Here we are once again, amidst the holiday season on the Sunshine Coast and with Christmas only a matter of days away we will all be hoping for something fishy in our stocking. 2012 has been a big year in the fishing equipment scene and if this is a sign of things to come then I will remain excited for a long time!
The fishing has suffered just a little because of the weather, which is quite normal for this time of the year. The pelagics have moved in and as usual they are fantastic fun to target. Tuna are my favourite on light gear, and it is as simple as casting a small 30g slug just forward of the school and wind like crazy before you are in a fight to the finish.
Longtail and mac tuna are all busting up the bait schools and if you are having trouble spotting them all you need to do is look up for the birds. The birds have always been the best indicator as to where the fish are feeding, so a pair of binoculars on board can come in very handy in December.
The reefs have settled into the normal summer species with pearl perch, tuskfish and sweetlip making up the numbers. Almost all of the systems around the Gneerings, Murphys, Caloundra 5 and 7 mile reefs are producing quality at the moment. There are, of course, the bigger, harder hitting pelagics that are everywhere around the Sunshine Coast at this time. Wide Caloundra, Hutchinson Shoal, Old Womens Island, The Banks are all great places to target mahi mahi, wahoo, mackerel and a stack of others.
The mackerel just love a live yakka or slimey dropped right under their nose. The best method to get it right to them is by using a downrigger. If you don’t have this equipment in the boat then add some weight onto the line and slow down your trolling speed. This will allow the bait to get down where the fish are holding. I find that a troll speed of around 1 knot is just enough to move the bait and to get the fish to strike.
Mahi mahi will be around the channel markers and normally the FADs that are set up by the local fishing clubs. If you see a piece of driftwood or anything floating on the surface slow down and cast a slug right up close to it and you may well be rewarded. If the fish are shy then trolling around the mark with hardbodied lures or skirts may make the difference. It is important to remember that mahi mahi can spook very easily so be stealthy in your approach.
This month it is also worth checking all your lures to ensure that the treble hooks are sharp and the o rings are in good order. If you have not changed your leader for a couple of seasons then it is worth tying a new one and upgrading your swivels. There is nothing worse than having a cracker fish on and losing it to poorly maintained gear.
The estuaries will be busy over the coming holiday season so picking your times to target fish will be important. Fishing in the early mornings and later in the evening will be better than trying to find fish when everyone is around creating heaps of noise. Whiting and bream can be taken throughout the day, and occasionally a quality flathead, but overall the fish will bite when things are settled down a bit.
Work the areas around the pontoons and jetties during the hotter part of the day because the fish will get under them to shelter. Fresh bait is another must and fortunately there are plenty of options across the coast to get it. Yabbies and soldier crabs are plentiful and great bait for the bread and butter species. Prawns are available around the weed beds inside the Pumicestone Passage and there are herring and hardiheads available for those that love to through a cast net. Kids just love to pull fish out of the cast net so take them along when you go.
The many sand bars and deeper drop-offs within the passage also makes for great crabbing and the blue swimmers will be in full swing this month. What could be better than a feed of fresh fish and crab on the beach during the hot summer months!
The Boardwalk in Caloundra will see hundreds of holiday-makers and locals tangle up due to its popularity so I urge you all to work together and think about others during the season. Everyone has a right to enjoy fishing and the waterways so make sure that everyone around you can.
If you walk along the beaches this December try and carry a rod with a chrome slug on it just in case a school of baitfish bust the surface within casting distance. I have kicked myself many times because I did not have a rod set up and in my hand just as this occurred right in front of me.
There are other options as well on the beaches with dart, bream and whiting all within casting distance in the holes and gutters.
Pelagics are the best target offshore this month so again check your equipment and sharpen those hooks on your lures ready for a bumper season. If you are bringing the kids for a holiday don’t forget to bring the cast net and a couple of extra rods along for them to enjoy some fishing.
Have a wonderful and safe Christmas and I hope that Santa brings you your favourite piece of fishing gear.Reads: 560