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School, spotted or Spanish – take your pick!
  |  First Published: November 2015



With the warmer weather approaching, the pelagic season is up and running. Pelagics will start to arrive in big numbers as the warm currents make their way down the coast. School and spotted mackerel are always the first to arrive and are already being caught, larger spotted and Spanish mackerel are expected in the coming weeks – with the larger Spanish mackerel a little later in the year.

Reefs

Try to focus your efforts around reef systems like Sunshine and North Reef, the edges of the larger reefs are perfect. For those in the larger craft Barwon Banks and Double Island are also great places to target mackerel. The past couple of months have seen large schools of baitfish congregating along the Sunshine Coast encouraging good schools of pelagics to engage in a feeding frenzy.

There are a number of ways to target pelagics successfully; one of the most common is to troll hardbody lures like the Strada HD Tracka’s and Zerek PelagicZ. These lures are best trolled between 4-8 knots. One of the most important tools in the boat is a set of binoculars – get the first mate to keep an eye on the horizon for bird activity. This indicates bait forced to the surface by pelagics feeding underneath and is a great time to get your slugs out. Try to match the size with the bait that you're seeing in the water, a long cast and a fast retrieve should see a good result.

Tuna are also plentiful at the moment with longtail and mac tuna in the mix. On the bottom, activity is improving with coral trout really starting to come on the bite. Other species you are likely to see are spangled emperor, venus tusk fish, the odd snapper, mowong, cobia, Maori cod, and pearl perch from the deeper reefs. The best advice to give when fishing soft plastics is to fish hard to the bottom, using elevator heads will give you that extra weight on the deeper reefs, teamed up with soft plastics like the Zman Jerk sheds in the 7” or the 9” grubs.

Another great way to target reef fish is micro jigging. These jigs are designed to flutter down and look like an injured baitfish. There are a great many micro jigs on the market at the moment, but my personal favourite is the Shimano Colt Sniper – they come in a huge range of colours and weights perfect for the shallower reefs. To be really successful with micro jigs you also have to have the right outfit. Jigging rods are designed using high quality graphite blanks, alconite guides with the reel seat set a little higher on the blank to give you better leverage on the fish. The Gomoku range of rods hit the market a few years back and have been recently updated with the Nero range, team this up with a quality 4000 to 5000 series reel and you have the perfect outfit.

Rivers

In the Noosa River the summer season also means the arrival of those very tasty summer whiting, areas like the Dog Beach, the Frying Pan, and even Gympie Terrace are seeing some real elbow slappers. Fresh bait is the key with blood worms, yabbies, and pippies all doing the job. If you can’t get hold of live baits, peeled prawns are also a good option.

Soft plastics offer another succesful route. Marukyu Isome worms have been one of the standouts, one way to use them is rigged on a worm hook with a running sinker, but you can also put them on a hidden weight jig head. Make sure you are not stingy and use a whole worm on the hook, this give the impression of a worm drifting in the current.

Another great fish that is equally good on the table is the mangrove jack. A lot of river anglers in Noosa judge their whole summer season on how many jacks they can bag. A lot of anglers tend to head up between the lakes to target jack but I like working the structure that is down around the Noosa Sound. There are a multitude of jetties and pontoons around this area where these ambushers love to call home. You would be lucky to see one during the day but at night everything changes – stealth is the key – using the electric motor on the boat or just drifting with very little light and of course little or no noise. Casting soft plastics is one way to target them but I like to use suspending hardbody lures. The Maria Twitchbait is one of my favourites along with the Rapala clacking minnow also in the same size. If there is a lot of surface action, the Luckycraft Sammy is first out of the tackle box. You do have to upsize a little on the line and leader as they will try to brick you on any structure they can.

For all the latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au for up to date bar and fishing reports. Don’t forget to drop into Davo’s Tackle World Noosa or Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola to find out where the fish are biting, and remember tight line and bent spines!

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