Remember, if you have to measure it, it’s not worth keeping!
  |  First Published: May 2016

April saw the water temperature reach above 26°C, and even higher in some areas across our coast. Consistent catches of Spanish and spotted mackerel have been recorded, an array of tuna species including yellowfin, longtail and mac are also in strong numbers. We have noticed a reduction in live bait supplies, due to the pelagic species taking their fair share.

Although I do emphasise live bait as a great method, you will definitely entice your target species with fresh cut or flesh baits. Snapper have started to move in a little closer and hopefully it’s only a matter of time until the water temperatures decline so we can all save a few bucks on the fuel bill and fish the closer reefs of Caloundra and Mooloolaba. The Barwon Banks has been a little hot and cold lately, but some quality sought after species such as tuskfish, pearl perch, hussar and a variety of the emperor family have been caught around the full and new moon phases. May almost always allows the opportunity to venture out in the afternoon. We are blessed with sunset, high tide change combinations to improve the chance to land a trophy snapper or pearl perch. Take the time to set up anchor on your hot spot and give yourself plenty of time to establish a good berley trail well before the sun disappears to improve your chances for that catch of a lifetime. It may take some time for a berley trail to work, so be patient, and if the time is right, the switch will flick.

My favourite bait to catch snapper on is squid, and although many of the tackle shops across the Sunshine Coast have fresh squid you cannot beat catching you own. It’s not difficult to catch squid, work around moon phases and tide changes in much the same fashion as you would if you were chasing a feed of fish. I like to fish for squid in the afternoon into sunset for best results. I try an assortment of jigs; it is always interesting to try different sizes and colours. Don’t keep all of your squid for bait though, as they are also very tasty on the dinner plate!

I have had reports on the local known wrecks across the Sunshine Coast and know that good catches of snapper, pearl perch, kingfish and amberjack have been welcomed aboard by happy boaties. When approaching a boatie fishing a wreck, it’s considerate to ask if it’s alright to join the queue? Most of the time you’ll get the all clear, just make sure to give each other bubble space and your turn will come.

Wide Caloundra has fished considerably well for reef species, which will only improve through May. There are a number of isolated bommies and pinnacles in this area, along with a couple of well-known wrecks to try your luck. May is a good time of year around wide Caloundra to find large pearl perch, otherwise known as the chicken of the sea. They generally school up, so once you find a patch it doesn’t take long to bag your limit. Please remember to check all sizes and limits of your catch. My philosophy is if you have to measure it, it’s not worth keeping.

Moving out of the deep blue and into the estuaries of the beautiful Sunshine Coast we’ve had reports of big quality bream in numbers caught recently. The canal systems from Pelican Waters, Kawana and right through to Noosa are the best places to start. A lot of people lucky enough to live on the canals have jetties and feed their local bream regularly. I’m sure if you cast a soft plastic or hardbody around these areas you would be sure to get a bend in the rod! Chopper tailor are also caught around jetties and pontoons, as they feed on herring and mullet that call these areas home. The Pelican Waters Bridge and military jetty are very productive spots around tide changes and dynamite at night. The Caloundra Boardwalk is definitely worth a try and is best fished on tide changes as it can have a very strong tidal flow and it can be quite difficult to hold bottom when fished between the tides.

The Pumicestone Passage has a lot of shallow sand banks that hold quality whiting and flathead so use those polarised sunglasses and identify the shallow hot spots. Another tip is take the time to look around at low tide and remember where the sand banks are when you happen to fish a high tide. A cast net is a very useful piece of fishing equipment to own and master.

I know I ramble on about fresh is best, but fresh is best! There are plenty of yabbies and prawns around at the moment, which make amazing bream baits. There have been reports of dart, flathead, and whiting caught on the beaches. Again apply fresh baits, yabbies or prawns to your hooks for best results. As the water cools down in May, the mulloway and tailor will start to cruise the gutters and night is the best time to target these species.

I’m getting excited and so should you because it’s May and the snapper are not far away. Stay safe and bend those rods!

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