I guess we have all heard the old locals saying this is the coldest winter they can remember. I personally have never experienced frost, let alone ice on the car around this area. Even I have to admit travelling back on the boat in the evenings is absolute brass monkey territory. However, on the plus side the cold has bought on a good winter season which has produced plenty of reef varieties and a large number of quality snapper around the Sunshine Coast. All of the close in reefs including the Inner & Outer Gneerings, Murphy’s and both the Caloundra 5 & 7 mile have produced terrific catches in the evenings giving anglers plenty to talk about.
Amongst the ever popular snapper there have been good parrot, pearl perch, big sweetlip, cod, cobia and amberjack with a few reds mixed in. It is not necessary to venture out too far to get a feed, a bonus considering the price of fuel these days. Stories of big strong runs that end in disaster often end in the snapper over 9kg tale but in most cases you will find you are most likely being bricked by a big horse of a sweetlip.
If you have made the effort and got out that little bit further the fishing certainly delivered. The Barwon Banks is still a great spot in both the shallows and the deeper water up to 120m for catching cobia, trag, parrot, snapper, pearlies and amberjack. The shallows are loaded with all of the above and then a mixed bag of reefies. It is nothing to catch over 12 different species out there in any one session. Make sure you are aware of all the bag limits, sizes and fin removal laws. It is actually a big task to try and remember every rule and regulation and there is a bit of conflicting information out there so play it safe and always have an up to date sticker with sizes or a book somewhere on the boat with the relevant details.
The deeper waters are producing throughout the day where as the shallows are tidal influenced and you will need to move around more to keep up the catch rate. Wide Caloundra is still a good spot to fish for the smaller snapper up to 4kg with a huge number of fish under the 2kg mark being taken. Some days you will find it tough to keep a bait on long enough for a good fish to strike , other days as soon as you hit the bottom it is bang and you are onto another good fish.
The cooler waters also bring on those majestic creatures, the whales. The whales have graced our waters in plenty. We witnessed five large pods in the space of 10 minutes out at Caloundra Wide recently and they are playful and loud.
Again I noticed the fish bite like crazy when the whales are around. Live bait such as slimies and yellow tails are not too hard to find but they don’t necessarily mean better fish. The ever reliable pilchard and fresh squid is scoring just as well as anything else and yes a few are being taken on soft plastics on the shallower systems. The humble paternoster rig is one of the better ones to use to catch a feed but if you want the big snapper and other fish the only way to go is to float your baits out under anchor.
The estuaries have run hot and cold, but I am happy to report Pumicestone Passage has strong numbers of bream, whiting and the humble flathead around its many banks and channels. The bigger bream seem to haunt the deeper waters within the Power Boat Club and Blue Hole areas and can be taken at any time of the day.
The Boardwalk along Caloundra’s Bulcock beach has the locals fighting for a position to catch luderick. The lack of green weed is hampering efforts and there are only a few locals who know where to get good quality stuff. The luderick are well worth it coming in around the 1-2kg mark with the odd couple around 3kg. Every morning the old boy brigade are down at the Boardwalk trying to catch fish and most days they only manage a few small bream.
Hardi-heads, herring and gar are plentiful around the pontoons and jetties. As we all know, fresh bait is the best. Military Jetty is the spot to try for trevally and bream and well worth taking the kids down to have a go. The bridge entering Pelican Waters is a good spot on the top of the tide and one hour into the run off for all sorts of fish. The most common target species being bream, trevally and small queenies.
Currimundi Lake west of the highway bridge has some nice whiting, mullet and bream to be taken by any anglers prepared to walk the banks in search of fish. The flats around the pontoons is a top spot to hit on some nice size flathead and flicking plastics and hard bodied lures work well in this area. The average depth inside the lake is less than 1.5 meters and in most areas less than 1m so deep diving lures are not the go. Walking along the flats at low tide is a great way to find where the flathead lie and six to a dozen casting within a semi circular arc in that area you will land yourself a lizard.
The rocks at the Caloundra Bar entrance are worth a shot in at the top of the tide and casting into the channel can reward you with all sorts of species including mulloway, chopper tailor and good bream. The pontoon next to the Caloundra Coast guard is only managing some happy moments through the day period but they are still fun for the kids.
The beaches have been great producers of dart, bigger 1kg plus bream, flathead, tailor and whiting with a few shovel nose rays thrown in. The westerly winds sure make beach fishing comfortable unlike the northerlies. The low tide is by far the better tide simply because you can pick the holes and gutters when fishing into the evening. I still can’t get over the number of fishermen who do not use berley when beach fishing. It is an essential part of the operation and just watch your catch improve when you use it. To berley I always commence about 15-30 minutes before I put a line in the water. Let the natural rip take the berley out in to the hole or the gutter and after giving it time to work, then get stuck in to some serious fishing.
The fishing should continue on this hot run that we have enjoyed through the later months of winter. The close in reefs will be the target for the next month with a couple of longer trips in between to get some nice cobia, snapper, amberjack and great pearlies. The trag will start to come on in better numbers soon and if the weather holds we will all enjoy some great outings.
It is also time to start planning for the Christmas Holidays and if you are heading up this way I will be happy to answer any of your questions that you may have. Just send me an email and I will get back to you with information about our fishing spots, boat ramps, places to get bait and great spots to fish with the kids. Have Fun!Reads: 543