Glorious fishing conditions
  |  First Published: May 2012

The dirty weather that has hampered fishing efforts for months along the Sunshine Coast and beyond has abated at last, and as of early April we were back to glorious, sunny, fishable days.

Currently we have clear skies, pretty good conditions offshore, and a clearing river, so it all looks very promising as we slowly head into the cooler months.

The offshore scene has been a mixed bag for ages now. The pelagic season has been rather subdued probably due to the enormous amounts of fresh water pouring out of all mainland rivers right along the eastern seaboard. This will push some species further out to sea looking for cleaner saltier water, however other species relish in the murk and the enormous supply of tucker it brings.

With many rivers in flood the outgoing tide is quite a torrent and it delivers prawns and all manner of baitfish to the inner reefs. The dirty water line off Noosa has been a fair way out this time due to the persistent, annoying squalls that seem to have finally come to a halt. The closer structures benefit greatly though and big grassy sweetlip can really fire after a prolonged fresh.

Halls Reef, Little Halls Reef, Jew Shoal, and perhaps to a lesser extent North and Sunshine Reefs are the places to fish when the Noosa River is pushing bait out into the bay. When the Noosa River bar is safe to cross, plenty of smaller craft race out at dawn and have a crack at these closer reefs. Baits of pilchard, mullet strips or squid will deliver the goods and a feed of fresh sweetlip is pretty hard to beat.

North Reef has delivered spotted and Spanish mackerel, and there have been a few around the headland at Sunshine Reef too. Trollers have picked up a few fish in Laguna Bay and anglers fishing the bottom that also deploy a floating bait have nailed their fare share.

All we can do is hope that the improving conditions encourage the big mobs of mackerel and tuna to return. We are so spoilt to have them here most years, but of course their return would be very welcome.

Pearl perch and snapper have also been on recent catch lists, particularly at Sunshine Reef and some top shelf coral trout have been caught there also. Cobia, Maori cod and grassies are also on the chew so get out there and have a go!


The river has been fishing surprisingly well despite its chocolate colour. The Frying Pan area has everything including shallow yabby banks and creeks that deliver food into the river as the tide recedes. Flathead, bream and whiting are very regular catches in this area and it’s productive here year round.

Tiny poppers will pick up quality whiting and even flathead around the Frying Pan. Mangrove jack will hunt in this beautiful part of the river at night so be prepared. Baits of live worms, pilchard chunks or mullet flesh will do the job here and a feed is just about guaranteed if you put the time and effort in. If you are unsure of where or how drop in to Davo’s Compleat Angler in the Homemaker Centre on Mary Street and the friendly team there will point you in the right direction.

The Woods Bay area continues to deliver jacks, trevally and school jew. There are some relatively deep holes in these bays so it can pay to keep an eye on your sounder as you mosey along and when you identify a deeper run it is worth bouncing a plastic along the bottom. Work them slowly and you will connect to a variety of fish.

Further upstream more jew have been active in the first ski run and a few threadfin salmon have been taken along this stretch also. As the river opens up into the first lake there are more deep holes worth probing. They are more like depressions than holes however they certainly deliver fish with big flathead, jew and mangrove jacks regular catches. Plan your assault to coincide with dawn for the best results.

Now is the time to pencil in June 1-3 into your diaries as a must do fishing weekend.

The Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club and Davo’s Compleat Angler are hosting the 2012 Noosa River to Reef Family Fishing Classic. This is going to be a very big affair with river, beach and offshore categories and prizes galore. Please drop in to Davo’s for entry forms.

A competitor’s briefing will be held on Friday evening at 7pm and fishing will be held on the Saturday and Sunday. The competition stage will be where all the action is, so come along and say hello. I’ll be there with my Fishcare mates running the weigh station.

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