Pelagics Power Up
  |  First Published: February 2012

The great news for Noosa and its surroundings is that the pelagic season is hotting up. Plenty of reports of mac tuna, longtail, yellowfin and spotted mackerel are filtering through and occasional reports of Spanish mackerel are very encouraging.

Laguna Bay and North Reef seemed to be the best bets early in the new year, however as the season develops Sunshine Reef and Chardons will be busy places with plenty of boats chasing the various pelagic species that we have on our doorstep every summer.

Trollers do pretty well using large bibbed minnows and occasionally high speed bibless jobs when the going is slow. The old faithful Davo’s Spaniard Special is a winner rigged with a pilchard, gar or small bonito. The large flashing blades attract fish from far and wide and the results delivered by this spinnerbait variant have been outstanding.

However, troll live baits, tailor in particular, and a big Spaniard will find these hard to resist. Alternatively, a rigged bonito or mac tuna will do the job. The deeper the troll the better, as the bigger mackerel seem to cruise under all of the smaller stuff that harass bait up near the surface.

Most bottom bashers will deploy a floating bait or two and these are belted in no uncertain terms by Spaniards regularly when there are fish about. A tailor slab or simply a ganged pilchard or gar will do the job. We have found that a mono leader will attract more bites than wire; although on some days the fish are so keen it really doesn’t matter.

There are also plenty of reef fishing options, including snapper, grassy sweetlip, Maori cod, coral trout, spangled emperor, pearl perch and lots of other tasty table fare. Those chasing trout are more likely to succeed on the vast Sunshine Reef. Almost any bait will do the job at times, although live offerings will provide a good head start. Hang on tight or you will be drilled deep into the structure in seconds.

A recent sorte to Sunshine Reef with ultra keen locals Rob James and Jono Bain saw us boat a dozen or so quality grassy sweetlip along with a thumper stripey and a coral trout. Sunshine has a reputation for delivering a couple of fish at each drop and then shutting down, and this day was exactly as expected. Several moves were necessary and we finished a good session with a drift delivering more lippers and the trout on a whole squid bait a metre or so off the bottom. On the way back in we spotted a school of mac tuna and dropped two into the esky for future bait by way of a double hook-up on rapidly retrieved slugs.

The river continues to fish very well, and by February the crowds will have thinned out considerably. Plenty of big flathead have been caught by those fishing with live herring or mullet and the mangrove jack season has been spectacular to say the least. Many fish well over 50cm have been brought in to Davo’s Bait and Tackle for a happy snap and some have been close to 60cm.

If you are yet to connect to a big jack they are frighteningly powerful for their size and very quickly head for structure as soon as they feel the sting of a hook. Out in the open, light gear is fine particularly at night when the jacks are out and about hunting. But in areas where there is plenty of structure much heavier gear is needed to control the fish and have half a chance of landing one.

The lower reaches have delivered lots of jacks at night on live baits and lures out in the open, while further upstream those targeting structure such as drowned snags and rock bars have seen the best results. If you happen to find a willing patch of these red brutes by all means keep one or two for a feed but please release the rest to keep the population going.

Other species firing in the lower reaches have been exceptional quality whiting, trevally and the odd jew pushing the metre mark. Fishing a run-out tide is the best bet and live or very fresh bait is a must.

Macdonald and Borumba lakes have been delivering the goods with plenty of bass and saratoga on offer. The Macdonald Three Ways has been a good bet casting around the massive weed beds while bait anglers have caught some quality fish along the bubble trail and from the various platforms near the dam wall.

Up at Borumba, the Kingham and Yabba arms have delivered saratoga while the lower reaches seem to be a better bet for the resident bass. If silver perch are more to your liking try the Borumba arm, about half way up the dam on the left.

Local gun angler Chris Lacey has decided to move on and pursue an apprenticeship in Melbourne. Chris just about grew up in Davo’s and his local knowledge will be sorely missed. Good luck mate!

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