Winter treats for anglers
  |  First Published: August 2006

On the whole winter has treated anglers pretty well on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast. The estuaries have been a bit hit and miss, but those who persevered and tried different techniques generally had a few wins.

Offshore poor conditions kept many boats dry, but fishable days delivered some quality winter species with snapper the stand out.

August should see plenty more of the same and the offshore scene looks promising. A couple of reasonable days strung together along with a westerly in the lead up to the full moon will cause a snapper bonanza at most close in reefs. North and Sunshine are reliable, close to home and they will fish very well when the conditions are right. As well as snapper there will be plenty of squire, pearl perch, parrots, Moses perch and a few scattered coral trout, particularly at Sunshine Reef. There is still a fair chance of tangling with tuna at this time of year. The mackerel will probably be back up north somewhere, however a few straggling northern blues and yellowfin will be caught, mostly by anglers drifting a bait down the berley trail.

Sunshine has also delivered plenty of big cobia during the first couple of cool months. Many of these fish have been 20kg arm stretchers. Quality sweetlip have also been on the chew and hopefully this will continue. These exceptional tablefish have been best targeted at North Reef although Halls and Little Halls Reefs often deliver the goods, particularly after a decent fresh.

Further afield at the Barwon Banks, The Hards and Double Island Point anglers can expect to bag out on quality snapper and possibly one or two big red emperor. Amberjack and yellowtail kingfish could also be on offer during August so if you have the boat to get out wide, look for a relatively calm day during the first week of August and get out there and have a bash. Feel free to report your results to me via e-mail.

Berleying can dramatically increase catch rates so bring a good supply of pillies to chop up and ditch overboard. Almost anything can be added to the trail however pilchards are an excellent start as they are an oily fish that can generate a slick on calm days as well as a tempting waft that calls in fish from far and wide. Even once the fish start to co-operate it is best to keep the trail going to keep the fish nearby. Even a tin of cat food lowered by rope and punctured with a few decent holes can get the job done.

Good baits to float down the trail are whole pilchards on ganged hooks, mullet fillets, mullet heads, whole small squid or squid heads and live fish. A live pike is a very good offshore bait as these fish are quite oily and come complete with their own in built fish attracting aroma! A few of these can be collected around the rock wall adjacent to the Fishing and Boating Patrol office at Munna Point. A small slug or soft plastic usually does the trick.

Noosa River

Plenty of bream have kept holidaymakers busy during the June break in the Noosa River. Unseasonal rain has pushed most of the fish down into the lower reaches with Munna Point, Weyba Creek and the Frying Pan all worth some time.

Pink nippers are a great bait for bream, and once again berley can make a very big difference at the end of the day. Bream generally feed near the bottom so it makes sense to get your berley down deep. Mix it up with sand and gently drop it over the side of the boat. Scattering berley on the surface will often result in the fish following the tucker away from your anchor point as the current takes your berley with it. There are all sorts of bizarre berley mixes for bream however you could do a lot worse than chopped pilchard, sand and a little tuna oil.

Flathead have been a little hard to find although there have been a few big specimens caught in both the main river and Weyba Creek. Drifting livebaits is a good way to find flathead in winter and I’d be trying the run-out tide from the Tewantin boat ramp right down to the river mouth. It can also be worth drifting a soft plastic as these are often belted hard by motionless flathead, as long as they get close enough to the business end of the fish!

Trolling minnow style lures will also catch flathead, as will wandering around the Frying Pan and casting both plastics and minnows as you walk.

This method will also take the occasional bream and tarwhine, and at dawn and dusk you would have an excellent chance of tangling with trevally and tailor. The Woods Bay area is a better bet for those chasing trevs, although they could turn up almost anywhere.

Luderick are about in numbers too and this should continue well and truly through August. This is a specialist form of fishing and it can be highly addictive. Rock walls are a good place to have a go, and the boulders near the river mouth are a good bet!

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