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Summer pelagic fun in the sun
  |  First Published: November 2011



The Sunshine Coast is gearing up for what looks like a hot summer of fishing! November is generally a transition period between our popular winter reef species and the hard fighting pelagics that can wreak havoc upon us as the warmer months come on.

The early signs with the abundance of tuna and bait schools around are pleasing and not too many anglers have missed out on catching a 6-7kg mac tuna already.

While the mackerel and other species kick off, the new run of reef fish such as big parrot, wrasse, cod and many more start to take baits. Trevally will also be abundant around the wrecks and the known pinnacles and a few anglers will begin to land hussar and morwong adding to the signs that Mother Nature is moving in the right direction.

The target species for the majority of us will be the mac tuna. In general, casting chrome or gold coloured 20-50g slugs at busting bait schools will result in some real action. There are other tuna species that creep in to the closer reefs but a trip during November out to Wide Caloundra, Hutchinsons Shoal or the Barwon Banks will give you access to a multitude of toothy critters.

Normally the bubblers and a variety of shallow and deep diving lures will have the dust blown off them ready for the oncoming season. Trolling live baits at very slow speeds and weighted to get to the depth of the holding fish is another way to target pelagics, in particular the mackerel.

The hotter days make fishing early in the morning or in the evening far more attractive and much more productive. Plan to target the reef species on the change of the tide to correspond with these times for best results.

Using floating baits out the back of the boat when anchored or under a controlled drift will greatly assist you in more hook ups between now and the New Year. Mahi mahi should be starting to hold around the FADs and cruising by your boat while you are at anchor. Again, it is important to always have a rod set up with a slug or lure ready to cast at any stage.

The estuaries have enjoyed a run of big flathead, which are mostly breeding females. Live pike or big herring have been the best baits but if live bait is not available then any fish flesh bait will make a big difference. Whiting are a worthy target this month and areas around the weed beds south of Bells Creek or around the Power Boat Club are all worth your attention.

During the low tide put on a pair of old sandshoes and walk the shallow waters until you find a school of whiting. It may take a little walking but when you find a school you should be able to get a feed. Try using live yabbies or blood worms on a small long shank hook. The sandshoes are important to protect you from stingrays or walking on other sharp objects.

Trevally are around the pontoons and rock wall areas, small hardbodied lures or blades cast around the area are accounting for a good number of fish. The area around McKenzies Bridge is the spot for Moses perch, flathead and mud crabs.

If you enjoy crabbing, check out the possible spots to drop your pots around the Mooloolah River system and the Pumicestone Passage. Remember that it is difficult to see markers in the middle of the night so keep your crab pots away from the main channels.

Happy Valley and the northern top of Bribie Island are still the number one spots for targeting and catching whiting. Work the area during the low tide for best results and don’t be afraid to walk around in thigh deep water to reach the edge of the channel. It is amazing the number of big flathead that work the drop-offs in the area during the tidal run.

The area along Bulcock Beach has tarwhine and cod close to the rocks outside of the Life Savers hut. The key here is to ensure you don’t use too much weight so as to avoid the many snags down below. Allowing your line to run along with the current will normally see you hooked up before too long.

Spotty mackerel will be a chance off the rocks at Kings and Moffat beaches on small slugs or floating out a pilchard on gang hooks under a balloon. Dart are common along all the beaches at the moment and they are great sport for kids. Cuts of pilchards or other fish flesh along with squid or pipis making top baits for them.

For the coming month, pelagics along with tuna will make the best targets. Parrot and cod will come on in good numbers and the pearl perch will continue to fill eskies. Work the close structures like Brays Rock and Rapers Shoal with floating baits and watch the skies for signs of birds feeding on bait schools. Have Fun!

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