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Rig up then rug up
  |  First Published: June 2016



The Sunshine Coast has been a little hit and miss over the last month or two due to poor weather and seasonal change. Transitional periods see a decline in water temperature from around 24-25°C and soon will drop to around 20°C and even lower.

At the moment we are still managing to rustle up Spanish mackerel, wahoo and mahimahi, but these particular species will fade out over the next month and we’ll welcome species of snapper, pearl perch, sweetlip and a variety of the emperor family on all our reefs.

There have been good reports of Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and a mixed bag of reef fish from the Barwon Banks. The Caloundra 5,7 and 12-mile reefs have welcomed catches of quality Spanish mackerel, snapper, cobia and pearl perch. The Mooloolaba Reefs off the Gneering shoals and Murphys Reef have also seen good catches of Spanish, snapper, cobia and coral trout.

As you move further north over Coolum, Peregian, and up to Sunshine Reef, your chances of landing a beautiful coral trout improve. This species cannot resist live bait, so take your time and gather a tank full. With winter just around the corner we are blessed to have the presence of humpback whales in the vicinity. Along with the whales come various hazards and risks for boaties, and unless you are lucky enough to have the latest and greatest radar/sonar technology, you may not see one of these majestic beasts until it’s too late. Always be on the look out and drop the revs down, especially if you plan to fish into the night. I get super excited when the whales arrive as cobia, one of my favourite species, also show up. These arm pulling, back breaking beasts use the whale as a host and move into our local reefs and well-known wrecks across the Sunshine Coast. Although they can be known as the pigs of the sea and take anything from squid, strip baits or pilchards, these trucks cannot resist live bait.

My method of hook-up is a double snell on 100lb with a running ball sinker connected to an 80lb braided main line and a live bait. Most of the time while I’m anchored fishing for snapper dusk or dawn, a cobia will hook itself on a floater targeted at snapper. A lot of people confuse the cobia for a shark because of its stealthy shape and fighting characteristics. But if you’re lucky enough to get one you’re in for a treat. They taste absolutely amazing on the plate. Remember to bleed well and ice it pronto for better eating quality.

As the weather cools down, the snapper will move closer in. Take the time to anchor right on the spot, establish a decent berley trail and set the trap. Use just enough leak to deploy a ganged or snelled whole pilchard down your berley trail and wait. It will happen. Always work around moon and tide phases for best results and remember to check your catch size and limits. Fish for the future! A lot of anglers including myself, prefer to fish for snapper of an afternoon and into sunset.

Always let someone know where you’re going and when you will be home. Log into the coastguard on VMF 73 and get out there and smash them!

We will see a lot of fish move into our rivers and estuaries in preparation for spawning such as bream, mullet, luderick and flathead. If you happen to land a large female flathead or bream, take care of the fish and release it as soon as you get your happy snap. If we don’t release the girls we won’t have an angling future.

The fishing on the flats will improve greatly through winter as the fish move in closer with the cooler surface temperatures. Cast small soft plastics, metal blades, soft vibes and most surface action lures to entice a successful hook-up.

The estuaries really fire and fish become more aggressive feeders around winter, so work your offering a little faster and harder around jetties, pylons and flats to get the fish going off. June is also the month to target the larger estuary predators such as mulloway, especially at night. This particular species cannot resist a live mullet, so get that cast net mastered and gather up some mulloway candy. These are best presented on a running sinker rig or free swimming unweighted approach. But hang on because these brutes pack a lot of punch and will give you a run for your money.

Our Sunny Coast beaches are a great place to target mulloway at night and if you are prepared to put the time in, you will be rewarded. Flathead, bream and dart will also be on offer across the beaches and although the water is a little cooler, the fishing should keep you warm.

Overall June is one of our colder months but there will be plenty of fishing opportunities on offer so rug up and have a crack!

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