No Need for Big Trips for Big Fish
  |  First Published: May 2008

The Sunshine Coast is once again experiencing the type of weather that keeps everyone happy, especially anglers. The fishing has improved ten-fold and great catches are now starting to come in from out wide, which a couple of months ago seemed impossible to achieve.

The Inner and Outer Gneerings has certainly been the spot to fish both in the mornings and evenings with some quality sweetlip and pan sized snapper the main catches. Even though there are still plenty of little pickers, there are some real monsters between them that will smash you up real quick.

The odd mackerel and amberjack are still patrolling these waters looking for an easy feed so hang on to your lines just in case. Red emperor, estuary and Maori cod are plentiful but the majority are just under legal size.

Fingermark and good-sized flounder have been taken around Murphy’s during the daytime whilst on the drift using paternoster rigs. Later in the afternoon until evening you will see catches of sweetlip, morwong, snapper and big parrot. The few small patchy reefs that lie around the blinker out from Mooloolaba have been busy and not a day goes by where you won’t see a heap of boats taking advantage of the fishing. Caloundra Reefs have surprisingly been a lot quieter than those further north.

The 5, 7 and 12 mile have a few smaller snapper to 4kg, cod, pearlies and a couple of other mixed reefies. However, if it wasn’t for the cobia it would be a let down. Out on Wide Caloundra there have been some nice amberjack taken along with a stack of tuna and good snapper. The water temperature has just dropped below the 20C mark so when it hits that magic 17-18C the big snapper should begin to breed and the cycle starts all over again.

The Barwon Banks has been patchy but productive enough to warrant the rising petrol costs. The pelagics can certainly make or break a trip out to the Banks, particularly when other species like snapper, morwong, trevally, emperor, cod, fingermark, hussar and others are a little quiet.

This month I will be concentrating on my night fishing and using floaters in the berley trail to nail some big snapper, sweetlip and anything else that feels the need to enter the esky. Remember with winter setting in, you only need to be in close to pull some big fish. It may mean some early starts or late finishes, but it will be worth it.


The beaches have been outstanding with the oncoming consistent weather. Fishing Moffat Beach during the southerly blow grabbed us some nice bream before the little butter bream came on. The fishing was best just on the run up to dusk and the bream were very hungry indeed.

Kings Beach is also a good option but is not really sheltered in the southerlies. However, some nice whiting and sweetlip have been caught on the making tide in the early mornings. The Wurtulla strip is producing great catches of dart, bream, whiting and the occasional flathead with the best bait options at the moment being fresh prawns. They have out fished every other bait 10 to 1, including worms, yabbies, pipis, and pilchards. The pilchard filleted and double hitched around the 1/0 long shank hook did come a very close second.

The lead up to the full moon produced the last real run of mulloway and it is fair to say that the average size was between 4-6kg. Plenty were taken around the Caloundra Bar and off the beaches right through to the mouth of the Maroochydore River.

The chopper tailor are running again so it is a matter of getting your line tight very quickly before they devour your bait. There is nothing worse than standing around holding a rod that has been picked clean in a matter of seconds, thinking there is a big one just around the corner. We have all been caught out by the little buggars but smart fishers overcome this problem with speed and efficiency.

The beaches will continue to offer quality fishing now, with sweetlip and smaller snapper becoming the stronger options on the right fishing times.


The canals and estuaries have certainly not been left behind with one of the best mangrove jack seasons that I have experienced for a few years. Some absolute monsters have been taken and released and they seem to have ventured well outside their natural habitats. One often wonders how fish cope with such a fast changing environment in development and new waterways etc, but they have come on stronger than ever.

The season also saw a late but good run on the queenies that were attacking live pike around the Boardwalk in Caloundra with some regularity for a while. Plenty of little ones show us promising signs of things to come during the next few seasons.

Overall the crabbing and prawning was pretty good and people reckon they were catching enough for a sandwich. Some of them must have had some whopping big pieces of bread let me tell you after seeing their catches.

The big winter bream should be on our doorstep now along with the winter whiting making for a fresh start to yet another season.

So this month you will not need the big trips to get the big fish, as they will be in close. Early starts and late finishes with plenty of berley will give you all the fish you want. The estuaries will start to bring home some of those big 1kg+ bream and the canals, pontoons and bridges will always be the number one spots to cast a lure or bait at them. Fishing the beaches through winter is a great option and a safe bet for a feed.

Have Fun!

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