Laguna Bay fires
  |  First Published: April 2012

Continuing wild weather on the Sunshine Coast has made life difficult for anglers. Estuaries and creeks are flowing hard and are very discoloured, but life goes on and those hardy souls that brave the weather have been getting a good feed.

We have seen some sunny, calm weather, and during these windows of opportunity boats galore cross the infamous Noosa bar and head offshore. The pelagic season has been a bit of a fizzer and up to early March the mackerel and tuna have been very much hit and miss.

Thankfully plenty of spotties, a few Spanish mackerel and plenty of small yellowfin tuna made it to Laguna Bay on the first weekend in March and hopefully they will stay. However, more nagging rain arrived with them and the big fresh might push them out wide once again, and ultimately out of reach of most anglers.

There have also been schools of big barrel chested longtails and football sized striped tuna cruising around Laguna Bay and Sunshine Reef. Both are entertaining and the big longtails can really take some stopping. They are good tucker too, if they are bled, iced and dropped onto a barbeque plate with a good drizzle of lime juice.

If the spotties remain they are easily targeted with slugs when they are harassing bait on the surface and with floating baits while bottom bashing. Spotties at this time of year are pretty well all of legal size with some pushing 6kg.

Bottom bashers have also been enjoying moderate success. Sunshine Reef and the wider grounds at Chardons have delivered the goods, however several moves are often needed to locate feeding schools of fish.

On a recent trip to Sunshine Reef it took Lance McFayden several moves in his new Barcrusher, the Donatello, to boat a couple of coral trout and then bag out in record time on pearl perch. Both are excellent food fish and I personally prefer the pearlies, however most would argue that coral trout are very hard to beat!

Grassy sweetlip, Maori cod and the odd snapper and cobia have also featured on catch lists lately, with North Reef a very viable option. This area is vast and there is so much structure you couldn’t fish it all in one lifetime.

It can be worth the effort to sound around looking for decent fish holding structure and then having a go at anchoring so that your baits drift down to the fish. This can be tricky in 50m of water with wind and current to consider. However it’s worth getting right even if it takes a few attempts and it can often make or break the day’s intention of dropping a few quality fish into the esky.

The river has been difficult, but some quality mangrove jack have been tempted with live baits and mullet strips, mostly in the lower reaches of the river. The seemingly never ending squalls have pushed prawns, crabs and baitfish into the lower areas and this is where the best fishing opportunities will be for the next month.

Some quality school jew and some big flathead have been caught around the river mouth with the last of the run-in the best time to have a go. Big prawns have been excellent baits, with the humble pilchard also very much worth using.

Trolling can also be effective and some big tailor have taken trolled lures along the Tewantin stretch of river in recent weeks. Flathead are also suckers for a trolled minnow and if it kicks up a puff of sand every now and then your chances of success increase dramatically.

Mangrove jacks can also be tempted by tolling, however structure is necessary to successfully target these brutish fish. The rock bars further upstream are still worth a shot, however they might not fire as well as usual until the river clears somewhat.

Further downstream lures cast around the shallows in the lower reaches will draw hits from jacks, as well as tailor, trevally, jewfish, tarpon and flathead. Fishing late at night in the lower reaches is very productive as most species are on the hunt at this time.

Drop in to Davo’s Compleat Angler for all the latest on what’s biting where. I’m in the shop on Thursdays if you would like to come in and say G’day. I’m getting pretty good at listening to fishing stories!

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