All I want for Christmas is a mangrove jack
  |  First Published: December 2016

With summer now in full swing and Christmas over, what better time to head to the Sunshine Coast to fulfil that fishing addiction? With plenty of action on the rivers, offshore and on the beach, anglers have been really spoilt for choice!

In the rivers it’s all about mangrove jacks, and this year is shaping up to be one to remember, with some cracker fish already boated. The Maroochy River has really been firing up, with the upper reaches of the river producing some great fish. Fishing the rocky edges upriver from Coolum Creek has been worthwhile, with the higher tides in the late evening producing some great fish. Last month, we still hadn’t seen too much rain, so there were plenty of fish in the upper reaches. However, if the river receives a fair downpour, then they tend to move to the lower parts of the system to get into the cleaner, salinity rich water.

If you’re chasing jacks in the Noosa River, try concentrating you’re efforts up between Lake Cooroibah and Lake Cootharaba. With plenty of fallen trees, underwater debris and also a couple of rock bars, it certainly makes for perfect jack country. Trolling deep diving hardbody lures around the 70mm-100mm size are ideal. My preferred lure to use in this area would be a Lucky Craft Pointer or the deep diving Zerek Tango Shads in the 69mm size. Both these lures are suspending, so they are also perfect for casting at structure, as well as trolling. Remember when trolling to keep moving your rod tip to impart even more action on the lure. With anglers focusing their activities on chasing jacks at the moment, there is also some very interesting by-catch, with school mulloway, trevally, grunter bream, big flathead and monster threadfin all managing to find their way onto hooks.

Whiting have been in great numbers, with some real elbow slappers caught in the Frying Pan and Dog Beach flats. Fresh worms, live yabbies and peeled prawns have been the pick of the baits. Surface poppers and surface walkers seem to attract those bigger fish, so working those flats on an incoming tide in low light can really pay off. Mud crabs have also been in good numbers with some nice bucks gracing the Christmas tables this year as part of the good old Aussie Christmas Seafood feast. Crab pots that are loaded with fresh mullet are performing best.

Fishing on Sunshine Coast beaches this summer, has been great for whiting, bream, dart and sand flathead, with the majority of fish holding in those close gutters. I love fishing the beaches with a backpack on my back and a nice light 10ft rod in hand – this way you can be mobile, and not only do you get a bit of exercise, but you cover a lot of ground working those closer gutters and holes, and more often than not, you claim more fish.

Tailor are still around, with some bigger greenbacks around the river mouths. Anglers have been using fresh mullet, bonito fillet and pilchard to tangle with a big tailor. Rock anglers have also been claiming some nice fish, with mulloway, large trevally and the odd sweetlip and squire claimed. Chasing those big trevally is great fun, and fishing the rock at Yaroomba, Noosa National Park and Point Cartwright has been where most of the action has been. Anglers have been casting GT Ice Creams, and stickbaits like the Shimano Ocea Pencils. These fast moving lures, when speedily retrieved over the rock, have seen anglers tangle with some solid trevally.

Offshore it’s all about the pelagics! Mahimahi, mackerel, tuna and even marlin are all on the cards off the Sunshine Coast. The good news is, you don’t have to travel far to get amongst them. Just over The Noosa Bar, you’ve got Laguna Bay, and with the few small reefs in the area you can come across tuna and mackerel. Having the first mate keep an eye out for bird activity is essential, as the pelagics will push the bait to the surface and the birds will attack from above. I always make sure I have a number of different sized slugs to try and match the bait that the fish are feeding on. I’ve also taken a liking to using flat fall jigs, as they tend to fall though the school looking like a dying baitfish, and an easy meal. Trolling the edge of the reefs out wider with big hardbody lures like the Nomad DTX Minnows at speed can also be an effective way to target big mackerel. For bait anglers, the good old pilchard floater, along with tinsel head over the top of your bait is always a good way to go. The tinsel heads are really effective, as mackerel have very sharp eyesight and can see them from a mile away. Always remember to berley when floating baits, it makes a huge difference. For the anglers who love working the reefs, good old Sunshine Reef has again come up with the goods, with some cracker coral trout, sweetlip cod and squire. Up on North Reef, anglers have tangled with some lovely mulloway, sweetlip, pearl perch, cobia and mori cod. For the anglers heading up towards Double Island, the red emperor are always out that direction, and always hungry.

From the team at both our Davo’s Stores, we hope you had a great Christmas and a very fishy New Year.

For all the latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au for up to date bar and fishing reports. 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!

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