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Mangrove jack can’t wait to steal your lure!
  |  First Published: January 2016



The Sunshine Coast pelagic scene has fired up, with a great number of spotted mackerel and school mackerel caught recently. As the warmer currents move down the coast, there is a strong likelihood of larger fish like Spanish mackerel, wahoo and big tuna available to catch.

It seems the later the season, the bigger the fish! Keep an eye out for bird activity, as seabirds hunt for baitfish, the old adage ‘find the bait, find the fish’ again proves its worth. Small slugs like the Sea Rock Ultra-Flash from River2sea are perfect for the job, as well as smaller soft plastics. Both the Davo’s stores have these pre rigged, otherwise the staff will be happy to show you how to rig them for the best results. It definitely pays to have a few rigged in your tackle box and ready to go when the fish are feeding.

Trolled lures have been responsible for some quality fish. We’ve had a couple of newcomers to the market with some sensational looking lures that you can troll at speed. The Pacemaker from Samaki, and the Bluewater Craft Limited from Zerek are both outstanding lures that you can troll comfortably at 10-12 knots. These come in a great range of colours, sizes and depths.

On the reef fishing side of things, coral trout, sweetlip, mahimahi and plenty of other tasty odds and ends have been caught of late, with the North Reef producing consistently. If you are thinking of heading to Chardons, have a ‘floated’ bait out the back of the boat. These baits have proven to be effective with fish such as wahoo, mahimahi and billfish cruising the surface.

The Sunshine Coast river systems are all fishing extremely well, and now that the water has warmed some of those great summer species that we love to target, have really come into their own. Summer whiting are in good numbers in all the systems with the Frying Pan in Noosa a literal hot spot. Blood and sand worms have been the primary baits, as well as yabbies and soldier crabs.

Surface lures have also achieved results, and a couple of standout lures include the Bassday Sugapen in the 70mm size and the Zerek Poparazzi in the 50mm. Mangrove jack numbers are the best we have seen in some years, alongside the promotion of catch and release – not only are there a better number, but there are better quality of fish. You will need the appropriate gear to do battle with these red devils. Quality graphite rods in the 3-5kg range, with a nice fast action is my preference, the Shimano Zodias rods are perfect for the job, but for those on a tighter budget the new Raider range from Shimano are also up to the task.

When it comes to reels you need something with a bit of grunt, 2500 series reels are about the right size whether it be Shimano, Daiwa, or one of the many other brands available. This is the area that you really should spend that little extra cash. Of course, the line is important and braided line is the only way to go. Use a proper 8 carrier braid rather than a fused braid to help when the fish snags in structure. I like to use 15lb line but most anglers will go that bit more and use 20–25lb. Tie the FG knot and use 20lb fluorocarbon leader. Jacks are an ambush predator and will tend to come out of their lair, circle the bait, and hit it on the way back to their snaggy home – this is where the quality of that reel will hold its own. Many a 50cm+ fish has been lost simply because the drag on the reel was not up to the job. Keep those drags up fairly tight and let the rod do its job, of course, a quick reaction is also key.

I get the most out of tricking a predator to take a lure. If I fish in the early morning, I tend to fish the surface, and I have an affinity with Lucky Craft Sammy’s, which work effectively with a walk the dog action. Trevally has again been a mainstay in the rivers with larger giant trevally over 50cm following bait into the rivers on the tide. The Cod Hole in the Maroochy and Woods Bays in Noosa have fished well on a full morning and evening tide.

On the beach, the Noosa Northshore still sees the odd tailor come from the beach. Whiting, flathead, bream and dart have all inhabited the closer gutters, with mulloway picked up at night or in the early morning. A great way to attack the beach is to head up there on the low tide, get to work and pull a few worms, pipis are also plentiful, and make sure you keep an eye on the gutters.

As the tide starts to move in, cast your bait to the back of the gutters and roll the bait into the gutter under the white wate. Fish love to sit in this area, waiting for a passing morsel. For the mulloway anglers, large baits like fresh mullet, fresh tailor fillets and large clumps of worms have all worked a treat.

Remember, tight lines and bent spines.

For all the best advice, the gear you need and a tip off to where the fish are biting, call into Davo’s Tackle World Noosa or visit our store in Marcoola, Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle. Check out the latest catches, fishing reports and bar crossing info at www.fishingnoosa.com.au.

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