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The fun run in the sun
  |  First Published: April 2017



Our run in the sun continues and it’s only heating up across the coast. Mackerel has been dominating the fishing scene with a consistently strong run of spotted, school and Spanish varieties filling our eskies. Spaniards of 7-10kg seem to be the norm, but there have been reports and pictures of much larger fish. I prefer to keep a Spanish around the 10kg mark.

Remember, Spanish in excess of 15kg have a greater chance of carrying the dreaded ciguatera poison, so take a happy snap and return the bigger specimens back to the water. Mackerel aren’t the only species available at the moment. We can also target wahoo, mahimahi, cobia, marlin, sailfish and a large variety of reef species, proving that the Sunny Coast is a fantastic place to live and fish.

We have a problem at the moment battling with the ever-aggressive bullshark. Unfortunately these animals are at the top of the food chain and if they’re hungry we are sure to lose the battle. Let’s hope the mackerel hang around for the next couple of months and we boat more than we lose.

There have been quality schools of bait across the coast, which keep the action hot! Remember to always be on the lookout for birds and busting bait schools. If bait is deeper in the water column, try using deep diving minnows, weighted rigs and – if you’re lucky enough to own one – a downrigger.

A downrigger is a useful piece of fishing equipment and can sometimes be the difference between fish or no fish. The initial outlay will hurt the bank account, but believe me, it will pay for itself in no time. Fresh bait is great and live bait is even better.

The wider reef areas around the top end of the Barwon Banks are the place to target larger pelagics like yellowtail kingfish and amberjack. Depths in these areas vary from 80-130m, so take strong equipment. Mixed in with them have been good numbers of snapper and pearl perch.

The Pinnacles situated in 85m of water in the middle of the banks have schools of mahimahi. When they’re not smashing a livie they’re chasing trolled hardbody lures. Wide Caloundra has enjoyed plenty of wahoo this season and although they have slowed right down now, hopefully the cooler change will bring on the snapper in the next few months.

There will still be the opportunity to chase a few late tuna schools this month feeding on the remaining bait schools provided the weather remains warm. Sweetlip are still being caught around the outer Gneerings and on the small patches around the Mooloolaba beacon. Murphys is the spot to be running out to this month for an early morning or late evening fish on the change of the tide. Emperor, pearl perch, tuskfish and juvenile snapper will all be out there when the conditions are right.

The beaches are starting to enjoy a run of bream and early mulloway signs have also been good. Dart, whiting and flathead are all on the cards for those prepared to target the tidal changes and use the local area bait, either worms or pipis. The Wurtulla strip of beach access is a good place to start looking for a hole to fish, so a visit through the day will make things a little easier later on. If you want to sneak further north, check out the accesses between Marcoola and Coolum as there are plenty of spots to choose from there.

The main channel around the Caloundra bar entrance has opportunities for bigger flathead and trevally. The boardwalk in Caloundra has been busy with hopeful anglers and a rare few have caught some quality estuary cod and bream on the tide changes. Whiting are taking peeled prawns and yabbies and at the moment can be caught right along the Pumicestone Passage. Berley is very important to keep the fish interested and fishing without it can make things really tough.

The pelagics will remain around and you should look at targeting bigger Spanish mackerel right through April. Mahimahi and wahoo will be worth targeting out wide at Caloundra and the Barwon Banks, but you might struggle in closer. Work the reefs on the evening tidal changes and always look around the channel markers and buoys for a cobia or mahimahi.

Check out the beaches and estuaries this month for the table varieties and keep your many options open!

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