Big tuna and mackerel hit the spot
  |  First Published: June 2007

The pristine waters off Noosa can cop a bit of a flogging during the holiday periods, but the success rate for those who cross the bar is very high. June is an excellent time of year to fish the beautiful blue waters of Laguna Bay and beyond, as there are still some top quality pelagics available as well as a sudden increase in numbers of fabulous table fish on the bottom.

Trollers can (and do) clean up during June. The mackerel and tuna that are still harassing the baitfish will be very big specimens. Spanish mackerel exceeding 20kg are relatively common, while fat, barrel-shaped northern bluefin and yellowfin tuna can exceed that mark.

Lures need to be of a very high standard to cope with the massive pressures that these fish can deliver. Don’t spend too much time digging around in the bargain bin at the local tackle store. Look on the walls for quality product such as Outsiders, big Mad Mullets, Arafura Barras (ignore the name), Spaniard Specials (which can benefit from the addition of a small bonito or pilchard), Rapala CD14 Magnums or shallow Bombers. Make sure the hardware is up to the job, rings and hooks in particular.

Should these lures bring no joy after a decent try, then you could up the ante somewhat with a couple of high speed bibless jobs. The extra speed is sometimes enough to entice a strike. Bibbed minnows will not run true at these speeds, unless they are very well tuned.

Those who like to probe the depths can really have some big time fun in June and the colder months. Quality snapper become far more available as well as scarlet sea perch, red emperor, jew fish and the ever-present and particularly succulent pearl perch. Reefs wider out such as the Hards and the Barwon Banks will deliver all of these species as well as rosy and green job fish, brutish amberjack and serious yellowtail kings.

Hooks need to be strong, as do backs! Pulling a 30kg amberjack up from the depths requires an element of strength and fitness that many anglers lack. A few push-ups on the floor of the boat on the way out might help.

The closer in reefs will be a good bet for a relatively easy feed of sweetlip, squire and snapper. As if that isn’t enough, coral trout to 5kg will come aboard in the Sunshine Reef area with regularity. Slightly larger specimens and a few beauties up to 10kg can sometimes be located at North Reef. Livebaits are a good start for these fish, one of which can make any trip very worthwhile.

Noosa River

The beautiful Noosa River will be a busy place throughout the school holiday period. Not to the same extent as Easter or Christmas mind you, but care must be taken nonetheless. If you are a new player in this area I highly recommend visiting a local tackle store. Not only will you be able to purchase some lures for that prized monster Spaniard, you’ll be able to take care of all your estuarine requirements. While you are in the shop you may as well pick the brains of the staff. The more info you have the better armed you will be for the ensuing battle.

Good (if obvious) questions to ask are ‘Where do you fish?’ ‘When do you go there?’ and ‘What is the best tidal phase?’. Bait anglers should purchase the best quality bait available and a cast net as well. Live bait or very fresh bait is impossible to beat. Good tackle store staff will even give you a few pointers on throwing the things successfully. A bait net is also a very valuable tool, although someone has to get very wet in the process… not to everyone’s liking of course!

Boat ramps are great places to collect livies! This is often due to frames, excess bait and the like being dumped there at day’s end. For the same reason a quiet approach at night with light line and a fresh strip or better still a live prawn or small biddy will almost always result in a win for the good guys. Bream, flathead, tarwhine, grunter and all manner of critters are caught in this way.

Out on the water I prefer to fish areas with structure of some sort. This may be a rock bar, a bridge or simply some shallow sand flats. There are plenty of small creeks that drain into the system, and these are best targeted during the run out. Fishing a livie just outside one of these feeder creeks can be a deadly tactic on the ebb.

Islands are another great location to wet a line. There is the beautiful Frying Pan area just near the river mouth. This area has it all: creeks, islands, deep runs and shallow yabby banks. Almost anything is possible here, just as long as there is some tidal flow.

The vast Weyba Creek system also has similar features and could take weeks to explore. I have enjoyed many trips along this meandering and very pretty waterway, particularly at night. Live herring or mullet are gun baits and if you are prepared to move from time to time you can expect a mixed bag of bream, flathead, estuary cod and even a jack or two.

Further up the river proper the options are endless. More islands, more snags, more rock bars and more fish. Successful anglers are those who ask the right questions, invest in a map or chart and are prepared to put in some time. Prime times are dawn and dusk; during these periods of low light it can pay to throw a small popper about, especially in the Woods Bay area. Just refer to your new map if you don’t know where that is yet!

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