The winter fishing season started with a bang but soon settled into patchy weather that did not give us many offshore opportunities.
But it’s not all dome and gloom! This month we get some thumper snapper across the Sunshine Coast and traditionally a strong run of pearl perch on the outer reefs and beyond.
This is of course a seasonal change in our neck of the woods and along with reefies there will be early schools of tuna to catch mixed amongst the bait schools. They tend to be very patchy at this stage but bigger numbers and schools are not far away. Areas like Murphy’s Reef, the Gneerings Shoals and Caloundra 7 and 12 mile will come into play during morning and evening sessions on snapper and other reefies this month.
Deeper areas out around Wide Caloundra and the northern end of the Barwon Banks will provide the quality fish. For those that travel out around the 300-500m mark there are some thumper blue-eye and hapuka being taken. The weather has not really been stable enough to venture out unless you have a big boat. This month, work the shallow reefs on dusk and dawn and during the day head out to the deeper waters to keep you line tight.
Cobia are another target as their season starts up in the weeks ahead. Live bait is deadly on these hard hitters so take your time and look around for yakkas or slimey mackerel. Whiptails do work and make a good backup bait.
The saviour over the winter period was the large schools of mullet within the Pumicestone Passage and Maroochy River systems. The mullet kept anglers entertained and the run of quality mulloway around the bridge pylons and deeper drop offs put plenty of smiles on faces.
The bigger bream normally come into the passage under the many schools of mullet and this year was no different except that they were just too well fed with the huge number of mullet. Some monsters of around 1.2kg were caught earlier in the season but they were few and far between.
The drummer were also a little light on, but that did not deter plenty of anglers to work for hours on end to land them around the Boardwalk in Caloundra.
Bream will continue this month and then we will start to see an increase in the number of flathead that are chewing on baits across the passage. Strips of mullet are ideal baits for big lizards or if you enjoy soft plastic fishing they are known to hit them hard.
There will still be plenty of chopper tailor around chasing the mullet and schools of herring within the estuaries so try a popper or surface lures when you see them breaking the surface.
Try working the mouth of the Caloundra Bar for the bigger mulloway on the tide changes or drift just around the first bend in your boat or kayak. This is a good area and has some of the deepest water in the Pumicestone Passage.
The cod hole is a top spot to fish in the evening when all the noisemakers have called it quits for the day. Some big bream hang around this area waiting to ambush bait fish.
Areas like the Boardwalk in Caloundra, Happy Valley and Military Jetty are all spots that hold fish around the change of the tides and into the evenings. The Gemini Towers pontoon along the Esplanade in Golden Beach is a top spot to get some smaller bream for the kids over the coming months. It is such a quiet area to fish with a patrolled swimming area only a short distance away. The area is a natural catchment for bigger fish, as you will discover upon your arrival.
Access to a lot of the beaches has been spoilt because of large masses of sand being washed away on high tides and heavy seas of late. Noosa North Shore is worth a shot for some big dart and tailor this month and it will be your last positive chance to get amongst them this season. The beaches around the Wurtulla Strip have good bream and some tailor around the 2kg mark. Low tide in the morning or on dusk has proven to be the better time to have a crack at them. Stripes of fish or herring will keep the pickers at bay long enough to get a strong bite. Some fishermen prefer paternoster rigs and they work a treat on the bream and dart. Pilchard tails and pippies are good baits to try on these rigs.
Overall it’s a good month to be fishing on the Sunshine Coast with plenty of options and hopefully better weather conditions for offshore anglers. The estuaries will be full of crabs so get your pots out this month. Have Fun!Reads: 1225