An early and very encouraging run of quality snapper off Noosa is a sure sign we are slowly drifting into the cooler months along the Sunshine Coast.
Quality fish have been boated to 6kg out on the inner reefs, from off the rocks along the National Park, and even from the north shore beach gutters.
Snapper are a year round proposition in this part of the world, however there is no doubt that the cooler months bring more of these pink bruisers onto the easily accessible reefs. Growing to 20kg, they are most commonly caught off Noosa in the 2-3kg range, with the occasional fish pushing 6-8kg.
Pilchards and squid are very good bait for snapper. Use just enough lead to hold the bait near the bottom structure. On occasions it is possible to bring the fish close to the boat with a judicious trail of berley. From then it’s simply a matter of drifting an unweighted chunk of pilchard down the trail and hang on tight.
These days there is a possession limit of four snapper per person, with no more than one over 70cm. The minimum take size is 35cm.
June will see the last of the summer pelagic run. There have been sporadic catches of Spanish mackerel, some around 20kg, and it’s about now that the biggest mackerel of the year are caught. Many take floating pilchard or gar baits, preferably attached to a baitrunner style of reel. Others take trolled lures with the Davo’s Spaniard Special a standout. These noisy, flashy lures can be rigged with a pilchard, gar, small bonito or whatever takes your fancy and they work a treat.
Large bibbed minnows such as the Laser Pro and the Down Sider are also exceptionally good and plenty of big Spaniards have succumbed to these.
Spotted mackerel have been a hit and miss affair this season. However, there have been some quality fish taken at North Reef, Chardons Reef and Sunshine reef of late. Fish to over 6kg are great fun to catch and pretty good tucker as well.
A few northern bluefin tuna and scattered yellowfin have stretched a few arms and tested tackle and knots to their limits. Hopefully we will see more pelagics before they all but disappear for winter.
Sunshine Reef has been the hot spot for coral trout. Plenty of fat specimens have been caught there over the past few months with 5kg fish not uncommon and certainly brag worthy! Red throat emperor, grassy sweetlip, pearl perch and cobia are all on the chew too so there are currently options galore, when conditions allow for offshore sorties.
The Noosa River is fishing very well. Bream, whiting and flathead are widespread and simple enough to catch. Live worms are the gun bait for any species in the river and along the beaches. Mullet strips and of course live baits also work a treat and will attract the attention of jew, mangrove jacks and the occasional barramundi as well.
The cooler months really bring the various trevally species and tailor on big time. Already there have been plenty of quality trevally caught at dawn with the Woods Bay area a great starting point. They can be encountered anywhere in the system, even right up the top in Kin Kin Creek.
Munna Point is another excellent location to chase trevally and tailor, and land based anglers often do very well here. Dawn and dusk are the go, and unless it is very overcast the fish soon disappear once the sun is up.
Fishing deeper will sometimes result in a few more fish, however it’s often best to switch to chasing flathead and the other bread and butter species.
Gladiator Prawns have been a great tool for those early risers that chase trevally and tailor. These can be skipped across the surface at dawn and they perfectly imitate a fleeing prawn. Even jacks will smash them so be prepared. As the sun comes up a deeper and slower presentation is required.
Don’t forget the biggest fishing event in Noosa for decades is on June 1-3. Save the dates for the Noosa River to Reef Family Fishing Classic. A compulsory briefing will be held at the competition stage near the Yacht Club at 7pm on Friday June 1. The weigh station will be open from 9am-5.00 pm on Saturday and 9.00-1.30pm on Sunday. There’s thousands of dollars worth of prizes, including a $27,000 boat package and random draws galore. See you there!Reads: 1097