|  First Published: February 2008

The run of bad weather during the last weeks of December and into 2008 had a lot of holiday makers keen to get out to the reefs and see what effect the cyclonic weather had on the fish.

The weather during that period was, at times, bad enough to not even attempt a shot in the estuaries without heaps of discomfort. True to nature things did improve but a little too late for most fishos who planned a great holiday in search of the big one.

Once the weather improved and the debris from the wild storms cleared the Sunshine Coast started to get back to some sort of normality. Most of the normal holes and gutter around the place had been changed directly by pounding seas and it was only a matter of getting out and searching for what was now around before we started to get back in to the bream, trevally, dart and whiting.

The Wurtulla Strip had suffered some fairly severe erosion forming some long, deep gutters in close on the high tides. The protected beaches faired the best with Kings and Moffat still fishable until the strong easterlies came on. Luckily though, the sweetlip were on the bite in reasonable numbers along with bream towards the end of January which made for some interesting fishing.

The rocks around Kings and Bulcock beaches provided some good action with squire, tarwhine, trevally, bream and chopper tailor being caught on the ebbing tides. The mouth of Caloundra Bar has been the spot in the early mornings with poppers to hook a few trevally and an occasional queenfish and the fishing, even though it slowed for a couple of weeks, saw the Boardwalk fire again with flathead, bream and queenies being taken throughout January.

I would have to say that the mangrove jack have been getting most of the news of late with some fantastic fish being taken around the many pontoons, bridges, creeks and pylons around the Sunshine Coast. Down the back of Bells and Coochin creeks the bigger 3kg+ fish have been taken consistently on live baits and lures. Working the mangrove edges during the low tide is also a great way to nail these fighters and although you may not be able to see them, they will be lurking in and around the root systems and snags or rocky outcrops. The shallow diving hard bodied lures have been the best by far, well above soft plastics, but big live prawns and smaller poddy mullet will never let you down. Overall the early summer run within the estuaries has been good and given anglers plenty to talk about.

The wider run on marlin has been slower than usual but there has been a good number of sailfish taking swimming baits and nudging the teasers. The biggest disappointment has been wahoo with numbers down on the last two seasons but then that could be due to plenty of different reasons.

When one species slows then another always steps up and this time dolphinfish have really come to the plate. They have been taken in and around Point Cartwright and Murphy’s Reef on floating pilchards. Of course there are the more consistent places to try for them but who cares when they are around they are around in numbers so get in to them. The FADs are another great spot to have a crack at them along with heaps of other species. More over fishing with floating pilchards out the front of Mooloolaba and Caloundra can have you hooked up to any number of pelagics including a variety of mackerel, tuna, kingfish, amberjack and cobia.

Taking a shot at trolling for them is another way to hook up but I love trolling when the tuna are around and then whacking out the floaters and baits at certain depths to pick up the totally mad big ones that lurk around. Getting busted off by the one that you can only imagine or guess at still holds a great deal of satisfaction, particularly after an epic struggle.

Wide waters over the 120m mark have some incredible snapper and pearlies still on offer and they will stay around now with the cooler weather from the run of rain and storms we have enjoyed. The pearlies have been an average size this summer so far, a little down on previous seasons as far as size goes but the numbers have been terrific. Cobia hung on for a long time and the run has really not stopped with plenty of fish still being taken well over the 20kg mark.

The Barwon Banks will be worth a shot and I would start at the shallow areas mid banks in the very early mornings for some snapper and red emperor. As the sun comes up move to the mid waters of 60-80m and begin targeting some amberjack and deeper running schools of snapper. When the sun reaches the hot time then out come the lures and trolling for some tuna, bonito and a few pelagics to stock up on bait until the next tidal run sees me hit a special spot before heading back in.

A night session in closer around Murphy’s, Caloundra 12 Mile or 7 Mile reefs would be on the cards for a making tide close to dusk. Arriving at least one hour earlier than fishing time is essential so that you have time to get your position right and get the berley out working hard to bring the schools around your area. Most times that I have pulled up where there was a good show of fish, they are all undersize and commonly known as bait thieves. So try something different - you may well be surprised. Of course if you are lucky enough to find a bait school that is holding in a certain position then fish that for as long as you can making sure that your baits are getting to where the fish are feeding within the school.

The Inner and Outer Gneerings have been a surprise with plenty of sweetlip and red throats being taken. Always good for a feed is a trip out to the blinker and working the small patchy reefs around the area. Fingermark, sweetlip, jack and cod have been about and should hang there for a few weeks to come.

As the weather starts to come back a little we will start to see the bigger Spaniards coming in to play and the boys will again be out chasing them around Currimundi and Rapers Shoal or the mackerel run. The old spoil grounds out from Caloundra normally hold a few and it is not a bad spot to target some longtail tuna when they are feeding. Spotties have had a good run but more have been taken using floating baits to trolling around after them at a slow pace. Things will certainly get hopping as February comes in to play and you will see plenty of monster mackerel being weighed in around the tackle stores. The bottom bashers will continue to enjoy catches of cod, pearlies, snapper, gold spot, trag and heaps of others. The fly boys will be out chasing the bait schools that are chopping up the water and the weather should hold to let us enjoy some of the best fishing around. Have Fun!

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