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Luring Coochiemudlo
  |  First Published: November 2004



Situated only a few hundred metres away from the Victoria Point boat ramps, Coochiemudlo Island is a great spot on windy days. No matter which direction the wind is blowing from, there will always be a protected place to wet a line, as fish can be lured right around the island.

Flathead

Lizards are available right around Coochiemudlo Island. We’ve caught them off every beach by casting or trolling either small jellybean hard-bodied lures or ‘whipping’ 3” Sliders in colours such as pearl, hot pink, chartreuse/black flake and motor oil.

Flathead love lures with bright colours, with pink, orange and chartreuse being well-known favourites. When it comes to soft plastics, however, I reckon the shiny pearl colours are the bee’s knees.

The only secret to catching flathead in shallow water is to work lures that will spend most of the retrieve near the bottom. These fish generally lie in ambush near a piece of structure, such as a rock, weedbed or piece of timber, but they can come from just about anywhere to take your lure.

A list of the feature spots for flathead around Coochiemudlo would include the downcurrent side of the very shallow sandbar that runs out towards the Victoria Point Boat Ramp from the northwestern point of the island. Flathead lie in wait around this shallow apron on an incoming tide, and large numbers of them can be caught by wading anglers when a school moves in. A group of anglers can spread out through this region because the water is only a few feet deep. A good ploy is to anchor your boat on the sandy beach and get out and walk. With firm sand underfoot, it’s also a great place for wading by flycasting anglers. Just a tip though – water rips through here on the tide.

Another good location is the northern rocky foreshore. It can be pretty weedy at times but the flathead make it worthwhile. Weedless rigged plastics are the secret.

Other great spots include the bay in front of Morwong beach, the entire run of eastern beaches and the southern beach if you hit it early before the swimmers, boats and ferries make the fish a little too wary.

Coochie is a great flathead spot, with the spring and upcoming summer months being the ideal time to catch them. Who needs an invitation?

Bream

There are a number of consistent bream spots around the island but they probably can’t handle too much repetitive pressure before the fish shut down. The gravel regions near the Red Rock on the southwestern corner, the rocky outcrops on the southeastern and eastern beaches and the mangroves around the north of the island on high tide are all fish producers.

Out in deeper water around the drop-offs you’ll find bream, particularly in winter when you maybe fortunate enough to find them schooling up.

Tailor

Out wide of the eastern beaches (even on the wide sand flats that are around 1.8-2m deep) and across the southern channel you’ll find schools of tailor in common attendance during late winter. If you hit the water just on daybreak you can locate them by trolling shallow running minnows and metal spoons. I prefer the Queensland-made Flasha spoons in the heavier models in each length range, particularly the 30g model.

After locating the schools, cast around the area with surface lures and/or spoons. Sometimes the tailor will feed just on dusk but on a busy weekend they seem to feed best just on dawn when most of the water traffic is still in bed.

Squid

Squid are most common in winter through to October. They hang around the rocks, weedbeds and also the sandy beaches – particularly near the stands of mangroves. It helps if there are no people around.

You’ll find the squid on the northern, eastern and southern sides of the island. On the western side they’re a little scarce.

Yellowtail Pike

These aggressive little feeders are a great standby for lure flickers in Southeast Queensland’s saltwater, and they eat just about every type of lure I’ve mentioned in this article. They make great bait and are a pretty good feed for the family. You’ll find them right around the island.

Red Buoy

The red buoy to the southeast is the spot for those wishing to chance their arm on snapper and mackerel. The preferred lurecaster’s method is to drift through this area under electric power in about 5m of water, with one eye on the sounder. Bait fishos like to anchor and berley for squire and mackerel in the warmer months, their bait of choice often being the trusty unweighted pilchard on a gang rig.

Hopping a 5” Saltwater Assassin straight-tailed shad off the bottom after casting ahead of the boat works well for the squire and snapper, while feeding surface fish such as mackerel can be targeted with cast and retrieve metal lures. If you’re pelting metal around and the fish aren’t showing any interest, try speeding up your retrieve or downsizing the lure – or both.

Tuna

Keep your eyes peeled across to the east, and if you’re lucky you may spot a school of tuna or mackerel. Metal slugs, such as Raiders, are great all-round lures for these species, with poppers being a great option for the bigger longtail tuna. More and more anglers are throwing soft plastics into the fray, and these lures work very effectively with the benefit of not requiring the high-paced retrieves commonly needed with slugs and poppers.

DAY TRIP

Coochie is a great day trip for the lurecasting angler. The ramps are some of the best around, and for those new to boating you can’t get into too much trouble if you take things steady. I like to fish as I go while circumnavigating the island. On days when the beaches are popular you’ll have to skip a few spots, but even then it takes most of the day to fish them all. And a feed of fish is regularly on the cards; flathead are the mainstay of creels across summer with a bream or two and maybe a squire adding some variety.

I’d take a few spin rods on a well prepared trip: a light stick for bream, a 2.1m light to medium for flathead and a Moreton Bay spin stick for snapper, tuna and mackerel.

[CAPTIONS]

1) Chris Barnes took this bream off one of the rockbars that jut out from the south-eastern end of Coochie.

2) A flathead on a diving lure and a squid on a surface popper. Both came from the rocky region on Coochiemudlo’s southeastern corner.

3) Yellowtail pike are a great standby for lure flickers around Coochie. They eat just about every type of lure, they make great bait and are a tasty feed. You’ll find them right around the island.

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