October is one of the best times of the year for anglers. The wind drops, water temperatures start to rise and offshore anglers get the best of both worlds. Off the bottom, we see larger snapper, cobia, pearl perch, spangled emperor, sweetlip and a heap of other reef species. In mid to top water we see great pelagic action with mackerel, tuna and mahi mahi all on the chew. Fishing bottom, micro jigs are the most exciting form of angling to come along in ages.
For those of you who are new to this form of fishing, micro jigs are specially designed to mimic a dying baitfish as it makes its way to the bottom – an easy meal for a hungry reef dweller. There are a great many jigs on the market now, but some of the standouts are the Shimano Colt Snipers, Palm Slow Blats and a new comer, the Zerek Chilli Padi. The Chilli Padi is a Tungsten jig, so they’re a lot heavier for their size.
Micro jigging rods have also come a long way over the last couple of years. Most major manufactures have a range of both overhead and spin models. For me, the Shimano Trevala Jigging range is a favourite, with Fuji Alconite guide, Fuji reel seat and a super tough blank. They’re perfect for putting the hurt on big reefies.
For those of you excited by the thought of the pelagic season, we’re already starting to see signs of another great season. Traditionally, we see the smaller school mackerel, then the spotted and of course Spanish mackerel, but this year the Spanish haven’t moved as far north as they normally do. We’re seeing good Spaniards boated from areas like North, Sunshine and Chardons reefs.
Trolling large lures is a great way to cover a lot of ground in the hunt for mackerel and can be very productive. The larger faster moving lures seem to be the most successful. Samaki Pacemakers are perfect for the job, as they come in a great range of colours and can be trolled up to 12 knots. The good old pilchard floater is also a great way to tangle with decent pelagics.
In the rivers, both Noosa and Maroochy have been outstanding for flathead. The size and bag limits of this species have really worked – outstanding fish have been boated over the last few weeks. Flatties to the magic metre mark are starting to become commonplace, with plenty of large females well over the 75cm. The great news this time of the year is that flathead tend to nest up and it’s not uncommon to pick up ten or more fish in a session.
In the Noosa River, the area upstream from the Tewantin Boat Ramp seems to be the most productive. Weyba Creek and the mouth of Weyba Lake are also good places to bag a big lizard. The area around Woods Bay and the river mouth are also prime spots.
In the Maroochy, fishing upstream from Bli Bli Bridge to Bli Bli Islands has been a favourite with locals. Live baits like poddy mullet, prawns and herring will almost guaranteed a result. For the lure anglers, brightly coloured soft plastics seem to be the best performers. I like the new chasebaits from River2Sea in a range of bright colours and sizes. Twin Waters, Maroochy Waters and the Cod Hole all hold some great fish.
For those of you that love to troll, the Zerek Tango Shads in pink and red have really been firing. Another great fish that seems to be prolific at this time of the year is trevally, whether it be golden, big-eye, cale cale, diamond or giant, and the river is teeming with them. Bigger fish are down towards the lower parts of the systems, chasing bait into the rivers.
Fishing surface for these great predators has to be some of the best fun you can have with a rod in your hand. Walk-the-dog style surface walkers are perfect for chasing trevally and the Bassday Sugapens are awesome performers. Fishing these lures first thing in the morning or late afternoon is best, and if you can time this with an incoming tide you’re almost guaranteed to battle a trev.
The other great species we start to see at this time of the year is mangrove jack. A lot of anglers judge their whole year on how many of these piscatorial assassins they can bag over summer. Fishing at night seems to be all important when it comes to jack hunting and live bait will also make a huge difference to the bag.
Fishing structure is vital and Noosa has this in spades with all the jetties, pontoons and moored boats. Jacks are an ambush predator and when fishing live baits, you’ll feel the bait start to freak out just before the hit. The key to bagging a big jack is heavier line to 20lb, heavy leader to 30lb, a good quality reel and a rod with a range of 3-7kg. All of these things will help to cope with the explosive power of the mangrove jack.
The beach is another great place to kill a few hours in the evening and the eastern beaches of Noosa and the Noosa North Shore are perfect. The closer gutters have plenty of good quality whiting, dart and bream. For those fishing into the night there are truly decent tailor about. If the moon phase is right, mulloway are on the cards.
When fishing the surf, good quality bait is crucial, so that six month old block of pillies from the servo won’t do. Head to your local tackle store and get fresh bait or good quality frozen baits.
Martin Chulov with an 85cm flathead.
Young Ruben Helling with a tailor from the beach at Maroochy North Shore.
Matt Sinclair with a stonking snapper caught offshore from Noosa.Reads: 593