Out of the fire into the ‘Frying Pan’
  |  First Published: February 2016

With the rush of the school holidays over, the amount of boat traffic on the Noosa River has dropped. At the mouth of the river, the ‘Frying Pan’ is the place to get a great feed of summer whiting. Fishing for whiting on surface lures has to be some of the best fun you can have standing up; these feisty little fish punch well above their weight and are great fun on light gear.

The rod is all-important and a 2-4lb rod with light braided line of 2-4lb is a great way to start. Fluorocarbon leader is an absolute must, coupled with a good range of poppers and surface-walkers is the way to go. The best grounds are the shallow sand banks and bars on the incoming tide, with the wind at your back you will be able to cover a lot more ground. The wind is all important, if the surface has no ripple the fish won’t move up onto the banks to feed for fear of being spotted from above and becoming a sea bird’s lunch.

Sinking poppers are excellent, and the Bassday Crystal is always the first one out of the tacklebox for me. The River2Sea Bubble Pop in the 45mm is a true finesse popper and when worked properly creates a great bubble trail. Again, the blip and pause method is by far the most productive. The ‘walk-the-dog’ method is also another great technique. A couple of my favourites are the Bassday Sugapen in the 70mm size and the Atomic K9 in the 60mm Orange Wander. Don’t forget your size and bag limits when hunting whiting, as 23cm is legal with a bag limit of 30 fish.

Elsewhere in the river, Woods Bays has been the place to be, with some nice tailor and trevally reported chasing the bait in on the incoming tide. Soft plastics and pilchards have been responsible for a lot of the captures, and surface lures first thing in the morning have also worked a treat.

Upriver, the jacks are also out to play – a bit of fresh water in the system tends to upset the baitfish, and the jacks can’t help themselves. Surface and suspending lures along the edges first thing in the morning and diving lures, paddle vibes and soft plastic in the deeper water as the sun rises is the way to target the red devils. If we get some rain over the coming month the fresh will make its way down the system and the crabs will also head downstream looking for a little more salt. This is the time to get the pots out; they are out of the holes and on the move! There is nothing more attractive to a muddy than a bit of fresh mullet. Remember the rules – your bag limit is 10 per person, you can only take the bucks and they must make size at 15cm across the carapace.

With light wind and moderate swells, the offshore crew have had a great time over the last couple of months. Jew Shoal has been a hot spot for mackerel as well as reef fish like sweetlip and snapper. Sunshine Reef has also seen some great fish come over the side, and Spanish and spotted mackerel have been the main targets with small slugs doing most of the damage. Baits on the bottom get some nice snapper and sweetlip. Up towards Double Island there have been some stonker snapper with pearl perch and cobia also in the mix. North Reef has seen anglers get a great bag including big Spanish, Maori cod and longtail tuna.

Trolled lures are a great way to target pelagics. The Samaki Pacemakers and the Zerek Bluewater limited are a couple of lures you should take a look at if you are heading offshore. Both these lures can be trolled up to 12 knots and come in a great range of colours. The good old coral trout has also featured high on a lot of anglers’ hit lists – to be successful with trout you have to fish close to the reef, so forget the paternoster rig and use a running sinker rig. Yes, you will lose a bit of gear but you will also improve your hook-up rate. Sunshine Reef has been the most popular for trout but Chardons Reef also produces some great fish.

On the beach, the tailor just keep coming. We see big old 4kg+ fish turn up every year. They are not there in numbers but may make more of a defined appearance through the month. Noosa’s North Shore is one of the hot spots, with the area north of Teewah the prime area. Mulloway are high on the hit list of most beach anglers, and the southern beaches around Coolum and Marcoola have seen some good captures. Fresh mullet, local squid and large clumps of beach worms have all made their mark. Fishing any of the gutters on the beach will have you onto dart, whiting, bream and flathead. Cast to the back of the gutter and roll the bait back into the gutter under the white water. Try prawns, worms, small pillies or flesh baits like mullet and salted bonito.

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.

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