It has been a wild ride with the weather lately and the storms have continued along with the northerly winds. The weather for the New Year is looking much better so keep your fingers crossed.
Outside there have been some good sessions on the pelagics including kingfish, wahoo and the ever-popular mahi mahi. These have been taken whilst trolling around the blinker out from Mooloolaba and Old Women Island just out from the Maroochydore River Bar. A mixture of deep and shallow diving lures has been the most successful so check your leaders and have a crack at them.
The shallow reefs around the Barwon Banks have also held good numbers of wahoo, tuna varieties and mahi mahi. After an early morning session on the reef fish try putting the lures out until around midday for something different.
Last season I found that the Living Lip lure was excellent on all the big fish. These lures are somewhat different because they are just a metal connector between your dead fish or live bait, allowing it to swim straight and look really natural in the water, unlike the big plastic deep divers with a full body. Don’t be afraid to give them a go because they pack a mean punch and sure fool the fish.
The soft plastics are accounting for some nice shallow and deep reef species – a 6kg snapper is the best I have seen. This fish was taken on a 5.5” DOA Jerk Shad in pink ice colour and took around 20 minutes to land on the light gear.
North of the Banks around the bottom of the Hards has been a mixed bag. Some days have been a bit quiet but some have been the complete opposite with explosive action. If you are lucky enough to hook into a hot session remember to limit your catch. When on holidays this year remember that if you get amongst a school of sweetlip, snapper or pearl perch and you reach your limit it is better to move on and leave them biting than to continue to catch and have fish suffer and possibly die from barotrauma.
Targeting the shallow areas on the evening tides is a far better way to enjoy your summer fishing particularly if you are not a big fan of the heat and sunburn. The late evening after dusk brings out some big predators so gear up for a fish between 4-9pm. Live bait, if you can catch it, is the best option, otherwise use the freshest bait you can find around the traps. Bait schools have been plentiful around the Mooloolaba and Caloundra Bars so take the time to find them and stock up.
Normally there will be a multitude of different tuna attacking the bait so have your spin rods ready to go with a small chrome slug on them. There is nothing like a bonito or small tuna on light gear. The Halco Deep Diver and XDD 8m+ in a gold colour seems to be working the best, which is much the same as last year. It is preferable to troll with a mixed spread so have a couple of surface busters, a selection in mid water and then the XDD lures.
Vary your colours to see which one takes the majority of hits and don’t be afraid to use your sounder to locate the fish and the depth they are running at. This month there will still be plenty of species to target outside of the pelagics with trag jew, tuskies, big jack and others patrolling the reefs.
The big news of January is the mangrove jack. They are terrorising the mangroves, rocky ledges and piers around the traps. Currimundi Lake has also held some nice jack along with flathead and crabs after the rain. The Boardwalk and all the beach areas right up to the Caloundra Bar are packed with hopeful anglers who are enjoying their holidays. Trevally are making a comeback and an odd scorcher of a queenie has broken a few hearts along the way.
The Pumicestone Passage has been full of exciting news with flathead and whiting really coming on. The whiting have been consistent in size and numbers but actually finding the fish has slowed a few down. The anglers that have no trouble getting onto whiting all say the same thing: blood worms are the number one bait. Numerous fresh and live offerings like yabbies, beach worms and prawns have also been effective.
The moon always plays a big role in bringing the fish on to feed, particularly the bigger ones. There are some monsters left in the Passage but they didn’t get to be that big by being stupid, so you have to work at them.
I have not seen a season where so many stingrays have been around the shallows. The passage is full of them and certain areas seem just flooded with rays. If you don’t know what they do or how they feed go and stay at a mates place who lives on a canal and watch what the rays do and listen to the noise they make. Their huge flaps work overtime in removing sand, weed and dirt from the bottom meantime they hoover everything that comes from the murky water leaving great craters in the ground. It is an amazing spectacle!
The Blue Hole, varying in depth, in is a terrific place to drift over the shoals back along the drop offs into the deeper waters. This is a sure fire way to nail some flathead whether you are using lures or bait. If your boat gets caught on a bar or stuck in the sand then you should be able to nail flathead because this is the country they love. It never ceases to amaze me just how shallow water can be that holds quality fish.
Beach fishing this summer has been nothing short of entertaining. The beaches have been blown about by northerlies but enough good surf remains to give us a feed of fish. Dicky Beach has been the surprise package with some nice parrot and schoolies being taken in the middle of the day. Kings Beach is best fished in the slower swimming times, which is very early morning and late evening. The rocks are the best bet to have a crack with some plastics during the day. Moffat is still a good evening spot for bream, happy moments and butter bream. The beaches along the Wurtulla strip particularly access 36-40 are worthy of mention because of the holes that exist are better fished during the lower tide. High tide brings very strong rips making it hard to avoid sprinting up the beach with your bait. Point Cartwright is another top spot to have a go out off the rocks but be prepared to endure the pickers.
The peak of summer is here for everyone to enjoy and there are fish around to make your day so get out and enjoy it while it lasts. Have Fun!
The shallow reefs around the Barwon Banks have held good numbers of tuna.Reads: 1995