The Sunshine Coast has got it all
  |  First Published: December 2013

Summer on the Sunshine Coast is one of the most exciting times of the year for fishing, with a range of options for estuary, offshore and beach anglers alike!

For the offshore anglers, coral trout have already started to come on the chew, and the good news is that the hotter it gets, the more common these tasty red fish become! Often the hardest part about coral trout fishing is knowing where to look, so here’s a couple of the most popular reefs for around the Sunshine Coast region: Inner and Outer Sunshine Reef, North Reef, Murphys Reef and both the Inner and Outer Gneerings. Coral trout are extremely aggressive feeders and will often hit your bait or lure as soon as it gets close to the bottom. As fast as they strike, they head back to their hole often snagging unwary anglers on the sharp reefy structure they call home. One way to combat this is to up your leader size (80lb +), beef up your gear to 50lb line with a short, gutsy rod and reel with a strong drag.

Coral trout aren’t the only fish the hot weather fires up. Longtail tuna, yellowfin and of course mac tuna love the warm water. These speedy fish are often seen crashing through schools of baitfish on the surface and make for great light tackle fun! One handy tool which will really help you find these fish is a pair of binoculars to scan the horizon for the flocks of birds that accompany the tuna as they feed. Often accompanying the tuna are spotted and Spanish mackerel and it pays to troll a few lures around in between spots as these speedy fish love nothing more than a shiny, flashy trolled hard body. On little trick to make finding these mackerel easier is to troll a spread of lures at various depths. Once a couple of fish have been caught on one style of lure, match the rest to a similar depth and colour and you should be able to crack a bit of a pattern.

Fishing off the beaches around the Sunny Coast is also another popular option for species like whiting, dart, bream and flathead. Noosa’s North Shore is one of the most popular beach destinations out there and getting there only requires a short barge ride across the Noosa River! Another plus about this area is you don’t need a 4x4 to get there! If you do have a 4x4 however, the stretch of beach just before Double Island Point is an excellent destination and is often the most productive section of beach for a variety of species.

In the rivers, mangrove jack are now in good numbers, with some big models being caught in the night hours. The entrance to Coolum Creek in the upper Maroochy River is already producing some nice ‘red devils’, and like the coral trout, the warmer the weather gets, the harder these fish bite! Trolling hardbodies lures around the entrance to creeks is a very popular way to target these fish, and we’ve found that lures that are gold in colour and produce plenty of action are the most effective types for jacks. Another thing to keep in mind when trolling is trolling with the current will help get your lure down deeper, while trolling against the current will make it swim shallower. By keeping this in mind you can effectively cover plenty of ground by keeping your lure in the strike zone.

Whiting are also really active this time of the year, and there’s been some really big models being caught lately. The aptly named Frying Pan in the Noosa River and the Black Banks in the Maroochy River are two areas which are consistently producing big whiting, with both live yabbies and surface lures taking their fair share of fish. The sand flats that these areas hold are full of life and venturing out early in the morning and wading these areas can be extremely productive for a wide variety of fish.

Some great lures for fishing the sand flats are surface lures up to around the 70mm size, which might seem too big for fish like whiting, but in reality they match the size of the banana prawns which are common in these areas. Bassday Sugapens, ZipBait Skinny Pops and River2Sea Bubble Pops are all popular lures which account for plenty of fish, and their shape allows for long casts which cover lots of water.

This time of year is a good time for chasing mud crabs, and the upper reaches of the Maroochy and the Noosa River account for plenty of good sized muddies. One good little tip for catching more crabs is when the river’s running clean, try putting your pots next to structure like fallen trees and steep river banks, as this is where the crabs like to hide during these cleaner periods. After a bit of rain, muddies like to come out into the open, so putting your pots in the entrances to creeks, deep holes and drops offs will hopefully see you catch more crabs!

• Next time you decide to venture to the Sunshine Coast, or you’re a local and you want to learn more, be sure to come into either Davo’s Noosa or Davo’s Marcoola and we’ll help you out with all the local knowledge you will need! If you’re after up to date fishing and bar reports along with plenty of pictures and videos, www.fishingnoosa.com.au is the ultimate website devoted to the Sunshine Coast! Tight Lines and Bent Spines!

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