Great start to the New Year
  |  First Published: December 2007

The New Year has come in with a bang on the fishing front and I will take this opportunity to wish all readers a very Happy New Year. Caloundra along with the entire Sunshine Coast has hundreds of holiday makers around with the hopes of catching that big one and there is no shortage of folks trying.

Pumicestone Passage through the day is filled with swimmers and anglers not to mention the para sailors, jet skiers and surfers. Therefore the best times to fish are early morning long before the traffic starts and the late evenings when most holiday makers are enjoying a cold one and dinner with the family.

The Blue Hole is still the spot to pull up in your boat on the changing of the tides to catch some bream, flathead and whiting. A few trevally are taking baits but the bread and butter varieties are the ones you can count on. Nosing the boat into the sand on Bribie Island gives you the option to have a picnic and still enjoy fishing in the deeper water. If you wish, you can always walk through to the surf and try for some dart and tailor and let the kids play in the sand.

The Boat Club still has some great whiting and the best time to tackle these little fighters is at low tide moving in to the high. Walk out along the sand bars and cast back into both the channel and shallow waters. Worms and yabbies are the baits to use and if you are one of the many who love catching whiting on poppers then this is a great spot to get started. Flathead are another great chance around the shallows and deep drop offs for plastic anglers but watch out for those toadies who love to chew on gulps.

The bridge around Pelican Waters and Military Jetty areas have bream, queenfish on livies and trevally but you will have to get there early to get a spot on most days. Further south towards Bells Creek chopper tailor, bream, trevally, jew and mangrove jack are all taking baits with live poddy mullet and strip baits the choice for big jacks.

Coochin Creek, while out of reach of land based anglers, offers much the same but the ski run can reward you with some bull sharks up to 15kg if that’s your thing. Remember with estuary fishing the lighter the line the better fishing you will enjoy. The Boardwalk and numerous pontoons around the passage are great spots to take the family to enjoy a mixture of fishing and playing. For the serious anglers the rocks around the surf life saving club have tarwhine and a stack of just legal bream for you to target. The key here is to ensure that you use as little weight as possible and fishing is more productive just as the tide turns.

So far there have been plenty of quality fish taken with the pelagics living up to expectations. The reefs in close still hold nice squire, sweetlip, cod and an odd pearly or two. Close in to Point Cartwright there have been some good catches of mackerel both shark and spotties and around Rapers Shoal and Currimundi Reef you will find the same. Floating pilchard and live baits out the back of the boat is one of the easiest methods to targeting these pelagics. Sure there can be a lot of waiting around but when they are on they are on. Even trolling around with your downriggers and some surface lures would be worth a shot as we move deeper in to January.

Mahi Mahi have been taken from the Outer Gneerings through to the Barwon Banks. These are a great action fish and if you have never caught one make it your new years resolution to target them. The shallower waters around the Three Sisters is the spot to try for a mixture of fish including fingermark, parrot, trag, red emperor, snapper, cod, pearlies and the list just goes on. Early starts are the way to go and as much as we hate them it is far better to start early and finish before the heat drains all your energy. If you are between tides out wide have a go at trolling a mixture of deep and shallow divers when the sun gets up or dead out to deeper water and have a go at some big amberjack and kingfish on jigs.

The Tiger Kelly a spot out on the 120m line around the middle of the Barwon Banks is the spot to start jigging and bait fishing – there can be some absolute monsters hanging around there. The Caloundra 12 mile has been in the news for the past three months with strong reports of consistent catches of cobia, snapper, pearlies and parrot. This is still the news of late and fishing the better reef systems in the evening can fill your esky and satisfy that major fishing bug we all have on our holidays.

For anglers with smaller vessels the Inner and Outer Gneerings along with the 5 and 7 mile reefs in Caloundra are spots to target. If the weather turns it is only a short trip home without too much of a worry. Old Women’s Island is another option for rat kings, squid, parrot, cod and a variety of other fish for the kids to enjoy catching. Murphy’s Reef inside the 9km marker buoy is another good target area but is much better fished in the evening. Normally by 7pm it all goes quiet and then after 9pm things really pick up for an hour or so (dependant on the tide).

Fishing the beaches over the holiday period will better suit the early risers and late evening fishos as the beaches will be packed with plenty of surfers and swimmers. The main areas to tackle will be the protected waters around Moffat and Kings Beach where chopper tailor and bream will be the target species. Using pilchards and strip fillets of bait will be the most effective way to hook on to a big one.

The beach stretch between Dicky’s and Bokarina have some good gutters and holes particularly around access 32-39 and some quality bream and dart have been caught in the holes around the low tide mark. Fishing the inner gutters makes it hard to avoid the rips but the key to successful fishing is not casting way out to where you think the bigger fish are. Normally the fish are right at the back of the breaking waves particularly in the case of whiting and dart. Some straggler tailor and mackerel could easily take a ganged pilchard so hang on to your rod or dig the holder in nice and deep. Try using worms, pippies, pilchards and mullet strips for best results and if you have the equipment the good old yabbie sure brings home some nice fish.

So there are plenty of options over the holiday periods from trolling in close from Point Cartwright to Caloundra through to drifting livies or floating pilchards along with bottom bashing the reef systems to estuary and beach fishing. If in doubt, drop in to the local tackle shop and ask the guys who are out there fishing nearly everyday. Have Fun!

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