It has been a summer probably not worth remembering for the weather and lack of quality fishing days, but this is Mother Nature taking care of its own again. However, we are now moving into the winter season, which means exciting things are just around the corner on the fishing front.
The beaches have suffered some bad erosion from the rough weather over the past couple of months but by March we may be able to settle into some type of rhythm and get some consistency in the fishing.
There are still some nice holes and shallow gutters along the Wurtulla Strip to try for bream, dart and whiting but the sheltered beaches, such as Moffat and Kings, are the better options.
The foam and debris that has been left by the storms hinders any real attempt to get serious but hopefully as the weather cools this will all change. The long-range weather forecasters have predicted a very wet next few months, right through until June 2008 and maybe beyond.
Thankfully, the estuaries have been the picture of consistency throughout the early part of this year, keeping anglers busy and giving them a chance to fish.
The summer season saw the queenfish come on a bit later than usual but they did eventually came on with a vengeance. Some really nice fish up to 7kg have been taken using both lures and live pike in the deeper parts of the Pumicestone Passage.
There have been quite a few bream around but not many real big ones have weighed in. By big, I am talking 900g+, which is a decent fish to take for a feed.
The whiting have not let down the team and are being caught all around the Passage on yabbies and bloodworms. The elbow slappers came on in big schools and the few old hands who know where to get them sure got some beauties.
There has been plenty of dirty water in the passage that has enabled bigger predators, such as bull sharks, mulloway and GTs, to sneak in under its cover. I saw a sight, which was a first for me, off the Boardwalk in Caloundra watching a GT feeding on a whitebait school. You would think that they would just power through them at unbelievable speed giving them no chance but it was quite the opposite to watch. The GT would lay steady and slowly roll around in the school taking in bait as it rolled with its big mouth open – just like a Hoover.
The dirty water mixed with the fresh had the crabs on the march and plenty of people scored fresh sandies for their tucker.
Overall, between the bread and butter varieties and the other larger predators it was a good summers fishing in the passage and around the many bridges, pontoons and canals on the Sunshine Coast. The cooler months will bring on the big bream and some great winter whiting along with some nice flathead.
The close in reefs around Caloundra, in particular the 5-mile, 7-mile and 12-mile have produced some outstanding sweetlip over the past couple of months and they are still taking baits. Grassy sweetlip are around in good numbers and some red throats are mixed in with them.
Murphys Reef has also had its fair share of quality fish and the night fishing is the better option. Drifting at Caloundra 12-mile produced some nice sweetlip and a few legal sized parrots recently.
The snapper have been taken in very close during the early mornings around Brays Rock, which is no more than 1km from Caloundra Headland. Again there are instances of massive amounts of bait and big fish mixed in with them but it is difficult to get them to take a bait. We had Spanish mackerel and dolphinfish cruising around the boat but not even fresh or live bait would interest them in the least. We changed tack to trolling the skirts and deep divers but not even that method interested them. There is not much else you can do except try again tomorrow in cases like that.
Out wider the pearl perch have been in good numbers in the deeper waters around the 100-150m mark. At Barwon Banks the better fish have been taken in about 90m of water. You can always pick up a few other species when targeting the pearlies and generally they will be snapper, hussar and the odd pelagic.
The bottom of the Hard’s has also been a very productive spot for those that have been able to reach it. Some big amberjack and other pelagics, including kingfish, have been taken within 80m of water.
There is also a patch of country north of the middle of the Banks, which we call rough because of the incredibly rough county around the area, and is definitely worth a try. Targeting parrot, cod, snapper, fingermark, hussar some pearlies and a dozen other species is always an option in this region. The good thing is that if they are not in one spot it is only 50-100m to travel to the next or until you find where they are holding. The spot also has plenty of pelagic action in the summer months and one species in particular that is constantly around is barracuda.
The Basault Knob, which is a few kilometres north east of the rough patch, fishes in about 80m of water and produces just about anything of a good day. For most of us though, the three sisters in the middle of the Banks or the rock down on the southern end are the reachable spots between 37-42km in distance from Mooloolaba. These areas will be worth targeting for big snapper, Maori cod, trag jew, hussar, pearlies, sweetlip, red throats and red emperors in the coming months. I don’t mind telling you that when you are fishing in 27-40m of water in rough country it does not take much to be bricked by a monster.
The evening fishing will pick up big time as the cooler weather starts to come on and this is the time to target your snapper, red emperor, cod and others on the closer in reefs around the Sunshine Coast. The rain, of course, will have the barometric pressure down a little but there will be plenty of good days ahead to get out and enjoy our terrific sport.
However, now is the waiting game to see what the EPA and government have decided is the best course of action on the Moreton Bay Zoning, fish take and size limits. I guess the biggest question is, did they listen to what they were being told? Only time will tell! Have Fun.Reads: 1492