It’s a fickle art, this fishing
  |  First Published: October 2011

Recreational angling is an undeniably fickle pursuit. What worked last month doesn’t necessarily produce the goods this month. Reefs that fired last month seem bare and desolate now.

The BASS circuit is a classic example of this too. The revolving door of ‘lures that work’ never seems to stop. Having fished these competitions some years back I struggled to keep up with the ‘lure of the hour’ and instead stayed with small hardbody minnows, well within my comfort zone.

The revolving door continues to rotate in the Noosa offshore scene as well. My mates and I have been fishing Sunshine Reef for the past year or so, with moderate levels of success and almost always arriving home with a feed. North Reef seems barren and desolate and occasional diversions there didn’t produce much at all.

Currently, lengthy sessions on an assortment of tried and true marks in the vast Sunshine Reef area are producing next to nothing. And, alas, North is firing with a certainty not experienced for some years. If only I knew a week ago.

Tales of thumping big cobia, snapper galore and 4kg+ pearl perch are bouncing around the fishing rumour mill, all originating in the North Reef area. So, for the next few months at least, cross the bar with caution and head to North for fun and games that are seemingly no longer available at Sunshine Reef. Perhaps a little less boat traffic on Sunshine might bring it back to life in time.

The majority of the bigger fish coming from North and wide of North have been tempted by live bait. Collecting the livies may even be more difficult that hooking unstoppable cobia and tail thumping snapper and of course this all adds to the fun and drama of a day offshore. Don’t forget a bait jig or two, and if all else fails a small baited hook dropped into the enormous bait schools will deliver the goods.

There hasn’t been more than a quiet murmur in response to the new snapper regulations, and rightly so. A boat with two anglers aboard bringing in eight snapper with two over 70cm would by and large be a happy boat! If you can add a few delicious pearlies and a cobia or two to the catch list then there would be smiles all round.

Laguna Bay has seen large schools of northern bluefin tuna and we aren’t sure if these fish are early or late. Regardless, if you can locate some of these hard fighting barrels of muscle they can be most entertaining and great on the barbeque. Bleed the fish well and keep it on ice. A minute or so on a hot plate with a drizzle of lime juice will keep them coming back for more.

The Noosa River has been a little quiet with a few pre spawn flathead in the lower reaches. Further upstream there have been good numbers of sub legal jew around with a few going to 80cm or so. Tailor and trevally have been hunting around Woods Bay at dawn and local guide Phippsy even managed a legal snapper in this area recently on a blade.

Drifting with the run-out tide is a good way to locate some flathead, and then casting the area thoroughly once a few fish have been located will deliver a feed. Plastics and prawn imitation lures are very good tools for this.

Up in the fresh Lake Macdonald seems to have bounced back after a few difficult years. Losing bass over the dam wall isn’t great, but it is not the end of the world as we know it and plenty of bass over 40cm in the lake is a very sure sign of this.

Spinnerbaits, beetle spins and poppers worked around the multitudinous weed beds, particularly at dusk will bring some quality bass undone. Trollers will also catch their fair share, particularly with deep running lures such as the good old Borer Extra Deep, if you can find some.

The guys at Davo’s Bait and Tackle are very experienced anglers and they will help you out with the right advice and lure stock to see you connected to some fat hard fighting Australian bass.

Borumba Dam is also worth a shot with bass and saratoga on the chew there. See the comprehensive fresh water reports for more detailed info on these two easily accessible dams.

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