The winter species are nearly at an end for another year on the Sunshine Coast, but we will soon be enjoying a host of other reef and pelagic species as the weather warms.
This past season has been really enjoyable and I have done a lot more fishing this season than the past few. The weather has held together for more than a week in periods giving us a real crack at testing our abilities on a multitude of species.
In particular the snapper and pearl perch have garnered a lot of smiles for anglers from Noosa through to Caloundra. For those anglers who live to catch amberjack and cobia the season has provided plenty of non-stop action.
Out wider teraglin have been plentiful and in some cases making it to the baits before the snapper even get a chance. Wide Caloundra has been one of the most consistent areas to fish and when the weather allows boats to make the trip they are well rewarded.
Over the seasons I have noticed a very clear pattern in the way the reef species gather around certain reefs and a much better understanding of pelagic movements during the winter period. This information has been the result of regular diary entries following every fishing trip I participate in.
On many occasions while writing for QFM I have mentioned the need to keep records, even if you only fish a handful of times offshore each year.
Since my last report I have had many emails asking what I include in my diary entries. It’s simple really: as much information as possible. Most of us can’t remember what we did yesterday let alone last season, so every scrap of info and tactics should appear on your entry to remind you when the time comes. (See fact box for more details – ED)
The close reefs are certainly the target area for evening or early morning snapper. This coming month you will need to find the bait schools to stay on the fish or use plenty of controlled berley to keep the fish around the area.
Depths of 60m or more are the best areas to target the pearl perch but shallow reefs starting at 10m are ample for snapper and other species, provided you keep the noise in the boat down.
Amberjack have been about but larger fish are certainly not in any big numbers this season. Trevally are difficult to get baits past to the quality reef species because they are so thick and the same can be said for iodine bream.
The estuaries are still providing a heap of hairtail, particularly around the pontoon at La Balsa Park in Mooloolaba. The rock walls are also the place to catch tailor, mulloway and some top notch bream and there are plenty of options to get out of the cold wind.
The sand flats are holding whiting and flathead and are around in strong numbers. Yabbies, peeled prawns and blood worms are killer baits or if you like using poppers, then there are options for making your mark. The Pumicestone Passage is similar in variety but I would suggest working the deeper drop-offs around the channel areas for the bigger fish.
The Boardwalk in Caloundra only allows a limited period to fish before the strong tidal current takes over, but it is a terrific spot to fish when you can. Work the canals around Pelican Waters and Kawana with small hardbodied lures or blades in the coming weeks for bream and the last run of tailor.
The beaches have been alive this season and anglers are reporting catches everywhere, which is pleasing. The tailor have not been huge but the numbers have made up for that right along the Wurtulla Strip and areas like Kings and Moffat. I have found low tide is a better time to fish in the evenings for tailor so give them a chance.
Working the rocks around Point Cartwright and Shellys Beach has been difficult due to the wind kicking up the seas, so if you are planning a trip to fish the rocks then make sure you take a mate and use all the safety gear you can.
The month ahead will slowly move us towards a change in species and as the short run to spring comes in so does the need to change to different tactics and methods. Overall anglers will enjoy much of the same but be prepared for a sizzling summer.
Key Points for A Fishing Diary
Tide times/moon phase
Best bite periods on the day
Wind direction/weather conditions
Atmospheric pressure on the day and barometer reading
Size and weight of all fish caught
What part of the tide phase produced the most fish
These topics are just the basic information required. The following extras will eventually help you even more.
Type of rigs and bait you used – this will help you prepare for seasons to come and work out if anything went wrong or could be improved. It is also important to know what the season bait for the area is like squid or yakkas.
Record the contents of the fish’s stomach. This is vital information so that you know what you need to use to catch the best fish at this time of the season.
Water temperatures on the surface and at 10m – this will assist you in learning when fish school to spawn and what temperatures they start to arrive in areas.
Additional information on the moon above and below cycle is also very useful because when these periods coincide with tidal changes the bite period is normal extended or an extra hot bite period occurs.
All additional information that may assist you in remembering what happened on the day which should include anchoring, drifting, why you may have lost fish and so on. I always write a little story to trigger my memory of everything that occurred.
If you require any further information just drop me an email with your question and I will provide you with the answer if it is possible.