Sensational spring fishing
  |  First Published: October 2005

It has been a cracker of a month on the Sunshine Coast with plenty of great fishing weather to keep us all happy.

This is one of the best snapper seasons I have seen for quite a few years. Knobbies have been plentiful both in the outer waters and all around the inner reefs, with some over 7kg and an average of 3-6kg. Traditionally, October and November start to see the snapper taper off but don’t be alarmed because they will still be found later, in deeper waters and around the better spots.

Murphy’s Reef has produced some great pearl perch over the past weeks. Spots around the blinker that have plenty of wire weed hold good numbers of pearlies but you need to be right on them to have a chance. Fresh squid has accounted for the best of them and you will need to work harder through the middle of the day unless you are on a top spot.

Parrot have also provided some great fishing with the bigger boys rolling in as they normally do at this time of year. Fish over 5kg are most likely to be caught in 50m or more, so venture out to Caloundra Wide or the Barwon Banks and experience the difference.

The outer reef systems have produced cod, snapper, leatherjackets, large reds, iodine bream, morwong, parrot, big pearlies, sweetlip, fingermark and hussar just to name a few.

By October, the bait schools should have come in closer off Mooloolaba. At the time of writing, the slimies and yellowtail are already there in good numbers and schooling up in their traditional big balls on the sounder. As it warms up, the pelagics will offer some great fun on light tackle. Cobia, kings, amberjack, tuna and sailfish will shadow the bait wherever they go so always have a set rig ready to get amongst them.

The beach scene has been fantastic and it’s about time. Fishing between beach access 36-39 along the Bokarina strip will give you access to a great gutter running over 500m and broken between a shallow bank only 50m out at low tide. This patch holds the fish like a net and there are plenty of baitfish there to attract the big predators. I spent a memorable two hours hauling in bar-tailed flathead, dart to 1.5kg, tailor and whiting with an old mate of mine. We used pilchards and sandworms on the evening run-in tide, with the sandworms accounting for far more fish than the pillies.

Kings Beach has produced some sweetlip off the northern corner around the rock outcrop along with some small squire, although they will soon move out in to deeper waters. Moffat and Dickies beaches have also fished reasonably, producing bream and whiting.

There is no doubt that fishing the run-in tide on dusk up to 9pm is the best time to tackle the beaches at the moment. Berley is a must: I crush up a stack of pilchards, cut them into little pieces, add some sand and pellets, mix them together and place them in two bait holders on my hips. I then let a small handful out every 5 minutes or so.

The northern tip of Bribie Island on the beach side has a few good gutters that produce dart and flathead. You will still get the odd tailor up to 4kg if the conditions are good. You will need a tinnie or some type of boat to get across there but it is worth the effort. This is also a great area for beachworms.

The estuaries inside Pumistone Passage have slowed a little as far as bream catches go. Trevally and tailor will still hit the baits through the next month or so but the good news is that the flathead are moving back in. The bigger female flathead will be stocking up before the breeding season so take as few as possible. Whiting are the mainstay but there aren’t as many big whiting as last year. The average size has been around 500g.

The best spots to try for whiting are along Golden Beach on the Esplanade and the flats down around the boat club. Casting a worm or yabby into the areas where the tidal flow runs over the sand bars and enters deeper water is the best bet, as the fish lie in ambush waiting for bits and pieces to come over the lip. Use as light a line as possible and the smallest sinker you have in your tackle box; let the tidal flow do the work in taking the bait to the whiting. There is every chance that you will pick up a flathead, bream or trevally while you are fishing for them.

One of the best spots for families is around the Power Boat Club. You can fish around the sand or try your luck down near the bridge heading over to Pelican Waters. This is a deepwater access channel and the bridge pylons and oyster-infested rocks greatly enhance your chance for a bream. If the kids get tired of fishing, they can play in the adjacent park and at lunchtime you can pack up and walk 100m to the boat club for a meal.

Mangrove jack will be a great target species over the next few months. The bottom reaches of the passage down past Coochin Creek have plenty of snags and mangroves and hold good numbers of these mighty fighters. Live herring and poddy mullet are my favoured baits, with Prawnstar lures and other soft plastics worth a flick.

The Boardwalk in Caloundra is one of the best spots to try for some trevally and bream. The luderick have nearly gone; this year was not a touch on the numbers from previous seasons and a good example of what happens when we take too many. Baitfish such as hardiheads, herring and mullet can be seen in big numbers around the jetties and pontoons and are worth a cast with a bait net. Night fishing has pulled a couple of 2kg-plus trevally on fresh flesh fillets on the making tide and as we progress through the warmer months they should start to reach 3-5kg. Surface poppers in the early mornings are great fun to use when catching these top fighting fish.

Don’t forget the River to Reef Fishing Classic from November 4 to 6 to be held in conjunction with the North Coast Boat Show at Quad Park on the Sunshine Coast. Entry in the competition gives you a free weekend pass to the boat show. If you see me there, come and say hello. I’d love to hear about how the fishing has been and take a picture of you and your catch.

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