Roll on winter
  |  First Published: August 2016

So far, winter has been a weather rollercoaster with limited opportunities for an offshore fishing trip. The few trips we’ve had have been very productive. We’ve managed to visit most of our local reefs and the main species we’ve caught are snapper, tuskfish, sweetlip and pearl perch to name a few.

Afternoon has been the pick of day for local anglers with the Caloundra 7 and 12mi reefs being a favourite spot. I’ve had a couple of cracker arvo sessions with snapper, especially around moon phases combined with the run-out tides. There hasn’t been much current running, but there’s enough to maintain a consistent burley trail with a floating pilchard. This will result in a snapper cocktail. Remember though: no run, no fun!

We are very fortunate here to have reefs like Murphys, Gneering Shoals, Caloundra and Coolum 5-10km offshore. It’s easy to sneak out for a later arvo session, when the weather allows, and rustle up a feed of quality ‘reefies’. For those willing to head a little further out, the Barwon Banks and Caloundra Wide have fired up with many species on offer. Although it’s a 30-40km trip to the banks from the Mooloolaba harbour, a planned trip can produce great results.

I managed a trip recently with four people on board and we bagged a tonne of snapper, tuskfish and ‘pearlies’ by late morning. Fresh pilchards and squid have been the choice for success and as you probably know by now, I’m a sucker for live bait. I put them to good use across a few local wrecks lately and boated some quality cobia, mulloway and yellowtail kingfish. The presence of whales has also been exciting with large pods putting on a show close to anchored vessels. Be wary not to cross paths with these majestic animals when moving around the water. The last thing you want is to collide, as it could be tragic.

Remember to pop down to one of the many local tackle stores across the Sunshine Coast for all your bait and tackle supplies. Don’t forget to ask where fish are biting and what. The estuaries have slowed down a little and there are a few reports of mud crabs being potted with fresh mullet for bait. Mullet is an all round good bait for all estuary species and ‘muddies’ love it. Always check your size and bag limits for ‘muddies’ and throw the girls back.

There’s plenty of bream, whiting and mullet on the chew around the Pumicestone Passage. The most effective method for catching mullet is the good old cast net. Master how to throw one and nothing will hold you back. Flathead can still be targeted across the sand flats and around the Pelican Waters canals. Reports of decent mulloway and tailor catches have been recorded around the Pelican Waters Bridge and Military Jetty. The best time is early morning with corresponding tides. There have been a few elbow-slapping-sized whiting landed in the Currimundi Lake as of late with fresh yabbies for the bait of choice.

If early mornings and cold weather aren’t your thing, try fishing the deeper parts of the Maroochy River, Cod Hole or even try your luck through the day around the Mooloolaba Harbour. Check your tides and moon phases to increase your chances. The same methods apply for beach fishing. If you have a spare ten minutes in your day, head to the Moffat, Wurtulla or Kawana beaches on a low tide to pick any deeper spots which will act as a gutter and hold fish on high-tide. A vast array of species like whiting, flathead, dart and mulloway are on offer across all our beaches. These are great places for you to learn and teach your children the basics of fishing.

For this year’s final month of winter, there will be plenty of fishing of offer. Be optimistic! The weather will improve and the fish will get bigger. Try and plan your fishing for two hours before or after the tide and fish around moon phases. This combination with fresh baits (or lures) will produce results. If heading offshore, log on to coastguard VMF73 and stay safe. Keep warm!


Damian has a couple of Tuskfish caught at Barwon Banks.


Ethan holds a flathead caught from the passage.

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