A real sunny coast sensation
  |  First Published: November 2011

November is a sensational month along the Sunshine Coast. There are options galore for any angler to explore, both offshore and in the estuaries. The sweet water impoundments also fire up with bass and saratoga keen adversaries.

The offshore scene has been hit and miss of late. Some fantastic snapper have been caught along with pearl perch and grassies, however the inshore reefs have been pretty hard work. Wide North and Chardons seem to have been the best bets through to early October with anglers fishing in 50m or so doing the best.

Sporadic catches of tuna in various forms have also created interest and could be leading us into a bumper pelagic season. Many locals are feverishly preparing for the spotted and Spanish mackerel that are on their way along with longtails, mac tuna and a few fat, barrel chested yellowfin.

For the most part trollers pick up the biggest mackerel. Large shiny lures with green or blue on chrome work a treat. The now famous Davo’s Spaniard Special rigged with a pilchard, small bonito or a yakka are also a very good tool for tempting big Spanish mackerel. Over the years these lures also regularly take tuna, snapper and even coral trout.

Some anglers troll rigged whole bonito and these are a deadly bait for extra large Spaniards. One experienced and extremely successful local angler was telling me recently that the bigger Spaniards hang deep, so get those baits down below the smaller fish.

Most bottom bashers deploy a floating bait or a soft plastic dancing around aided by the movement of the boat. Floaters can be a humble pilchard, a livey suspended under a balloon or even a tailor. Last season we saw some very respectable Spaniards caught in this way.

Cobia are also a sucker for a floater and plenty have hammered unattended plastics also. Dropping a couple of mackerel into the kill tank amongst the snapper, pearlies and the odd trout is a great way to finish a day offshore fishing around Noosa.

Once the pelagic activity really hots up there are days when longtails and spotties seem to fill Laguna Bay. On these most memorable days it can be a five minute run from the bar to the first of the boiling schools and a slug or two cast over the school and retrieved rapidly will rarely go untouched. Double and triple hook-ups are common.

Trolling pilchards or simply drifting with ganged pilchards will also deliver the goods, particularly when there are big schools of spotted mackerel passing through. By all means keep a few for a feed but don’t feel obliged to fill your freezer or feed the whole street.

November in the estuaries means mangrove jack time. There are many ways to target jacks in the Noosa system. Casting hardbody minnows and working them erratically around snags is a great start. There are several rock bars well upstream of Tewantin and these continually deliver big toothy jacks.

Trolling against the current to get your lure close to the action will catch fish. Unfortunately you will also hook up to the odd snag including lost crab pots. A lure retriever is a good investment and pays for itself after one successful deployment. Then casting the riverbank snags on the drift to take you back to your start point is also likely to deliver jacks.

Bob Jeynes down at Davo’s Bait and Tackle knows more tricks than most local anglers. Bob sometimes targets jacks in these upstream areas with pilchards. He berleys heavily with finely diced pilchards and then drops a half pilchard with a well concealed hook into the trail. Naturally he catches and assortment of fish with catfish and eels very prominent on the list.

All this activity brings the jacks from far and wide and then the fun begins. Double figure jack sessions are possible in this way. Bob and his mad fishing mates release their mangrove jacks to keep the population healthy. Jacks well over 60cm are been caught using this innovative method.

Others prefer live baits around structure such as rock bars or big snags. Drifting a livey into such structure is a sure fire way of connecting to jacks, with the possibility of a threadfin salmon, barramundi and almost anything else joining the melee.

The lower reaches of the river have fired pretty well lately with plenty of bream and flathead on the go. Try fishing an evening run-out tide in shallow areas with deep water nearby. Plastics and sinking lures such as Slim Jims work a treat. Flathead, trevally, tailor and big jacks will keep you busy for hours.

Chasing Australian bass in the upper reaches of the Noosa River is a very rewarding pursuit. Driving into the Harry’s Hut camping ground and launching a canoe or small tinnie there helps avoid the long run by boat into the upper reaches.

The bass will head back upstream when the summer rains arrive so November may be the last opportunity to chase these hard fighting fish. Small spinnerbaits, beetle spins, minnows and poppers all work a treat and at dawn and dusk the bass can be very responsive.

Lakes Borumba and Macdonald hold big populations of bass, yellowbelly, silver perch, Mary River cod and saratoga. Casting around the weedbeds will deliver fish and once again poppers, including scum frog poppers, are very good lure choices at dawn and dusk.

You will need to fish deeper as the sun comes up, then slowly worked spinnerbaits or vibes will bring the hits. Some anglers prefer to fish with live shrimp, and they are very effective baits.

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