Pelagic parade off Caloundra
  |  First Published: December 2015

The Sunshine Coast has enjoyed a seasonal run of pelagics making the prospects of a great summer season all is that more stronger. With marlin being taken at Caloundra Wide and mackerel running across the Barwon Banks it seems that anglers will truly enjoy the Christmas holiday break this year.

Every summer break the ranks of fishers swell right across the coast with thousands of holiday-makers ready to enjoy everything we have to offer. On the fishing front the local reefs such as the Gneerings, Murphys, Caloundra 5 and 7-mile all experience a strong surge of boats and keen fishers who want to experience what we enjoy all year long. Boat parking around the ramps is impossible to find on good days and ramp rage can take over. Patience is the key and by offering a helping hand to assist less experienced boaties get in or out of the water, things will move along quickly and kindly.

Schools of longtail tuna and mackerel are fighting for the many bait schools of yakkas and pilchards. This allows opportunities for trolling with livies or dead baits to catch a few or for the use of downriggers to target the rising schools early in the morning. Hardbodied deep and shallow diving lures also come into play and will account for plenty of wahoo, mackerel, tuna and other pelagics over the summer period.

The deeper reefs hold pearl perch, cod, tuskfish, emperor and iodine bream so there are just a few species to help get a feed of fresh fish. On the known wrecks, we are getting cobia, yellowtail kingfish, amberjack and other arm pulling monsters so they are worth a thought over the Christmas break.

Summer fishing is all about the bait you use and above all you should get live bait whenever you can. This is applicable to both offshore and estuary fishing. Get into your local tackle store or speak to fishers and see what’s working.

The estuaries are always tough work in over the holiday period and this is mainly due to the large amounts of powered vessels that are enjoying their recreation on a daily basis. It’s always smarter to fish the estuaries in the early part of the morning and late in the evening once everything settles down a bit.

Noise scatters fish in an area that does not have reefs to hold them around so you may work hard in the middle of the day. There are normally bream and whiting around to have a go at all the time and if you cannot get live yabbies try peeled prawns as they attract all species.

Military Jetty and the walk way around the Pelican Waters Bridge are good areas to start to target mangrove jack, bream and flathead. The canals around Pelican Waters are prime jack and bream country and as a bonus, you may land a flathead or two. There are still trevally working the channel areas and the cleaner waters are the better option when targeting them.

There’s plenty of whiting around Happy Valley and along the Golden Beach strip, but don’t discount around the deeper holes created by sand flow in the mornings or evenings for bigger whiting. Yabbies are the number one bait for whiting or blood worms if available. Please check the local regulations on gathering bait so you don’t get a fine.

Currimundi Lake is still worth a look in the summer months as it is a fantastic spot for families to swim in the warm shallow spools and mum and dad to catch some whiting. It is really popular over the holiday period but well worth a look. The canals around Kawana and Minyama always hold terrific numbers of bream. It is one of the better spots to take the kids because you will get a fish. A packet of small prawns peeled and put on the hook will reward you well. I would also recommend taking a few slices of bread with to get the fish biting.

The beaches will hold smaller dart, bream and whiting and they prefer pipis, worms or prawns to munch on. Again, the early or later parts of the day are the better times to target the beaches as they are fairly busy over the holiday period.

Further north around Coolum right through to Noosa North Shore will fill up a day trip for the family and should give you enough fish for dinner, all going well.

December is a terrific time to be enjoying the Sunshine Coast facilities and to get a few fish as well. Please remember to work in with other boats if out casting a slug at a tuna school. Don’t drive straight through them and disperse them all. Work around the edges and move ahead of them and wait to cast as they come into range.

Offshore fishing will be hot so be sure to have a good hat, sunscreen, plenty of water and suitable clothing. Enjoy the fishing, be kind to one another and be patient.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes to all.

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