Fishing curbs the winter woes
  |  First Published: August 2008

It has been a great run into the winter months with a multitude of species being taken across all aspects of fishing. Now that we are in August it’s time to really work hard to catch those big snapper.

There is little doubt that there are some monster snapper lurking around the traps both on the inner and outer reef systems. Recent trips out around Murphys have produced a bundle of mowong, pearl perch, snapper, squire, red emperor, Moses perch and hussar by the bucket load. The reds are just under size but provide plenty of entertainment on light tackle.

Setting into fishing mode is as easy as finding your spot and dropping the anchor down, begin the berley and position your lines at different depths until the action starts. Most of the bigger fish are still being taken on floating rigs following the berley down to the depths. A whole pilchard or live bait rigged on either ganged hooks or a snell configuration is the best way to present your bait to entice the monsters to smash it. Closer in reefs have stacks of hussar, smaller sweetlip, snapper up to the 4kg mark, cod, parrot and whiptail.

The Inner and Outer Gneerings are only 5km out from Point Cartwright, making them quite accessible to all boat fishers. The country around these areas is a mass of solid rock with the occasional bump or peak. It is worth looking around for a school of bait that is holding against the current and target them with either your plastics or a bait rig. Murphys is a little different and depending on what part of the reef system you target you will see different results down below. In general it has a staggering amount of country with big peaks and large lumps that hold some big fish. What normally happens is that people anchor up too early and get stripped by the pickers and depart before the bigger fish get a chance to come on, which is generally around sunset. As soon as the sun goes over the horizon the big boys come out to play and the little fish just hide to save themselves. So don’t set up too early.

Out wide on the Barwon Banks the 60m marks have been producing some awesome fish with snapper, pearlies and amberjack being the mainstays. However, this is a very busy area and sometimes there have been nights when it looked like a small city of boats.

Heading further north to the bottom of the Hards this month you will nail some big snapper and a mixture of pelagics, not to mention good size pearlies. For the plastic anglers, there are many opportunities around the Three Sisters mid banks in a depth of 27-39m of water to catch some spectacular fish.

Caloundra Wide and the 5 and 7 Mile reefs have been heavily targeted for snapper, pearlies, hussar, cod and parrot. With the excellent weather we have had lately everyone will be able to enjoy fishing at its best around the Sunshine Coast. There have been plenty of bait fish around with big schools in close to Point Cartwright running through to Caloundra to the south and out to the Banks.

The whales are making their presence felt with big pods all around the area. This season they are coming in close enough to watch them from the beaches, which is a real thrill for everyone on shore.

I have also noticed an increase in shark activity recently on the shallow reefs, particularly hammerheads. Although I don’t understand why, it’s nice to have forewarning they are around.

Throughout August, target the snapper and mixed reefies and by the time it comes to the end of the month we will start to see some big pelagic action starting to warm up a little.

The beaches along the Wurtulla Strip are a good target area for bream, chopper tailor, dart, whiting and still some monster mulloway. Although the bigger mulloway are in better numbers further north, the chance is still there if you put the hours in. Without doubt fresh squid is by far the best bait and nearly assures you of a jewie.

For those of us who still find early mornings a little too cold then anytime during the day can reward you with the bread and butter varieties. The rocks around Kings and Shellys beaches have chopper tailor and tarwhine with a few soapy jew mixed in amongst them. Bream and winter whiting can also be targetted along the northern tip of Bribie Island.

The luderick have been thick in the Pumicestone Passage but they moved out to the Blue Hole early in the piece and only came back to the Boardwalk around the beginning of July. They hold underneath the structure until the tide run stops and then, if you are ready, you can land some nice luderick with the right techniques.

The bream are reaching their best at the moment and the full moon in August will be the peak time to fish for some quality bream. Some bigger bream just over the 1kg mark have been taken inside the passage but the majority remain around 25cm on average. Prawns and herring are the better option for targeting the larger fish but unfortunately the little ones like the same bait so you will loose a few.

The winter whiting are at their best at the moment and are top quality fish. They are in big numbers throughout the passage and around Bribie. The water has been very clean and clear in the Passage, which does not help the fishing and keeps the bigger predators deep and out of sight. There is enough bait fish around for them to devour without taking the risk of hitting a line. Mullet are everywhere and when fresh squid is not available they make a fantastic back up bait for the mulloway.

Flathead by the end of August will be on the move getting ready to spawn in another month. The big lizards over the 1m mark will be plentiful this season and I am looking forward to seeing just how big they will grow. The biggest I have seen so far is 1.2m taken from the Passage and in anyone’s language that is a nice fish!

Using plastics around the rocks just west of the Boardwalk is a great way to spend a few hours and take home some nice bream. The pumpkinseed and gold glitter colours are doing the majority of the damage and of course the Ecogear VX35 and 40 are just superb when it comes to bream fishing.

August is definitely one of the better months to target big snapper and to work the beaches hard for some nice tailor and mulloway. The estuaries will be the place for bream and winter whiting and who knows what else you may come up with. Towards the end of August the flathead will be a good target species and early afternoon to late evening will continue to be the better time to fish out on the reefs. Don’t blow this winter, get out and make some time to enjoy a fish. Have Fun!

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