Consistent Caloundra Catches
  |  First Published: October 2011

The Sunshine Coast has served up another cracker fishing season with a mixture of pelagics and reef species well worth the effort of anglers.

On the other hand the weather also served up some interesting periods that drove anglers and the fish into fits of uncertainty. One week it was freezing cold by our standards with water temperatures around 17c and a few days later it would rise to 20c. Fluctuations like these can really mess up the breeding and migratory cycles of the fish. True to form we saw periods where the snapper and pearl perch were on in numbers and then the reefs were just empty.

A few weeks ago we experienced a solid run of big mac tuna and other species that were fighting for the large schools of bait. It lasted about eight days until a cold snap sent them packing. The good news is that anglers are good at being able to adapt and in this game you need to be ready for anything at anytime.

The shallow reefs have produced the more consistent catches with snapper to 65cm being caught around Gneerings and Murphy’s.

The wrecks and larger pinnacles have held strong numbers of big cobia and trag and October will be your last chance to really get amongst these top class fish. Live yakkas have done the most damage on the cobia but if they are difficult to find then purchase a couple of kilos of big pilchards or squid. The trag are being taken two or three at a time on paternoster rigs. They are making it difficult to reach the better fish by snatching the baits quickly. Mixed amongst the trag are a few pearl perch and snapper along with the occasional tuskfish and cod.

Wide Caloundra has been the preferred spot for the pros seeking quality pearl perch but again catches have been running hot and cold.

We have noticed a few more love bites on our catches from sharks this season, particularly when targeting kingfish on the jig or live bait.

The deeper reefs are worth a shot with jigs and large soft plastics this month. If schooling fish on the sounder are not touching your live or dead baits then whack on a jig or soft plastic. Changing to an artificial bait may be the difference between fish in the esky or a disappointing day overall.

Tuskfish will come into their own during the coming months. Drifting across known habitats in between tides will result in some terrific catches of these quality table fish. Paternoster rigs are productive when chasing this species because they normally hang around rocky outcrops. The paternoster is perfect because it puts the sinker on the bottom and the hooks away from the snags. It’s a good idea to adapt your rigs to the conditions or area you are in; you catch more fish and don’t have to constantly re-rig your line.

There have been some very good hauls of drummer lately with the local gurus leading the way. It is definitely worth watching a group of 10 or more drummer anglers working their floats and walking in unison along a jetty with the tidal flow without any trouble.

Drummer fishing is an art worth learning if you are looking for a good fight and a tasty meal. Sadly the run is over for this year but it won’t be long until they are back as thick as ever.

Bream have also been on the chew and most trips will see anglers releasing plenty of fish back to fight another day.

Trevally can be targeted around the many pontoons and pylons scattered from Caloundra to Noosa. They are great to chase because they absolutely nail whatever is presented for them.

Golden trevally have been caught around the Cod Hole in the Maroochydore system and around Military Jetty down on the Pumicestone Passage. Working the deeper channel areas with your small hard bodied lures or soft plastic flick baits will work well on these fish.

A few live yabbies will result in some whiting this month. Fish along the edge of the weed beds or just off them toward the sand patches for good results.

Another cracker whiting haunt is Happy Valley near the mouth of the Caloundra Bar. A large sand bar appears at low tide which traps them in knee deep water. If they are quiet you can work the deeper channel areas looking over towards Bribie for trevally, mulloway, bream or a number of other species.

The coffee rock around the lighthouse on the northern tip of Bribie Island is an area worth exploring this month for the last run of tailor, mulloway and winter whiting.

There have been a few squid amongst the weed beds in the Mooloolaba harbour or under the bright lights around the wharfs where the trawlers and long liners moor.

Flathead are nailing fish baits and the run of big breeding females will really start to heat up by the end of this month and into the coming summer months.

My pick for this coming month is to target known shallow reef areas like Brays Rock, Gneerings Shoal, Currimundi, Old Women’s Island and Moffat headlands for any early run of the pelagics. Always keep a spin rod with a plastic or small chrome slug ready for tuna.

Plan trips to the deeper water reef areas around the 60–100m when targeting reefies with kingfish and amberjack a welcome by-catch in these waters. You will need to fish hard this month before our normal transition phase in November takes its grip, so plan your trips carefully.
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