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Heading towards the end of the season
  |  First Published: March 2014



If there was one word that we could use to describe the summer weather it would have been ‘windy’. It’s funny how it can put a bit of a dampener on the fishing but the positive side is that the fish are just waiting for a good feed so it has its advantages.

Windy or not, the pelagics have been around in strong numbers this season and as summer slowly slips away from us we are already planning the winter attack. Spotty mackerel have really turned it on recently with strong schools smashing the bait schools across the Sunshine Coast. Whether it was small frogmouth pilchards, slimey mackerel or schools of yakkas, the spotty mackerel were never far behind. Even the Spanish mackerel were on and averaged around 8kg this season with some real crackers around 25kg being caught.

The wider reef areas around the top end of the Barwon Banks is the place to target larger pelagics like yellowtail kingfish and amberjack. Depths in these areas vary from 80-130m so take strong equipment. Mixed in with them have been good numbers of big snapper and pearl perch. The Pinnacles situated in 85m of water in the middle of the banks has held schools of mahi mahi and when they are not smashing a livie they are chasing trolled hard bodied lures. Wide Caloundra has enjoyed plenty of wahoo this season and although they have slowed right down now the winter change will bring on the snapper in the next few months.

There will still be the opportunity to chase a few late tuna schools this month feeding on the remaining bait schools provided the weather has remained warm. Sweetlip are still being caught around the outer Gneerings and on the small patches around the Mooloolaba Beacon. Murphys is the spot to be running out to this month for an early morning fish or late evening on the change of the tide. Emperor, pearl perch, tuskfish and squire will all be out there when the conditions are right.

The beaches are starting to enjoy a run of bream and early mulloway signs have been good to this point. Dart, whiting and flathead are all on the cards for those prepared to target the tidal changes and use the local area bait - either worms or pippies. Soldier crabs are also a good whiting and bream bait but a 5/0 circle hook full of fresh wriggling beach worms will attract any tailor or mulloway with an appetite. Fishing the northern tip of Bribie Island will reward you with plenty of whiting at the moment but you will need a boat or kayak to get across there. The Wurtulla Strip of beach access is a good place to start looking for a hole to fish, so a visit through the day makes things easier later on. If you want to head further north then check out the accesses between Marcoola and Coolum as there are plenty of spots to choose from.

The estuaries are still slow but the locals are on the ball catching some quality whiting to 650g and bream within the Pumicestone Passage. The pontoon opposite Gemini Towers still has bream on the top of the tide but the majority are only half a kilo at best, still, great fun for the kids and to hone in your plastic skills. Popping for whiting throughout the day in the passage has proven to be fruitful with a two hour session normally yielding around half a dozen fish. Smaller flathead just love a shot at something skipping along the surface, as do bream, so you just never know. I guess that is what makes fishing so much fun. Military Jetty and the bridge at the entrance of the Pelican Waters canal system are two cracking spots to fish because almost anything can take a bait at any time. We have seen some monster mackerel, mulloway and other species feeding around the bridge while we gather our bait and the reason not so many are caught is because they are so well feed. Only recently a huge barramundi was caught in this spot so you just never know.

The mouth of the Caloundra Bar has some deep water but the tide just pours through on the change making it difficult to fish. The idea is not to weigh down your bait so that you can’t feel the bite, but to look for the eddies and back wash areas where bigger fish will lie in wait. Most of the eddies run around to the area within Happy Valley but be warned there are a lot of hidden rocky reefs that are around the area and you will lose a fait bit of gear if you are not sure where they are.

The Parrearra Channel area is the spot to try your small hard bodied lures or blades. It is an area that holds hundreds of bream which are feed everyday by the locals so it keeps them in the area. McKenzie’s bridge boat ramp is normally busy but a good option in heavy winds because you can run up the Mooloolah River set a few pots and catch some jack while you wait. Currimundi Lake is another option this month for whiting and smaller bream but fish around the mouth in the deeper water areas for best results.

March is a good month for offshore, beach and estuary anglers with a large variety of fish on offer across the Sunshine Coast. Dust the cobwebs of the beach rods because we are overdue for a good run of tailor and mulloway and although it’s a little early to get excited yet it’s good to be ready for whatever might happen.

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