A new year is upon us, hopefully there are lots of top fishing trips ahead. So far the summer months have produced some wonderful fishing, particularly in the pelagic and estuary areas.
The summer months will make you appreciate the early morning and late evening fishing particularly when you are out in the heat of the day. Remember to cover up, wear sunscreen and keep your fluids up.
The water temperatures are a lot hotter already than last season causing larger species to hold in the deeper waters of 90m+. Snapper love 18-19 water temperature so they will stick around to breed. If the water gets any hotter they will head off to much cooler deeper water.
The Barwon Banks still has good snapper but the deeper you fish, the better. Drifting over pinnacles and drop-offs will see anglers get slammed by cobia, amberjack and samsonfish with an odd tuna amongst them for sure. Parrot and Maori cod have been on the go and these great fighters can be caught on the drift or in the berley trail. Dolphinfish can be caught out wide and around the FADs or marker buoys. Remember to put them on ice quickly and the less handling the better.
We set up a drift pattern along certain spots in the shallower water (45m) and run over at least four features during the run. If the current is faster than 1-2 knots we use para anchors to give us more time over strike zones. A couple of dummy runs give us the chance to check the drift pattern so we can adjust our start point. Every day is a different due to wind, current and tide but you once you watch you GPS and read the drift line you can easily work out your path. We catch parrot, snapper, cod, hussar, reds, amberjack, pearl perch and other species. If you find a good feature, it’s likely that there will be similar country within a 60m radius. We always fast mark the spots where we get hit or catch fish on the GPS as this helps us to map the area for future reference. Drifting is a great way to cover more territory. The best ways to drift are with baitfish or berley around structures.
Finding baitfish can help you catch fish, and the best way to go is to find a structure that they are holding on, anchor and start a berley trail to keep them in the area. How do you know where they are holding? Drift over the spot a couple of times and if they are still there, it’s a good sign they’re going to stick around. Watch your sounder and check the depth by tying a piece of cloth on your line at the right depth and you will consistently be able to get amongst the feeding fish.
If you can’t find a good bait school then move to known structure. Known structure is a feature that you have always caught a good feed of fish in the past. We then would anchor over the structure after checking to see if there are fish holding on either side. Sometimes certain species of fish will hold on different sides of a structure depending on the time of the tide and conditions. You should then start a berley trail, but not from the top of the boat. I sink a plastic berley bucket halfway down and make sure it gets to the bottom quickly. If nothing happens in the first half an hour I will lower it to the bottom for another 30 minutes and then bring it back up to half way.
This method works more than running berley from the surface as by the time it gets to the bottom it can be 200m+ from your position. That is to far from the structure to be effective. I would stay for at least an hour or more and give it a really good chance to fire. Obviously considerations such as lunar peak, tide and weather conditions will come in to the equation before choosing to use this method.
The estuaries around the Pumicestone Passage have produced some spectacular catches of big queenies and flathead with trevally starting to steal every bait thrown out for a target species. Mangrove jack have been all the rage and some real good 4kg+ fish have been taken further south down the Passage. Summer whiting have come to life and around the beaches there are still plenty of dart, bream, flathead, whiting and a mulloway or two in the closed beaches such as Moffat and Kings. Sweetlip will soon be taking baits in the same areas, particularly Moffat Beach, around the southern end near the rocks. There are still good holes around the Wurtulla to Point Cartwright beach run and they are best fished in the late evenings.
The closer in reefs such as Brays Rock and Currimundi have trolled well for mackerel and it seems as though this season is way up on the last two. Murphys Reef has seen some wonderful catches of mid range snapper and cod with a few quality parrot also being taken. Evening fishing is again the way to go and using live yakkas or slimies will really increase your chances. Caloundra Wide and 7-Mile reefs are full of under-sized reds with only 1/10 making the legal limit. They are great fighters on light gear and you sure no when you have one over the 55cm mark. Cobia is around the usual haunts and some big fish have been taken in really close floating both live and dead baits.
Over the coming months we will see a lot more boats trolling lures behind them so look out and show some courtesy. Remember to leave a big enough gap between boats so that they can set their lures and don’t cross the path because you will cut the lines. Dolphin fish will be around in good numbers out Wide Caloundra area and the top of Moreton. The pelagics will be the sort after species over the next month or so with the estuaries slowing a lot more until they have had a good flush out with some big rain. Enjoy the new year and remember to have fun!Reads: 661