Exception fishing tames winter woes
  |  First Published: July 2011

As the beautiful Noosa district settled into its relatively short and tame winter, we saw some exceptional fishing right across the board.

Offshore some spectacular kingfish, serious Spaniards, and the usual collection of tasty bottom dwellers were the stars of the show. In the river some extra large flathead, bream, trevally and the first of the luderick provided lots of outdoor fun and a feed as well.

Kingfish aren’t particularly common along the Sunshine Coast and anglers generally need to head out to the Barwon banks to find these brutish, and very tasty fish.

The crew from Fishing Offshore Noosa have put plenty of punters onto kings. If you want to have a crack at these great competitors give them a call to organise a full day charter out to the Banks; almost anything can happen out there.

The mackerel have certainly slowed down and to be honest it was a sporadic pelagic season at best. Some days there were mackerel and tuna everywhere and others they were impossible to find, even with a spotter on the hill.

As the weather has cooled, the mackerel have been harder to tempt with these previous floated baits of a pillie or gar or even a live bait under a balloon. I’m not suggesting that there are no mackerel left to chase, but there is no doubt that they have thinned out considerably. You could say trollers have had to go the extra mile.

Mac tuna and northern blues made regular appearances along the coast, particularly along the Halls Reef stretch. But lots of hooked tuna were lost to the plentiful sharks that were also in attendance on the reefs.

The Lacey boys managed to dodge the sharks and caught plenty of barrel shaped tuna, some well into the upper limits that these fish reach. Practically all of their catch was released. Mac tuna aren’t much good on the plate, but they are great bait for reef fish. Northern blues however are great tucker if they are treated with some care on the boat and prepared well.

Bottom fishing has really kicked into gear and local Jonathon McBain has at last caught some respectable fish. After years of trying very hard indeed he arrived back at the ramp with some quality snapper and sweetlip. Well done, Jonathon. Your fishing mates all hope your recent success continues.

Snapper, sweetlip, trout, tuskfish and a whole host of other reef dwellers have been relatively easy to catch, however parrotfish have been noticeably absent from most catch lists.

On a recent sunset session there was a very succinct bite as soon as the sun set; every bait sent down was belted immediately, but it didn’t last too long. Dropping a big fish mid fight, as one companion managed to do, can also shut the bite down.

Nonetheless, evening trips are very much worth the trouble, particularly when there is some moon to assist with the inbound bar crossing. Don’t forget to communicate with the fabulous Coast Guard folks prior to crossing the bar in both directions as well as advising your safe arrival on the other side.

The Noosa River has seen quality flathead, plenty of small jewfish, bream, surface trevally and luderick down at the rock wall near the river mouth.

Trevally are aggressive fish and they have been keen at dawn and occasionally at dusk in the lower reaches of the river. They will aggressively smash surface offerings like poppers and walk the dog style lures, as well as prawn imitation lures. Live baits never last long if there are trevally about and there are often tailor not far away.

Rock fishing is something that I have not bothered with for some years; these days stepping into a boat is a much more attractive option. There are some very good platforms around Noosa though that are well worth the attention of any hopeful rock hopper.

Chris Lacey would be the most versatile angler I have ever come across and he is now coming up with impressive catches from the Noosa National Park stones. A jewfish microscopically close to 1m on a large bonito strip bait is the latest of an impressive list that anyone would be proud of.

July will be an exceptional month to don the beanie, put on some tracky dacks and head offshore to chase snapper. Pearl perch are another great winter option and extremely hard to beat as a food fish.

Dawn runs will be the go and it’s a fair bet that Sunshine Reef and North Reef will see plenty of visitors. Here’s hoping for a cracker snapper season.

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