Creating Good Habits
  |  First Published: July 2006

With winter now upon us it is the perfect time to teach the kids how to fish. Most kids love catching fish, and it’s during these early days that lifelong fishing practices can be taught to the future of recreational fishing.

Hopefully the days of esky filling and killing everything are well and truly gone. Sustainable fishing practices, supported by tight fisheries regulations and anglers who practice catch and release will hopefully ensure that future anglers will be able to enjoy fishing for many years to come.

Bream are an excellent target when fishing with the kids. During winter these fish congregate for their annual spawning run and are easy targets. A little berley of crushed pilchards and some bread will get the fish going and then the whole family should enjoy a productive session. Bream are a good table fish, but the smaller specimens aren’t worth filleting. Whole baked bream taste great and finding one fish per person for the table shouldn’t be too difficult in July.

One very good spot for a family day out on the Noosa River is the Frying Pan area adjacent to the river mouth. From time to time we head there and set up a basic camp on the sand island. The kids can wet a line, chase soldier crabs, kick a footy and occupy themselves for hours.

The water on the northern side of the sand island is the deepest and it’s always worth fishing. A fresh flesh bait or a pink nipper will rarely go unnoticed in this area. Drifting this run with live mullet, herring, half a pilchard or whole whitebait will catch almost anything. Bream and flathead will be high on catch lists at the end of the day.

Downsizing a little to small live prawns, nippers or a soldier crab or two will result in a feed of whiting. Sand crabs will be out and about in July so drop a pot or dilly in a likely looking spot at the beginning your session.

A boat is needed to get to the Frying Pan and there are plenty of hire boats along the river, but there are also a lot of land-based options. Munna Point is a beauty – you can even camp there and make a weekend of it. Plenty of bream, whiting and flathead are caught along the sandy foreshore at Munna Point. For early risers it’s worth throwing a popper or slug into the junction of Weyba Creek and the river in front of the camping area. The camp ground also has a good boat ramp.

In the lower reaches of the river there is a fishing platform in the Woods Bay area. If you head through Hastings Street you will find an area with plenty of car parks, a barbeque and picnic facilities. From there it is an easy walk along the foreshore to the spit area to toss poppers and slugs to tailor and trevally, particularly at dawn and dusk.

Gympie Terrace follows the river along the Tewantin Reach. This area has been refurbished by the Noosa Council and families regularly relax by the river and wet a line. There are barbeque and picnic facilities along the river, and up at the sailing club end there is a large playground if the fish aren’t biting.

Further up stream the purpose built fishing jetty at Harbourtown is a busy but quite productive location. This area is adjacent to the bridge that crosses the mouth of Lake Doonella. On the run-out tide many of the predators hunting in this small, shallow lake move back out into the river proper, right past the waiting kids on the jetty.

The ferry crossing, a little further upstream is worth a look too. There aren’t too many spots here but on most days there is enough room for a few kids to wet a line and plenty of quality fish and crabs are caught in this area on a regular basis. Wooroi Creek is next to the ferry crossing and it is worth exploring in a small tinny or canoe as it often delivers bream and flathead with tarpon an interesting distraction for fly casters and lure tossers.

For those who can access the highly productive offshore grounds, winter is very much worth the effort. Squire and snapper are regular catches on all the close in reef systems with North and Sunshine the best bets.

The annual northbound whale migration will be well underway by July. Regular breaches can be seen by people keeping a lookout. Anchoring over a bit of likely looking rubble or a pinnacle, employing a berley trail and sending a couple of baits down the trail can be very productive. Snapper, sweetlip, cobia, pearl perch, scarlet sea perch and the occasional jewfish are all caught in this way.

There will still be a better than average chance of a tuna or mackerel also in July. A few thumper northern blues and a stray yellowfin or two are caught along the Sunshine Coast during July and the last of the Spanish mackerel as well. If you do manage to hook a Spaniard this month it will almost certainly be a big one so be prepared.

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