This time of the year is when the big boys come out to play. Big Spanish, big wahoo and big tuna, all of which can be a real handful.
Preparation is the key if you are planning a trip offshore chasing big pelagics. First and foremost is the weather; a light south easter is the best, with a good morning tide and moderate swell. Next is the gear; where do you start? A personal favourite for me is the Halco Laser Pro— they come in a great range of colours, will run at speed, and you can also get them in a good depth range. Next in the tackle box is a good range of slugs. In this case I look for the River2sea Ultra Flash, with a huge range of colours weights and sizes as well as being armed with good hooks, they are the business. Soft plastics, skirted bait rigs, ganged hooks and a range of rigs for floaters and we are almost there. Last but probably most important is a good set of binoculars, as these are essential for spotting bird activity on the surface. Some 15kg line on a Baitrunner and 24kg on the overhead with a good quality leader and we’re all set.
Plan to be up before dawn and have the boat on the water at first light. Crossing the bar in the dark rattles me a bit, so I always wait for first light. Depending on the day I will head for Sunshine Reef, with the first mate keeping an eye out for bird activity and another eye on the sounder looking for bait.
If you spot a school of bait on the surface, don’t go roaring up and scare the living daylights out of it, or think you are doing the right thing by trolling your lures right through the middle. More often than not you will put the wind up them and they will be off. Just pull up and check which way they are moving; it may be tide-related or the feeding fish underneath pushing them along. Position the boat so they will slowly move towards you. Then it’s out with the slugs and cast into the school of bait. A fast retrieve and with a bit of luck it will be on for young and old.
If things are a little quiet on the surface front and you are on your favourite reef working the dropoffs with trolled lures or skirted baits, if all else fails the good old floater method has been working well. The pelagics at this time of the year can be amazing and well worth the effort.
There have been some great coral trout, along with sweetlip, cobia and the odd snapper on the bottom at Sunshine Reef. If you are heading for the northern reefs, Double Island has been really producing the goods; big knobby snapper and pearl perch have both been on the menu, along with a great range of pelagics. Davo’s Tackle World in Noosa has some great anglers working there; these guys live and breathe the local scene, so have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to point you in the right direction.
In the rivers, the jacks are most definitely on the chew. In the Maroochy River, the area up past Coolum Creek to the Cane Bridge has been the most productive. Try deep diving hardbodies trolled along the dropoffs and rocky ledges, while in the deeper holes give paddle tail vibes like River2Sea Fish Candy a go. The brighter colours have been getting the best results.
Further downriver, the Cod Hole has again come up with the goods, with some large flathead and trevally on the run-in tide. In the Noosa River, the mouth has again been one of the hotspots; this is an amazing land based fishing spot and has a great variety of fish to catch. It boasts everything from tailor to flathead as well as mulloway, jacks, and a wide variety of trevally, then there is the bread-and butter species like whiting and bream available for the taking. The run-out tide is one of the best times to plan your attack and if you can time it with an early morning or late afternoon, then all the better.
Slugs, soft plastics, dead and live baits have all been responsible for some great captures over the last month. Heading upriver, the area around Gympie Terrace is a favourite for families, and with a tub of worms or yabbies the kids will soon be catching a feed. Up the river further, the area known as The Ski Run has again produced some sensational lizards. The way the river runs down around the island in this area creates the perfect place for these ambush predators to lay in wait. A great way to target a nice flattie is to go upriver and drift back with the tide, making sure your lure, soft plastic or bait is fished hard to the bottom. A little bit of sand or mud disturbance seems to fire these fish up, as well as pulling the bait right past their noses.
Even further upriver, the jack specialists have been on fire. These anglers measure their whole year on that one great mangrove jack, and the Noosa River certainly comes up with the goods. The red devils have been in fine form, ambushing lures and live baits with gusto. The snaggy edges and rocky outcrops that these fish call home can also be the undoing of many an angler, To win the battle, braided lines, heaver leader, sharp hooks, and even sharper reactions are the key.
Now for all the latest information, log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au for up to date bar and fishing reports, and don’t forget to drop into Davo’s Tackle World Noosa or Davo’s Northshore Bait and Tackle at Marcoola to find out where the fish are biting.