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Winter species on fire
  |  First Published: August 2013



The cool weather of winter is something that the Sunshine Coast locals would rather do without, but there are many advantages that come as a package with it.

Offshore

One of the better ones is the onset of quality snapper fishing around the reefs and this season we have really scored. The deeper water has been the place to fish during the lead up to consistent, cool weather, but now the snapper can be targeted around the shallow areas such as Murphys, Gneering, Sunshine and the Caloundra 7 and 12 Mile reefs. I prefer a floater rig to catch bigger snapper, but the humble paternoster is always down on the bottom to pick up the stragglers.

Pearl perch are another outstanding species to target this month with Wide Caloundra and the Barwon Banks holding some big fish amongst the wire weed patches.

Anglers can look forward to plenty of red throat emperor and sweetlip as bycatch when targeting snapper and they go a long way to compiling a good feed for all.

If the weather permits, I would recommend working the shallow reefs on the evening tide change and throughout the daytime period, work the deeper waters for the best chance of scoring well. Early mornings are also a great time to look for red emperor and a few have been taken around the middle of the banks.

There are not many bait schools around, so if you run across a bait ball, make the most of it for the day’s fishing. Live yakkas or slimey mackerel are one of the best baits for encouraging yellowtail kingfish and cobia to the hook and they can be found on the known reefs and out around the pinnacles of the Barwon Banks. Wider areas are also full of smaller 5-7kg amberjack that are terrific if you like a good workout.

Brays Rock, as well as Caloundra 5 and 7 Mile and Currimundi reefs are fantastic for fishermen who like to get out and back quickly with a feed. The run to these features from the Caloundra Bar is only a matter of minutes, which makes them the perfect spot to target snapper and a mixture of other species. Plenty of care needs to be taken when crossing the Caloundra Bar area because of the shifting sands and shallow areas. I would recommend you use your tracking mode on the sounder so that you can come back in on the same track as you went out on in the dark; unfortunately there are few landmarks that can be used on a consistent basis because of the amount of shift.

The coffee rock along Bribie Island is another top spot to fish on the making tide for mulloway. This area always fishes better in the evening and baits like large prawns, flesh baits or live mullet are just the ticket.

Estuaries

The estuaries have enjoyed a big run of sea mullet, which in return has bought in the big bream and kicked off some memorable catches. The bream are hungry; some are well over the kilo mark and respond well to flesh baits. The deeper waters around the Caloundra Boardwalk and throughout the channels down to Military Jetty are the best spots to target them and the use of blades, soft plastics or fresh bait will serve you well.

Smaller flathead are within the system along with plenty of winter whiting to enjoy a fresh feed and keep the kids happy.

The bridge pylons around the canals are worth a look for mulloway, but my pick would be to stick around the channels and fish well into the evening on the tide changes for best results.

The northern beaches of Bribie Island have some fantastic holes that are worth a look for some whiting. Alternatively, there are plenty of other estuary species that can be caught including bream and dart, but don’t forget that the tailor are also around.

All the beach areas that make up the strip between Dicky Beach and Point Cartwright hold similar opportunities and are best fished around low tide. If you get the chance to fish the north shore area this month, I would recommend a trip. You will need to get a permit to go on the beach, but the drive and fishing spots are just excellent. Big permit and some cracker tailor have been caught recently, but the fishing is not the only attraction as everyone in the family can enjoy a good day out along the beach.

Summary

So this month is ideal to target the reef species, in particular the snapper and pearl perch on the tide changes. If the tide falls around dawn or dusk, then all the better because your chances are much better when tide and time correspond. Shallow reefs and quick trips in and out are the way to work for boaties this month particularly if the weather is from the south.

The estuaries have numerous opportunities and offer everything from small winter whiting through to mulloway for any angler happy to put in the time and effort. The quality tailor from the beaches will receive plenty of attention this month and trips further north with the family or your mates will be worth it. If you don’t want to go too far, then target the beach areas along the Wurtulla Strip and fish the holes on either the high or low tides. August is a great month to be fishing on the Sunshine Coast.

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