Successful Trips Make It Worth While
  |  First Published: July 2008

The water has cooled bringing us well and truly out of the transitional period that ran late this season, into the middle of big snapper time. And it’s not only snapper that are making their mark; sweetlip and cod are around in serious numbers.

If you are into big trips out, 40-50km, then the Barwon Banks or Wide Caloundra will be your target area for fishing in the coming weeks. The cooler mornings may be a put off for some but I reckon it gets the blood pumping and certainly wakes you up, particularly when you have to walk in the water to launch the boat.

The good thing about winter fishing is that the bait stays fresher for longer, and in some instances needs a little help to thaw out on the way. I always put bait out into my bucket as I begin to head to my spot. That way when I arrive it is thawed and ready to go.

There have been consistent catches of snapper right across the board on the Sunshine Coast and by all counts it looks as though it could be another bumper season. The big fish are in close and out wide so it is just a matter of choosing your spot dependant upon the conditions.

Grass sweetlip and red throats are still around in menacing numbers, in particular the undersized ones.

The Inner and Outer Gneerings have been the obvious choice on the less prettier days and they never seem to let you down on a feed. We hooked up on to a couple of monsters just recently out there and got spooled on both occasions so you just never know what can happen. They were probably big tuna, which have been worth targeting these past weeks.

There has been some good pelagic action around the coffee rocks at Caloundra through to the Blinker at the 9km mark out from Mooloolaba, which is a fairly big area. Places like Rapers Shoal, Currimundi Reef, Brays Rock and the spoil grounds are also good places to start the hunt. Amberjack and kingfish are the go so make sure you rig appropriately.

The 5, 7 and 12 Mile reefs have produced in the wee hours of the morning and returned good results for those fishing into the evenings. The deeper systems around the 90-200m mark have produced pearl perch, big snapper, Maori and estuary cod, some stray amberjack and hussar by the bucket load.

Red emperor are around a little further north and more towards the top of the Barwon Banks. The Basault Knob has been quiet but it should improve as July really gets up and running.

The mid Banks area is an early or late target spot, otherwise you will run the risk of the pickers driving you nuts. Fishing from 35-50m of water is a lot more appealing for most than the deeper waters and can be very rewarding. Without doubt the fishing can only improve from being good to great over the coming weeks, providing the weather holds for us.

The Pumicestone Passage has seen its fair share of ups and downs but eventually the bigger bream have started to show up. And I think the big lizards now realise that they will be released and just keep on taking baits both live and dead. With live bait in such plentiful supply, working lures either soft plastics or hardbodied can be the answer to trick a fish or two.

Queenies and trevally are around in numbers and the Blue Hole is the best spot to anchor up for some of the bigger bream and whiting. The mullet have been around for some time now, not the big ocean boys but the better eating ones. Cast nets have been torn to threads by them when they have been cast out from one of the many pontoons around the passage. Fresh mullet strips make incredibly good bait in the estuaries on the beach and out wide so get yourself some when you can.

The Ecogear SX40 lures have bought me back to lures again and I must say that catching a big bream on them is a good feeling. I can feel you all gasp that a bait monkey like myself is out using lures, but we have to try new things so that we can comment when asked. Between now and my next article I will have tested about six new lures and put them through the works so I will let you know what happens.

The beaches and rocks have produced some really big bream and consistent catches of dart with flathead and whiting around in some of the holes. Dicky Beach through to Moffat Beach have been the go and if you really want to get on to some big fish head further north around Tewantin. Late nights are rewarding anglers so if you like the cold then pack your gear and travel a little.

Overall the winter months will continue to give us great picks of quality fish.

Remember in the boat to check your equipment flares and EPIRB expiry dates because the police are out checking and a few mates have copped some hefty fines. Until next month have fun!

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