Pelagics approach
  |  First Published: December 2005

December is a transitional month on the fishing grounds east of Moreton Island, with a lot of anglers starting to turn their attention to the arrival of the summer pelagics.

Reef fishing traditionally starts to get tough in December, especially with the stronger currents that play havoc with the anglers trying to bounce baits on the bottom. That’s not to say you can’t get a good feed of reefies if you can get a day when the current isn’t belting to the south.

Amberjack and kingfish will still hang in good numbers on the wider grounds of the 35 and 42 Fathom reefs with livebaits and jigs the best options. If the current is running hard, the jigs are the best option. Jigs between 300g and 400g are the best in the deeper water.

Shallow Tempest should be worth a try for snapper and squire this month. They generally move into this area for a few weeks late in the year and by working the outside edge of the reef in depths around 35-40m, you should get some reward.

Large schools of baitfish are moving down Moreton Island and with some luck the summer speedsters shouldn’t be too far behind. Listening to the chat on the radio revealed that a few wahoo and billfish have turned up around Cape Moreton and Hutchinsons Shoals, but they are not in any great numbers yet.

Closer to Christmas the mackerel species should start to put in an appearance and judging by the amount of baitfish already pushing down the coast, we might be in for an early run.

The shallow reefs off the Sunshine Coast have already had an early run of school mackerel, so it shouldn’t be long before we see them, and the Spaniards and spotties, move onto the Moreton Island coffee rock areas.

On recent charters I have been working the deeper reefs, live baiting and jigging for kingfish and amberjack with good results, but the days the current’s been belting south has made it hard work. One pleasing aspect is the quality and number of pearl perch swallowing the live baits with fish to 3kg being common.

Most of the fishing options in the coming months point toward pelagic fishing. So dust off the trolling gear and get ready to have some screaming ratchets. Closer to Christmas the spotties will move into Moreton Bay, so having a spin stick ready on your way across the paddock is a good move.

The holiday season is almost here and the increase in boat traffic on the water and at the ramps will mean you’ll have to have a bit more patience. This time of year also sees a few boats go over on the coastal bars from Tweed Heads to Noosa. Make sure your boat and motor are in tip-top condition and get rid of any old fuel from the tank.

That’s all from me for 2005 and I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. Most of all I hope Santa brings you that new rod and reel you ordered.

If you would like to join me on a charter (max 4 persons) give me a call at Outlaw Charters on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.


1) A 6kg spangled emperor (grassy sweetlip) from Shallow Tempest.

2) Some quality squire from Shallow Tempest.

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