Pelagic pandemonium for the New Year
  |  First Published: December 2014

If you had any doubts that summer was going to be quiet then I am sure your opinion has changed. Mackerel and tuna are everywhere at the moment along with a large range of pelagics making every angler anxious to get out on the water. From the first day of summer, we just knew we were in for something special this season and so far each trip just confirms just how good things will be.

Caloundra Wide has been the hot spot with any number of small marlin, mackerel, mahimahi and wahoo attacking baits or hardbodied lures. Best bet is to get some live yakkas or slimey mackerel to rig up on a slow troll or set a spread of lures and speed it up a bit. Personally, I enjoy either method but the old lures sure come in handy when live bait are difficult to find. The change of the tides is one of the best times to target the species and remember, when there is run the fish will also be active.

Tuna schools have kept anglers busy on the inner reef systems with the Gneerings being one of the most outstanding. As the sun comes up the action really turns hot and the birds begin targeting the bait schools and the tuna come on bringing the larger predators into play. Flocks of working birds are a great way to find mackerel and other species and the way to do this is to work ahead of the birds, not through them. There is truly nothing more annoying than anglers who come flying into a feeding mass and send them all deep. Remember to judge which way the school is heading, get in front of it and wait for it to come to you. This is where electric motors come into their own.

The early morning tide changes are proving productive and the same can be said for the evening changes close to sunset. These times really bring on the fish and the good news is there is no need to travel too far out to get amongst the many varieties of reef species.

Pearl perch and tuskfish have been the most sort after species around the pinnacles and drop offs and between the launch area out from Mooloolaba through to the 9-mile buoy, there would be at least 10 areas where you can catch reef fish in good numbers. Most of these would be within 5km of the harbour.

The wider areas offshore like the Baron Banks offer any number of opportunities for anglers. Shallow areas through to deeper spots around the 60-85m bring into play large kingfish, amberjack and other hard-pulling pelagics. The Three Sisters has mackerel, mahimahi and other species around the area and these include some nice snapper and big pearlies.

So offshore is running hot and if you have brought your boat up for a holiday fishing session you will not go home disappointed. There are also plenty of areas north of Old Women Island like Sunshine Reef and further up to the areas around Noosa that can be worth fishing. So spend some time looking around this summer.

The estuaries have been hot and cold but that is normally due to the noisy traffic throughout the day. It is best to plan your fishing trip around those times or plan to work the areas that are well out of the way. Believe me, the fish don’t get up and leave because of the noise; they will just find a nice deep hole away from the area so they don’t get bothered by it. So we have to be smarter and work out where they would move to and fish those areas productively. You may need to try 2-3 different lures or 3-4 different colours to make them bite. Whether you are fishing for flathead or bream, if something isn’t working, try another idea.

Military Jetty and Pelican Waters canal areas have bream and most of those are around the pontoon areas. Blades and small grubs on light 1/16 or 1/32oz jigheads present the best and offer a nice natural drop holding in the target zone for longer. Remember, you don’t have to wind away from the strike zone in the first few seconds. Let your lure work the area for as long as possible.

The channel areas around the Blue Hole and through to the Caloundra Bar are worth working for queenfish and trevally. Big poppers in the early mornings and last light can be productive as can smaller poppers before first light for whiting and bream.

The flats along the Golden Beach Strip are always worth fishing for whiting and bait like yabbies and worms will work the best around there. There are also plenty of areas where you can get live herring in a cast net. The bridges and pontoons around the Pumicetone Passage are all good target areas for them. Pike are congregating around the Boardwalk at the moment and apart from being terrific bait they are great fun to catch for the kids. Use a small hook and no weight for best results just a small strip of fish like herring or mullet.

There are plenty of options for the estuary angler but the best up to date advice can always be found at your local tackle store. Be patient and courteous this summer and plan your trip carefully. Plenty of water and lots of sunscreen is the order of the day on the Sunshine Coast.

Work the offshore reefs in the early mornings and late afternoons for best results on the reef species. The pelagics are best sort after a little later in the morning as the sun rises and use the working birds to guide you on to them. Troll the areas around the Gneerings, Murphys, Currimundi and other reefs for best results. The estuaries have plenty of options and the bread and butter species like whiting, flathead and bream are all biting.

Enjoy the New Year and get some fish in your esky. Have Fun!

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