Ultimate light tackle sport fish
  |  First Published: August 2013

Pound for pound, estuary trevally are one of the hardest fighting fish, especially when you hook them on light gear! And winter is the best time of year to fish southeast coast estuaries for various trevally species, with the Noosa and Maroochy rivers being prime locations for some light tackle fun.

Being a predatory fish, finding trevally is easy, the key to success is finding the bait. Some well-known places that hold good quantities of bait include the cod hole in the Maroochy River and Noosa’s Woods Bays.

Another thing to keep in mind when you’re chasing trevally is the tides and time of day. Generally, early mornings and late afternoons are the best time to chase these fish, but with the right tides, they will feed all day. In the local systems, we’ve found the run-out tide to be the most productive, and couple that with a sunrise or sunset and you’ve got a pretty good recipe for success!

Generally, trevally aren’t fussy feeders, pretty much any good baitfish or prawn presentation will get some interest. However, if you want to maximise your chances of getting some bigger models, matching the lure to the baitfish is essential. A common misconception is surface poppers are the best way to catch trevally, and while they do catch fish, soft plastics have proved to be the most effective way to target them. A couple of local favourites include the Gladiator Smash Baits Prawn, Izumi Gastronomics and 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers. When choosing the appropriate lure colour, try and aim for natural colours, such as clears and silvers in clean water, and golds and other bright colours when the water is dirty.

On the beaches, tailor are schooling up along Noosa’s North shore, and in the coming weeks expect to see some good sized models to come through. When you are fishing for tailor, try and avoid metal trace as you will hook less fish! With the latest range of tough fluorocarbon lines available, a small ‘bite leader’ is far more productive, and it also gives you a good chance to tangle with some of the other, more cautious beach species, such as mulloway.

Big bream are also on the move, and the various rocky headlands around the Sunshine Coast are prime locations to target these clean, silver fish! As with all rock fishing, be careful around these rocks as all too often a freak wave can cause serious injury. All that aside, when you are up on the rocks, the key to consistently catching these big bream is berley. Make a habit of throwing handfuls of a mix of oily fish, bread, sand and berley pellets stirred up in a bucket out every 5-10 minutes.

Having good bait is also important for fishing this area, and a small chunk of mullet fillet rigged on a light gauge, chemically sharpened hook is a very popular option. Choosing the right sinker size helps as well, and generally, the lightest you can get away with, the better.

Winter is also prime time to fish the various reefs around the Sunshine coast, with some of the best fishing happening in close proximity to the bar! North Reef is a great place to target snapper, and its deep, gravelly bottom is the perfect ground for big snapper.

When you first arrive at a place like North Reef, it pays to have a look around with your depth sounder. After you’ve found a good show of fish and bait, getting them to bite is next! Different fish feed at different stages of the tide, and if the patch of fish you’re sitting on isn’t feeding, wait for the tide to change and they will usually start feeding!

Another fish that loves feeding around the tide change is mulloway. At this time of year big schools of these impressive fish will be moving in on most of the major reefs, and they usually aren’t small either! Mulloway love big soft plastics, and often a very slow approach is very effective. Slow, gentle lifts of your rod tip and plenty of pauses are a great way to work your lures. Some popular types include Gulp 7” jerk shads and Z-Man 9” GrubZ.

All in all, winter is an excellent time to get out there and wet a line, and if you’re after up-to-date fishing and bar reports to get you motivated on those cool winter mornings, visit www.fishingnoosa.com.au ! If you haven’t visited the Sunshine Coast before, or if you just want the best advice and service, come in and visit the friendly team at Davo’s Compleat Angler Noosa or the newly opened Davo’s North Shore in Marcoola. Tight lines and bent spines!


Captain Doug and his good buddy Joe Pizarro won the $50 Davo's Fish of the Week prize with this 31.5kg Spaniard from North Reef.


Ian Tagg tempted this 48cm mangrove jack with a Gladiator Prawn lure while on a night fish in the Woods Bays.


Max and Oscar from Dalby with a 50cm and 59cm golden trevally they boated at the river mouth while on a Noosa River Fishing Safari.

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