Full swing into summer
  |  First Published: December 2012

I’m looking forward to another year of fantastic fishing across the Sunshine Coast! It has only just begun and what a cracker of a start with plenty of activity from Noosa through to the bay and as far out as the eye can see.

There is little doubt that summer is in full swing, particularly when you are out trolling around casting chrome slugs at tuna schools around the middle of the day. The heat can be totally draining and as a fisher you must follow a few simple rules to ensure you stay safe on the water.

Possibly the most important rule is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water often. As they say, if you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated. Of equal importance, is the liberal use of sunscreen on the body; along with wearing a long sleeve shirt and an appropriate hat.

Catching fish is a big plus so make sure there is plenty of crushed ice in the esky. Party or block ice mixed with sea water, into a slurry, is the best way to keep fish fresh until they are cleaned and prepared for the table. My last tip is to have an old towel that you wet in the ocean and put it over the bait board to cover the bait. It is amazing how fast bait goes off in the hot summer sun. Of course only cutting up what you need and keeping the bait on ice is always the best method. A lot of these ideas may seem simple but they really can make a difference to you day out on the water.

Trolling through the bait schools with a mixture of surface and diving lures is one of my favourite pastimes around January. The Inner and Outer Gneerings and the Caloundra 7 and 12 mile reefs offer up plenty of opportunities to chase mackerel and tuna schools or to fish deep for reef species during the middle of the day.

Mackerel become active when the bait schools start to get higher in the water or around a tidal change, so plan your trips appropriately. Of course the best way to spot the tuna is to watch the birds as they mass and attack bait balls. Once you see the birds working, get just ahead of the school and wait for them to come towards you – do not go tearing up in the boat and scare all the fish for everyone. A little etiquette goes a long way when you are on the water!

The channel markers from within Moreton Bay across the northern tip of Bribie Island also make top ground to target mackerel and cobia.

Areas like the Barwon banks and Wide Caloundra are terrific for chasing the bigger speedsters of the water, like wahoo, mahi mahi, sailfish and smaller marlin. One of the favourite spots is around the Three Sisters, which has a number of pinnacles and deeper drops-offs making it ideal for bigger predators.

There are also numerous spots within a 200m radius that hold bait, like yellowtail kingfish and slimie mackerel. Local knowledge is a winner when visiting a new area and I always recommend that you visit the local tackle store to seek some advice.

Offshore this month gives you the choice of chasing a variety of reef species like pearl perch, hussar, Moses perch and many others, or casting a few slugs at the feeding tuna and mackerel in close.

The other option is to hit the beaches and chase the bigger permit, or have fun getting a feed of bream, whiting or dart. Noosa North Shore is the spot that many holiday-makers choose because of the beautiful beaches and fantastic swimming and fishing that it offers. Tewantin also has stacks of opportunities right through to Caloundra and Bribie Island, so there should never be a day where there are no options.

If the weather turns bad then the estuaries have plenty of protected areas, particularly within the Pumicestone Passage and Maroochy River systems. Try fishing for trevally around the pontoons and bridges or the Caloundra Bar on the tide changes. Soft plastics, hardbodied lures or live bait will all serve you well when chasing predators around the area.

Bream are also a favourite species and they can be taken from any of the man-made objects through to all the canals around Pelican Waters and Kawana Island. The Cod Hole is the deeper channel area that boarders along the edge of Bribie Island and can hold some awesome flathead and bream late evening or early mornings.

So if you are here on holidays or you have the fortuitous luck to live around the Sunshine Coast, summer is here and the fishing is hot. Pelagics and ocean speedsters like wahoo, tuna and mackerel are all available to the budding angler.

The estuaries are perfect to take the kids fishing and for a swim when it gets too hot or if you prefer to sample one of the many beaches that we have at our doorstep.

One thing for certain is that there will be plenty of us out having a go, so make sure you have fun trying!

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