The tourist season along the Sunshine Coast was an absolute corker. Noosa businesses benefited from the massive influx of spenders and this can only be a good thing! The downside of course is the unbelievably busy Noosa River and crowded spots offshore.
Ramp rage is common around the festive season as anglers are keen to get on the water, (or head home) and patience levels run thin when other boaties are slow or worse still clog up the works altogether. One group at the main boat ramps along Gympie Terrace keen to launch their large new looking vessel were incensed by two kids who continually ‘got in the way’. Apparently the kids were struggling with their little tinny in the wind – perhaps a bit of help might have sped things up!
At the other ramp near the council chambers a senior angler sat in his boat cleaning the fish in the de-rig lane whilst others waited impatiently. Even a tirade of filthy abuse wouldn’t move him on until the job was complete! Lastly, at the sand ramp near Noosa Harbour some anglers from interstate were chipped by a local for leaving rubbish on the waters edge. The response was a series of abuse and threats so the local and his mate cleaned up for them. Don’t come back whoever you are.
Offshore there have been sporadic opportunities to catch mackerel. It seems that the spotties and Spanish versions are there one day and absent the next. Hopefully by February when the crowds have thinned out considerably the pelagics will be thicker and widespread.
Along with the occasional mackerel there have been quite a few reports of juvenile black marlin. Non stop local angler and regular contributor to this column, Peter Morris, has been chasing them with some success out at Chardons Reef, which is 15km or so east of Sunshine Beach.
Peter has been trolling Bally Hoo rigs dressed up with a garfish attached to 25lb mono on a TLD 20. His latest catch was 50kg or so and was of course released after a quick pic!
The mackerel have been caught by trollers, those cubing and also by live baiters – particularly those using yakkas.
There are plenty of changes on the way regarding size and bag limits. Some are excellent and others a bit hard to understand. The new rules and regulations will be phased in with the first changes to take place from 1 March 2009. Even some names have changed so it is pretty major – get used to the new regulations and follow them or get fined (see attached factbox).
The beaches have been fishing pretty well with Chizo from Noosa Beach Fishing Tours landing tailor, bream, dart, big whiting and a few quality flathead as well. Fishing the run out tide using pilchards up at Teewah has delivered the goods.
In the Noosa River, mangrove jacks have been going hard with the Woods Bay region, Weyba Creek, outside Noosa Harbour and in between the lakes all very much worth a try. Lightly weighted soft plastics, such as Ecogear Grass Minnows, worked across the surface seem to be going well, as young gun Chris Lacey has discovered. He was casting these light lures on a light spin outfit and managed to wrestle five big jacks out of the structure. Chris released all of the fish.
February is always a good month for jacks and a steamy afternoon can really produce the goods. Casting to structure is a given when chasing jacks or drifting a live bait such as a poddy mullet or a legal whiting into a snag can also be very effective.
Size and bag limit changes around the Sunshine Coast:
• Amberjack and samson will have a size min of 75cm with a bag limit of two.
• Black jewfish and mulloway go from a min. take size of 45cm to 75cm, with a new bag limit of two (formerly 10).
• Dusky flathead max. size limit will be increased to 75cm.
• Luderick min. size increases from 23cm to 30cm. Bag limit of 10 will apply.
• Mahi mahi min. size increases from 45cm to 60cm.
• Mangrove jack will have a bag limit imposed of five fish.
• School mackerel bag limit will decrease from 30 to 10.
• Dart will have a min. size limit of 30cm and a bag limit of 30 fish.
• Estuary cod that you keep for the table will need to have a pectoral fin removed.
Phase Two (effective 1 July 2009) will see a size limit placed on sharks and rays of 1.5m maximum and a bag limit of 1 fish.
Phase Three (effective 1 March 2010) will see the introduction of 25cm min. size limits for bream and tarwhine with a combined bag limit of 30 fish. Min. size for tailor will increase to 35cm.
There are plenty of other changes, particularly concerning minor size or bag limit, name changes and a few amendments to the crabbing rules.