Reefies Run Hot
  |  First Published: August 2007

The last few months have been dicey when it comes to the weather, but it’s not all bad news with the inshore reefs around Caloundra and Mooloolaba running hot.

Local Reefs

Winter is a fantastic time to fish because the snapper, sweetlip, Maori cod, red emperor and a stack of other reefies come in close enough for all boaties and shore based anglers to catch. The Inner and Outer Gneerings, only 4km northeast from Mooloolaba, have plenty of sweetlip, squire, cod, pesky whiptails and plenty of undersize fish to keep you busy. Further southeast at Murphy’s, the bigger snapper have come in and there have been plenty of reports of big ones that smash and run. Coral trout have also been taken but big numbers are better suited to the warmer areas farther north.

Caloundra 5 and 7 Mile reefs are a great target in the evening and seem to produce a lot less in the early morning. These reefs have red emperor, red throat, sweetlip and snapper around them so getting set early with a good berley trail and fishing in to the evening is the way to go here.

Caloundra Wide still has some monster snapper up to 10kg being taken with the more common catches around the 4kg mark. There is also an abundance of smaller squire, pearl perch, parrot and big sweetlip hanging around. We enjoyed a great session out there recently with schools upon schools of snapper holding 10m from the bottom. There was no structure at all holding them in place and no obvious bait schools around. In the hour or so that we fished we did not have to drop the anchor but drifted over them catching two fish at a time on some occasions. The whales are also in full swing out wide so take some care and keep to the required distances. It seems that when the whales are about, playing and smashing their tails down, the fish go nuts and bite like crazy. I would love to hear people’s theories on that.

The Barwon banks still have a good mixed bag of fish but it is not necessary to travel far to get some of the bigger fish at the moment. Pearl perch are in good numbers around the bottom of the Hard’s along with the reliable snapper, jew, parrot and gold spot wrasse. The southern end of the Banks known as the ‘Rock’ or ‘Steps’ is a closer position to try at only 33km out. You will find any number of areas to fish from pinnacles to dropoffs and the snapper love playing and hiding around there. See the QFM June 2007 edition for GPS marks around the Barwon Banks.

The northern reefs such as Coolum have also been worth a trip with some great fish being taken around there. Old Women Island has been home to a number of rat kings over the past month and although they are always there, some days they just will not fire at all. I spoke recently to a fellow who dives regularly around Old Women’s and he informed that the number of fish there is incredible with good numbers of baitfish and squid living in the area and keeping the fish well fed.

Closer to Mooloolaba Rapers Shoal and Currimundi Reef are worth a shot for some big bream and squire. There are also some nice pan sized sweetlip about and an odd cod or two. Rapers is a good fishing destination because it is close and nearly always protected from bad weather. The coffee rock around the northern tip of Bribie Island is still producing some good mulloway, giant trevally, queenies and snapper. There is plenty of live bait in the form of small yakkas outside the first marker and it is not unusual to see a mass of bait schools in the area so your chances of hooking just about everything and anything are extremely high.

To get to the area you can choose to travel from Mooloolaba or go over the Caloundra Bar. The bar is ok provided you take your time and watch the waves but overall it is deep enough to take you boat with room to spare. Ensure you have your lifejackets on. Always go to see the Caloundra Coast Guard before you attempt the crossing just to get the latest update on conditions and the path to travel over safely.


The Pumistone Passage has been alive with a huge number of fish, including the annual luderick run. The Boardwalk seems to have it all and is the spot I would be fishing on the right tide with the chance of landing some nice grunter, bream, flathead, trevally and queenies – why would I be anywhere else? The grunter are a good size at the moment and fishing the rocky dropoffs around the surf shed and around the Blue Hole should get some bites. Live baits are plentiful with herring, hardiheads, small gar and poddy mullet around the pontoons and southern end of Bribie. Whiting can be taken near the Boat Club and from the sand flats around Military Jetty with some real elbow slappers taking live yabbies and worms. The channel under the Pelican Waters bridge has bream and trevally for the taking with livies and fresh fish strips the best bait. Currimundi Lake and the western reaches are producing some really top bream, flathead and whiting and is it any wonder when you see just how many schools of live bait are around in there. The surf is feeding the lake again so a bit more action will be seen over the coming weeks.

The Beaches

Kings and Moffat beaches have sweetlip, bream, and squire from the rocks so get down there in the afternoons and mornings.

The Wurtulla Strip is still the spot to catch some good dart, legal bream and whiting with access 36-39 still holding one of the better gutters around. Low tide sees a good number of deep holes that would be worth a cast. Dicky Beach has been reasonably quiet as far as fishing goes but there is no shortage of surfers and swimmers. The rock wall out from Kings Beach is another top spot to cast a line for snapper, sweetlip and a mixed bag of ankle biters but watch the conditions and don’t take any risks. Further around the corner all the rock formations leading towards the Caloundra Bar are worth a cast for some luderick, bream and tarwhine on the low tide. It is an amazing area just to walk so next time you are out take a fishing rod and catch some lunch. The reefies will continue to fire particularly if this cold streak continues and as predicted the stories of the big snapper have been coming in thick and fast. The Boardwalk will be the spot to fish for the seasonal luderick and let’s hope that we can obtain some good cabbage to fish for them. Overall it is going to be another winter that spoils us rotten but what else would you expect when you live on the Sunshine Coast. Have Fun!

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