the hooks hard. Free spooling normal spin reels can work, however the baitrunners have the advantage of a separate soft drag that stops the line from stripping off in any current.

The Pumicestone Passage is alive with bream and winter whiting and for some lucky anglers an odd squire or two. The boardwalk in Caloundra is one of the best evening spots to pick up mulloway in the deep channel on live mullet or quality bream that are lapping up live prawns. Yabbies have been the consistent bait for the whiting and around the shallow banks on the eastern side of Gemini Towers is a good spot to start. There is plenty of live bait about such as herring, hardiheads and mullet so there is know excuse not to be presenting livies for best results.

Fish the channel areas from the boardwalk through to Military Jetty for tailor, mulloway, bream and flathead and around the rocks at Pelican Waters toss a soft plastic or blade for good size bream.

It is worth spending quality time with the kids or your mates getting some live prawns within the mangrove and weed areas of the passage. If you don’t have a boat then give the weed beds around the channel end of Bells Creek a go as often there are tiger prawns deep in the weed beds.

You can also work your way around the southern arm of Bells Creek but remember the silt is very thick and it is easy to sink down to your knees. One of the smartest methods is to use a kayak or drag a surf board along so that the nets and buckets can get through easily. The same area holds many bait fish and plenty of yabbie patches so go prepared.

Further south around Coochin Creek there are plenty of opportunities for quality whiting, particularly just on the drop-offs around the channel markers. The making tide is the better time to target them around this area and if it is bream you want then work the Blue Hole and the deep channel that runs down towards the Boardwalk. Flathead often frequent this area waiting to ambush poddy mullet on the flats. Soft plastics like the DOA Prawns or 4” jerk shads work a treat, and if you want me to commit to my favourite colour it is either pink or turtleback which I have most of my success on. For hardbodied users any of the blades or Flatzrat2 series will work a treat, but if you are out in the channels then try the new Balista Cyclone LED lure range. They worked well on a number of occasions around the mouth of the Caloundra Bar and the rocks at Happy Valley.

Chopper tailor are still taking baits and busting off lines and there are still a few trevally within the system. The mulloway are nailing big poddy mullet or large green prawns in the main channel leading out to the bar area. You will have to put in the time and be prepared to fish well into the night to get on to the real prize winners.

The month ahead is a great time to be fishing for big green back tailor along the beaches of Teewah, Noosa North Shore and the Wurtulla Strip. The estuaries will see bigger bream coming on, and offshore we will get nailed by big amberjack as we land pearl perch and plenty of thumper snapper. So get your line wet and have fun!

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