Snap back on track
  |  First Published: June 2014

The winter species are in full swing with some amazing reports of quality snapper and other reefies being caught right across the many reefs on the Sunshine Coast. The weather came on with a cold front that nearly froze everyone and, with that, everything changed around the area. The good news is that the fish are in close at the moment so long trips in the cool night air can be avoided if you know the spots to target.

Winter is always the time to concentrate on using berley, as when you are fishing without it you may go home empty-handed. Berley can consist of last trip’s left-over bait or a combination of tuna oil, chook pellets and fish pieces. Nearly every fisho I have met enjoy their own recipes, and that’s ok as long as you use it!

There are a mixture of other reef species taking baits and they include sweetlip, red throat emperor, morwong and tuskfish. The deeper areas around the Barwon Banks and Wide Caloundra are producing big catches but you will need to work on tide changes and watch your moon phase for best results.

There are still longtail tuna schools working the shallow waters in the bay around Mooloolaba so if you have a little spare time in the afternoon or before work head out to get into a few fighters. Chrome slugs are still the best option for catching them while they are in a feeding frenzy and 30g are one of the best weights.

Murphys Reef and the Gneerings are an easy target and not too far out for an evening fish at the moment. Start your berley trail about 45 minutes before dusk and the fish should hit you hard as the sun disappears over the horizon. Squid can be caught to use as fresh or live bait around Old Women’s Island so pack a squid jig every time you head offshore this month.

If you cannot get out in a boat then fish along the rock wall at Mooloolaba harbour off the rocks in the evenings for mulloway, bream and hairtail. The hairtail have been really showing up in big numbers lately and although they are not as big as our southern counterparts they are fun to catch. Another good spot is to fish the pontoons and jetties around the trawlers and longliners as they hold plenty of fish.

Prawns are another great target on the full moon and so far the season has been rewarding, especially in the Pumicestone Passage around the many weed beds.

The boardwalk in Caloundra is the spot for bream and tailor and by fishing around Happy Valley you can catch whiting, flathead and a number of surf species, including dart and mulloway. Winter brings in the bigger bream and many larger predators to the estuaries.

Mulloway are a big target and will take a live mullet or a hook filled with juicy bloodworms. Fishing for mulloway is much more productive in the evenings or into the wee hours of the morning when things are quiet and there are plenty of bait around like herring and poddy mullet.

Target areas like the Pelican Waters Bridge and Military Jetty will reward you if you are persistent. Try small hardbodied lures like the Mini Micro Mullet or any blades for catching bream and chopper tailor. The early mornings see chopper tailor smashing the smooth surface water as they feed on the bait schools, a small popper is terrific for catching them or try a smaller metal slug around 10g.

The whiting have slowly started to swim in larger schools and I would be targeting the weed beds that run south along Bells Creek working just off the channel. Yabbies, peeled prawns or worms are the number one baits to use to get a feed of whiting. Other areas like the deeper waters over near the Blue Hole are good whiting spots particularly during the ebb tide period.

The beaches are the target for this month and if the cool weather continues tailor, mulloway and bream are all going to be on the bite. A trip to Noosa North Shore will be right on the cards if you have the time during June and July. The Wurtulla Strip of beaches is also worth a look during the low tide of the day. You will need to work out where the best holes are to fish prior to the evening tide. At present there are no real gutters running along there not like up at Noosa.

So this month is the time to target snapper offshore and to fish the estuaries for mulloway and bream. For my money I will be getting into the snapper but also chasing tailor in the evenings with pilchards and fresh mullet strips on my gang hooks. As mentioned, fresh baits or live baits are best for the bigger fish so take the time and catch your own livies this month.

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