It’s been a crazy start to the pelagics season. Mackerel, tuna and mahimahi are really firing as the warmer currents start to make their way down Australia’s Eastern seaboard. It’s fairly unusual to see big mackerel so early in the season, but there have been some outstanding fish boated over the last month.
Usually we see the smaller school mackerel, then the spotted, and of course the Spanish. The larger ones turn up later in the season. The Northern Reef off Double Island, Coffees and North Reef have been the best spots, but we’re also seeing bigger fish right down toward Caloundra Wide. This may have something to do with the abundance of bait out there at the moment.
Fishing a slimy or yakka out the back on a floater setup is one of the better options. When chasing pelagics, there are a couple of basic things that will improve your chances – looking for bird activity is the top of the list. Larger fish like mackerel and tuna will force the bait to the surface as they feed, and this in turn gets the birds feeding. Diving birds and surface activity are dead giveaways.
Next on the list is working the edges of the reefs. The longer ribbon type reefs are where I’ve had the most success. There’s a pressure point where the tidal movement pushing up against the reef creates an abundance of food, so predators love to cruise these areas. This is where I get my deep diving lures out and have a troll.
The Samaki Pacemaker is a fantastic deep diving lure on the market. They come in some realistic colours and a range of sizes that can be trolled at up to 12 knots. Keep an eye on the sounder while trolling the edges of the reef, as you’ll find those bigger rogue fish this way.
For those of you working the bottom, there have been some great catches of pearl perch coming from the outer reef with the Hards and Barwon Banks producing some crackers. Other species to hit the decks have been cobia, snapper, mulloway, and trout. For those of you in smaller craft, the southern reefs out of Maroochydore and Mooloolaba have been firing. The Gneerings, Coolum Reef, Handcock and Arkwright Sholes have all produced squire, sweetlip, coral trout, and cobia, as well as good quantities of mackerel and tuna.
In the rivers, both the Noosa and Maroochy have seen good quality whiting. The Noosa, Dog Beach and the Frying Pan are the prime areas. In the Maroochy, give Black Banks and Chambers Island a go. For bait, freshly pumped yabbies have been very productive as well as beach and bloodworms.
This is the time of the year when it’s all about the red devils – those sought-after mangrove jack. Many finesse anglers judge our whole year on how many of these amazing fish we can tangle with.
Jacks have to be the ultimate river predator, living in snags and under structure. There’s a great many anglers that spend an enormous amount of time and money trying to lure them from their snaggy homes. For me, it’s all about lures, but a lot of anglers have great success with live bait. Whichever way you go, you’ll have to get the fundamentals right.
Fishing good quality braid is a must – I like to fish an 8-carrier braid around 15lb, using an FG knot down to 20lb fluorocarbon leader. J-Braid from Daiwa and Power Pro from Shimano are both perfect for the job. I’ve recently discovered the Ice Clear from Shogun, it’s a supple leader and ties really well.
Suspending lures are the way to go. Lucky Craft Pointers are an all-time favourite, but I also like the Pontoon 21s. Suspending lures get in front of the fish’s face that bit longer is the trick. The weather also has a great deal to do with the way these fish feed. If there’s stormy weather around, you’ll find they feed more aggressively. Live bait’s the best and poddy mullet or herring are perfect. When the prawns are running, live prawns are also a cracker bait.
Another plentiful fish at the moment is flathead. Big girls touching a metre have been taken from the rivers. Soft plastics like the Keitech Easy Shiners and the Samaki Boom Baits have both produced great fish.
On the beach we’re seeing the return of the tailor after spawning up at Fraser Island – large fish touching 10lb have been taken around the river mouths and along Noosa’s North Shore. The humble pilchard has been the prime bait, but fresh mullet or bonito fillet have also captured good fish.
Mulloway are also on the cards at this time of the year and tailor or fresh mullet are both prime baits. Whiting and dart are everywhere on the beaches and are great fun for the family. Look for those deeper gutters and fish a couple of hours either side of the high tide. Cast to the back of the gutter rolling your bait under the white water. Prawns, worms and yabbies are the perfect baits.
• For all the latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au. Drop into Davo’s Tackle world Noosa or Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle at Marcoola to find out where the fish are biting, and remember tight lines and bent spines!
Ben with a big jack – what a beauty.
It’s the start of the pelagics season. Great fish like this will be about good numbers.
Cracker reds like these would make any angler happy.Reads: 321