February is one of the hottest months to fish the Sunshine Coast, it’s when all the big Spanish mackerel and thumping mahi mahi come out to play mixed amongst the many different tuna species; add the reefies and you are looking at a full on month for anglers.
The good news does not end there because we also have many estuary systems that boast cracker mangrove jack and the many beach’s that are alive with hard fighting dart, mackerel and a host of other species.
Out wide around Wide Caloundra and the Barwon Banks you can target big mangrove jack and get amongst the pearl perch. Fishing deeper waters is not necessary during the summer periods as areas like the Three Sisters come into play because they have big pinnacles and steep drop-offs that attract bait and then along comes the pelagics. Big kingfish are hanging around known wrecks and cobia can be taken around the channel markers off the northern end of Bribie Island, around the spoil grounds at Caloundra and the 12 mile reef right through to Noosa. The mackerel are never far behind and if you are happy to venture right out, it has been a terrific summer for the marlin and wahoo.
The inner reef areas like the Gneerings and Murphy’s will settle down now that the holiday crowds have gone and things return back to normal. It is worth a trip out in an ENE direction for 3-4km to get onto the Gneering shoals which holds all sorts of patrolling pelagics. There is quite a good bit of ground in the area with shallow waters around 8m that drop away quickly to 20m creating a big gutter that they chase bait into. Trolling a mixture of shallow and deep diving lures will normally put you amongst the fish but you need to keep a close eye on the depth so that your lures don’t get caught up.
Mackerel are naturally aggressive but they will not hang around when there are stacks of boats all working the same area as they spook easily. Often it is far better to move away and work around the outside of the area with the hopes of picking up stragglers. To increase your chances look for bait balls and work around them.
The estuaries are full of quality mangrove jack, trevally and bream so there are plenty of options. The fishing is terrific and areas like the rock wall at Mooloolaba and the strip along La Balsa Park are always a good bet. During the day it can get a little hectic with boat traffic and hundreds of families enjoying the parklands but the fish are never far away. If you have a tinnie then the options around the canals increase because the canals just keep on going. A good option is to set a couple of crab pots as you start your fishing trip and who knows, you may also be able to add a couple of fresh crabs to your daily catch.
The Pumistone Passage still holds strong catches of bream, whiting and flathead, which is why it is so popular. Work the weed beds around the southern end of Bells Creek for the whiting and try using smaller yabbies for best results; failing that peeled prawns or blood worms will do the trick. Again, don’t forget to keep a steady light stream of berley going during the whole session for best results.
The pontoons and jetties around Pelican Waters are worth a look at for some trevally on the soft plastics, or if you prefer using blades then they will also serve you well. Bream are normally sitting right up under the shadows created by the pontoons during the hotter part of the day so it is worth trying to skip your lures in underneath for best results or cast to the bank and allow your lure to sink naturally on a slow retrieve bringing it out from underneath the pontoon.
There are plenty of opportunities to get yourself some live mullet or herring around the Powerboat Club or the Pelican Waters pub. Garfish are available and if all else fails there are a few tiger prawns within the weed patches around the passage for those with patience. February is a great month to chase the bread and butter varieties and the fighting mangrove jack within the estuary systems.
The beaches are worth a look and the common catches are dart and bream with an occasional tuna or mackerel straying way to close to the delight of anglers. Noosa north shore holds some terrific holes on the low tide and is even worth an overnight stay weather permitting. The waters right through to Double Island have mackerel and all sorts of surprises, including large permit. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying to land a permit in the surf, then it is time to put it on the bucket list.
February is the time to target the bigger pelagics offshore while rolling live baits or lures. The mackerel will set some records this year, you mark my words! We have already seen a big 34kg Spaniard taken up around Coolum so the bar is set.
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