It has been an outstanding summer and most anglers have found themselves caught right in the middle of chasing mackerel and other pelagics or heading down to the estuaries to enjoy the trevally and mangrove jacks that have dominated catches lately. The biggest decision to be made has been whether to go offshore or up the creeks.
We have endured a longer than usual run of northerly winds, which can be blamed for dampening the fishing spirit but there are plenty of alternative options. One of the better ones of late has been targeting the many canals, rivers and estuary systems around the Sunshine Coast. These waterways are so plentiful that it would take a lifetime just to get to know where the best spots are. So here are a few places to start.
Starting at Mooloolaba there are all the Minyama Canals and hundreds of pontoons, building foundations and bridges that can be targeted for bream, flathead, trevally and mangrove jack. Some of these structures host very desirable deep water holes that hold mulloway and large GT.
Around Mooloolaba there are large mangrove growth areas running off the sand banks and flats which are excellent country for targeting flathead, whiting, flounder, jacks and even a crab or two.
South of Mooloolaba there are numerous canal systems that hold tarpon, trevally, jack, flathead and the odd shark just to keep you on your toes. Back this up with a long stretch of beach running from Point Cartwright south down to Caloundra and along the full length of Bribie Island and your options explode.
Finally Pumicestone Passage and its associated creeks is another huge area to fish and offers a very diverse range of fish species. The Passage has again recorded some great fish with a large school of mulloway inside patrolling just outside the life savers cabin. The trevally are on and taking hard bodied lures. The queenfish have also been biting, with the best results coming from the Rapala X-Rap range.
To put the icing on the cake to reach 80% of these fishing grounds all you need is access to a car, bicycle or public transport. That’s the beauty of the Sunshine Coast!
The reef systems have been the place to chase a few mackerel around the warmer months with Spaniards a little slower in numbers that the spotties. Interestingly the by catch can be a better fishing experience than the target species, particularly if you hook on to a nice yellowfin tuna. Tuna exceeding 15kg have been taken across the board by mackerel fishermen who are either trolling or float lining out the back of the boat.
The pelagics including cobia, amberjack, samson, mahi mahi and many other varieties of tuna are being caught from the northern end of the Barwon Banks right through to Wide Caloundra. The bigger predators like wahoo can be seen lurking around the areas and darting underneath the boat having after working up your berley trail.
Reef species have been quiet but catches of just legal pearlies, fingermark, squire and parrot have dominated the reports. Currimundi and Bray’s rock have quietened down a lot and because of the northerly winds Brays is breaking during the low tide so look out and stay at a very safe distance.
Murphy’s Reef is full of little pickers again and the grinners. Fishing through the night is the best way to tackle the closer in reefs. Live bait will always go better so if you can get a hold of some nice yakkas or slimies then spend the time doing so. Bait schools are around in small pockets and there is a lot of junk mixed up in them but work them hard and you will get enough to have a good session.
Trolling the 50m line just outside of the 9 mile blinker out from Mooloolaba harbour is a good spot to tackle cobia, amberjack and even an odd sailfish. It is a matter of sounding a good area and working a ring pattern around it.
The spoil grounds outside of Caloundra just east of the northern marker out from Bribie Island has proven to be a good spot again for the mackerel and there are quite a few boaties that know all about it. There have been days where trying to troll around has been near impossible because of the number of boats. Don’t be tempted to follow every other boat though, sometimes they all follow each other and in actual fact nobody is getting anything. Move around and use the technology you have to find likely spots to fish.
Dart have really come on and they may be just a little small but they still provide heaps of fun for all anglers. The beach scene does not really fire when the northerly winds persist, so fish the sheltered areas like Kings, Moffat and Shelly Beaches. Bream are always around and when everything else fails you may catch some happy moments.
Spinning a Halco slug 30-50g around the waves is also a good way to spend an hour and give you a work out at the same time. A fast retrieve is all that is needed to hook you up with tailor, spotty mackerel or school mackerel. I have even seen lucky anglers hook on to big trevally. The rocks around Kings at low tide are another good spot to try some lure casting.
Fishing from the Boardwalk in Caloundra along the deep holes will reward you with quality bream and big flathead normally well over the 70cm max size limit.
The Blue Hole has been taken over by the holiday makers and why not, it is a beautiful area for a swim in the clear blue water or a walk across Bribie Island. You will find that on most days during the summer pulling up there to fish is really not the go. Work your way further south and drift the edges of the sand bars and flats to target the flathead and whiting. Military Jetty area is ideal and as well as further down to Bell’s Creek. There are plenty of areas to fish so enjoy what has been an exceptional summer. Have fun!
Scott from Caloundra Fishing World with a beautiful estuary caught mangrove jack weighing in at 3.3kg.
Tom caught this golden trevally in Caloundra from the Coast Guard Pontoon.Reads: 3003