Some magnificent weather around the end of March and early April opened up a few windows of opportunity for bluewater anglers to satisfy their lingering ‘hunter-gatherer’ instincts and continual cravings for that bent rod and screaming reel fix that we all need from time to time.
Thankfully most weren’t disappointed with great catches of sweetlip, parrotfish, Moses perch, pearl perch and heaps of quality snapper from just about every reef system. May is generally a very good month to head outside as there should be a fair number of bigger mackerel, many pushing past 20kg, as well as northern bluefin and mackerel tuna.
For those capable of the long haul up to Double Island Point the reefs will be delivering excellent numbers of quality snapper, Maori cod, hussar, pearl perch and the occasional solid gold band snapper, which are also known as rosy jobfish and occasionally king snapper.
Gold band snapper are coloured very similarly to snapper and they are often caught in company with these fish. They hit hard, fight hard and are well worth taking home for the family chef. They are mostly caught in the 6-8kg class, and are more often than not caught on or near bottom structure with squid or fish flesh baits.
If you are lucky enough to pull one of these tasty fish up from the depths, despatch it humanely and drop it into seawater and ice slurry. The fillets are superb done in breadcrumbs and shallow fried, and of course served with fresh salad and cold chardonnay.
While the pelagic run has been pretty poor to date, May will hopefully provide some fantastic opportunities to nail one of those 20kg plus Spaniards. That great burst of weather in early April saw plenty of Spanish mackerel to 15kg boated and quite a few spotties, mac tuna and northern bluefin tuna with them. Many bottom anglers, cruising back towards the bar after a successful raid on the reef fish, stumbled across boiling schools in Laguna Bay. It can pay to have an adequate spin rod at the ready rigged with a chrome slug and a plentiful supply of replacement slugs. Those who are ready for action win the day with a few tuna as a bonus on the way home.
These fabulous fish are often caught on the troll with larger lures doing most of the damage. Chrome lures are my favourite tool for this type of trolling, with blue or green over the back my preferred colours.
The very unusual Spaniard Special also catches plenty of big fish at this time of year. They resemble a massive spinnerbait, and rigged with a small bonito, gar or pilchard, they are deadly. I wouldn’t mind betting they would work equally well with a large soft plastic, such as a Bozo, swimming along with it. The advantage of the Bozo range of soft minnow type lures is that they swim beautifully at very slow speeds and will suit this application very well.
So far the impressive catch list includes Spanish mackerel, northern bluefin tuna, snapper, spotted mackerel, mackerel tuna, tailor, cobia, and several hook ups on various billfish. No doubt the list will continue to grow, as they become better known and more widely used. They are available at Davo’s Bait and Tackle, Noosaville 07 5449 8099 for $17.50 (3 x 5/0) and $19.50 (3 x 6/0).
Sunshine Reef would be well worth a visit during May as it is a well-known time (and location) for coral trout. Quite possibly the most prized fish in the ocean; trout are often caught on live baits drifted into the bottom structure, as well as fresh fillets or even the humble pilchard or frozen squid. Hang on tight if you are chasing or hoping for a thumper trout as they go hard and more often than not they head straight into a rocky lair, which will make short work of any line. Most anglers that are smashed up in this manner have been done over by a fat trout, or perhaps an XOS sweetlip.
The Noosa River has been relatively quiet of late due to the continual supply of dirty fresh water running downstream. The lower reaches have been the best bet with a few flathead taken on drifted pilchards and some quite serious bream around the traps as well. Perhaps they are the advance party for the annual winter spawning run. In any case there are some excellent bream in the 1kg class hunting in the shady lower reaches with the Frying Pan worth a shot.
Some excellent mangrove jacks have been caught in the Woods Bay area as well as the Noosa Waters canals and around Munna Point. Trevally have been belting poppers at dawn in these same areas and whiting have shown a preference for live prawns near the river mouth on a making tide.
Glutinous estuary cod have been widespread throughout the system with Weyba Creek a very good place to target these hungry gutted fish. I have caught cod on all manner of baits, even the bones left over from lamb chops cooked on the barby, so anything is worth a go!Reads: 1963