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Reefies rule the roost
  |  First Published: October 2012



It’s getting warmer here on the Sunshine Coast, and after a cracking run on the snapper and other reef species, the end of spring and summer should just rock.

The highlight of the past season has been the outstanding pearl perch and snapper that have been on offer, but there is no need to panic; they will continue for a couple more months yet.

The deeper water reefs and pinnacles will come into play throughout the coming weeks so you need to plan carefully to target the bigger fish. Areas like the top end of the Barwon Banks and depths beyond the 100m line are the types of positions that you need to target. You can do this by either continuously drifting the same line over the fish or tying the anchor on the calmer days. Find the bait schools or fish holding on either a pinnacle or reefie outcrop.

The best method is to drive up to the start point right on top of the target and allow the boat to drift back naturally and plot the line. You can then adjust the drift as necessary to cover a wider group of target areas by adjusting the start point.

It is also advisable to mark the depth the fish are holding at on your line so that you know that you are right in amongst them at each drop. Some sounders have the sensitivity to pick up a line heading towards the bottom but if yours doesn’t switch to paladin braid that marks out every 10m, or use a downrigger. It is crucial you are on the fish or you will miss out.

Live bait such as a yakka or slimy mackerel is a terrific way to entice the fish, so spend a little extra time looking for them. If you can’t get them to bite, drop down a bait jig with some squid on the hooks and find out what they are feeding on. If that doesn’t work then change your bait, or try a jig or soft plastic until you get them to bite.

The closer in reef systems will be perfect around a tidal change at sunup or sundown, so check your tide times carefully. Moses perch and trevally will be about but as the sun sets they will give way to the bigger predators, so hang on.

Some offshore trolling may also be possible if the bait schools start to move in because of the warm weather. This will also bring on the tuna schools and maybe any early run of spotted mackerel; if not we will see them all in the coming months.

Estuaries

The estuaries are full of quality flathead and most of them are females, so if they are full of roe please consider the importance of the breeding stock.

Bream will continue to be a top target and if you can find some live prawns you will always get a feed. Live yabbies will also do the job and if bream aren’t around then you can be sure the whiting will soon catch on.

Something I often notice is the lack of berley used when estuary fishing. The same principles apply in the rivers as they do on the beach and offshore; berley starts the food chain and eventually brings on the bigger fish. It is important to remember that the fish know where to find food, so how do you expect a fish to find one single yabby outside of its natural environment without enhancing your chances with a little berley?

The sand bars around the Caloundra Bar area within Happy Valley offer great opportunities to catch whiting and flathead, particularly on the ebb tide. Work the Boardwalk on the making tide to target bigger bream, trevally and a heap of other species.

The water around here is up to 7m deep and can hold any number of big fish. Try the blue hole coming into the evening and work the drop offs around the channels inside the passage. Often the whiting are cruising around in the shallow and the bigger fish are hanging around the deep edges just waiting to ambush the first thing that swims into the territory. Soft plastics work in these situations because you can bottom out at every depth and literally put the bait straight into the mouth of the fish.

The Maroochy River is worth a look for estuary species and Chambers Island is still one of the better spots to take the kids for a swim, picnic and a fish. The deeper areas around the Cod Hole are terrific in the evenings and you will also find plenty of fish around the pylons to flick plastics and blades at.

Work the deep weir around the outlet at Twin Waters for trevally and bream and check out the sand flats in the same area for plenty of sand crabs and whiting. Mud crabs should also become a target for the table this month and if you are stuck on a bait to try, get some big herring in the cast net. Herring put off a terrific scent and can be found around bridges and pylons across the Sunshine Coast.

Provided the northerly winds stay away it will be a terrific month to target the beaches. Dart, bream and whiting will be around inside the holes and gutters so pick your area and get set up early. Overall October is a terrific month for anglers in our neck of the woods and with a warm summer on the cards we can hope for heaps of tuna schools and a strong run from our reef species. Whatever happens, there will be fish to catch.

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