summer feast at Caloundra
  |  First Published: December 2007

The summer season on the Sunshine Coast is simply booming with plenty of options to catch fish for every type of angling. Caloundra is a family holiday destination and the population explodes over the Christmas break bringing with it hopeful anglers and plenty of anglers who use their boats for the one and only time of the year. The important thing to remember is to ensure that safety is the number one issue on your mind at all times and patience and understanding of others is a close second.

The estuaries have certainly been the mainstay for the past couple of months with the expected run of big flathead making its mark all throughout the Pumistone Passage. The biggest one I witnessed this year was 915mm a little down on the massive 1102mm whopper from last season but by all counts either fish are outstanding for anyone. The bream and whiting are around in good numbers and will be the target of hundreds of holidaymakers over the next couple of months.

There has been a lot of baitfish within the system making it a double edged sword for anglers having the best in fresh bait available and on the other hand giving the fish no reason to take a presented bait when there is so much other stuff around. Military Jetty has boasted some nice queenfish and trevally. These are being taken on live pike and herring with bream a good target around the corner at the bridge to Pelican Waters.

The sand flats around the Powerboat Club and Bills boat hire are the spots to cast for whiting and there is every chance that you will pick up a nice lizard. Working the Caloundra Bar area on the changing tide is worth a try for bream, flathead, trevally, mulloway and queenfish on both lures and floating baits. The idea here is to let the current take your bait down to the eddies. Use as little weight as possible, just enough to touch the bottom and move on. Using a great whack of weight will hold up your bait in the middle of the run and catch every bit of weed and rubbish that is bought in by the tide. Anywhere along the stretch at Bulcock beach is a great spot to enjoy fishing with the family and serious angler alike. If you are looking to buy bait you cannot go past the humble prawn for around 90% of the species but if it’s the bigger fish such as trevally and mulloway that you seek then look for some live bait by using a cast net.

The beaches are the spot for early mornings or around dusk after the swimmers have gone home. Dart, bream, tarwhine, whiting, flathead and trevally are all targets within the gutters and holes along the Wurtulla Strip from Dicky’s Beach to Point Cartwright. Try around beach access 36-39 on Oceanic Drive at Warana for some nice holes and gutters both on the high and low tides. There is not a lot of sense in fishing them between tides because of the rips and other factors.

Further north towards the surf life saving club at Bokarina is another good spot to drop a line. The more sheltered beaches such as Kings and Moffat in Caloundra are great for the kids and will reward you with plenty of fish in the right conditions. The best baits to use in the surf are beach worms, pilchard strips or fillets of fish, pippies and squid. When you are on holidays it is a great opportunity to bring a rod along to the beach with the family and target certain areas in between a good long swim. Remember the fish are at your feet not 100 feet out.

The closer reefs such as the Inner and Outer Gneerings have held some nice pan-size snapper and sweetlip lately and will be a good target area for holidaymakers this year. A few school and spotty mackerel are also on the chew and floating baits are accounting for the better numbers of these great fighting fish. The Inner Gneerings are at position S26-38-750 E153-09-500 and the outer Outer Gneerings at S26-38-860 E153-12-200. These spots are only a few kilometres from Point Cartwright making them easy to reach. You can expect to find bait schools around these areas all day long and although the little pickers will drive you mad in the middle of the day the kids will have a ball.

Further out at Murphy’s Reef there have been strong catches of cod, sweetlip to 6kg, squire and mackerel around the bait schools. Some cobia are around but not in great numbers lately. Caloundra 12 mile has without doubt been the hot spot for the early stages of summer with any number of snapper, pearl perch, parrot, mackerel and cobia being taken around the area. It is an extensive reef system that crosses over with what is known as Caloundra Wide but you will find some fishing areas with a bit of looking around.

Pearl perch are a good target species and if you have a colour sounder you should be looking for green weed or on a black and white sounder a broken bottom with gaps. Using a paternoster rig, gang hooks or single hooks with some pilchards on them will secure you one of these bucket mouths. It is not hard to tell when you have hooked a pearly as you will feel a few continual pecks and it will feel like you are bringing up a log as they open their mouths to strengthen their fighting ability. These are a fantastic eating fish and are commonly called the chicken of the sea.

The Barwon Banks have been steady with a mixed bag of fish including rainbow runners, trevally, parrot, mangrove jacks, mowong, trag and a dozen other species. You will need to work hard in the middle of the day and trolling is not a bad option for tuna and other pelagic species. Mahi Mahi has been taken around the F.A.D.S. and the shallow systems. This would be a good area to target if you have a bit of time up your sleeves and the right safety equipment.

Overall the summer is going to be very productive but be aware of how quickly the sun can burn so slip, slop and slap to be safe. Enjoy your holidays and a very merry Christmas and happy New Year. Please be safe and have fun.

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