Despite the rough weather patterns over the summer season, we can now start to prepare for the winter run of snapper and other great reef species.
Summer sure was hit and miss so we really didn’t get a chance to test how consistent the fishing was. Mother Nature never fails to show us that it can protect its own; keeping boaties inside more often than out over the five month period.
The limited opportunities that were available didn’t always fire but the return of the mackerel and dollies in good numbers was pleasing to see. In traditional summer fashion the reefies shut down hard but the estuaries opened to a strong flathead and whiting run. It was also a summer of hard knocks from mangrove jack but solid hook ups on tarpon and small queenies, with trevally not far behind.
The heavy fighting mulloway made its presence felt from Caloundra to Noosa and everywhere in between allowing even shore-based anglers to enjoy a strong run and a rewarding finish. It’s amazing how one balances out the other.
The larger mackerel will still be worth targeting in April so don’t retire the trolling lures just yet. They may not be thick but they will be around, especially the bigger Spaniards. Look around Caloundra 5 and 7 Mile reefs, the spoil grounds, Inner & Outer Gneerings, Currimundi and north to Sunshine Reef for the best chances.
The marker buoys are great spots to target pelagics and to stock up on live bait. It is common to hook on to kingfish, cobia, mahi mahi, amberjack and other hoodlums around these structures, which is why you should have a rig ready to go and in the water when you hit the spots.
It never hurts to have a soft plastic over the side on a paternoster rig whilst you are hunting bait. We all seem to forget that fish eat fish so it would seem natural that if there is bait around there could be a big predator ready to devour your lure.
Reefies will take up most of our time, and the odd cool evening fishing trip is something I am looking forward to. Float lining your live or cut baits down the berley trail in search of snapper, sweetlip, red emperor, cod, hussar, trag, pearl perch, morwong and a stack of other species is one of the most rewarding types of fishing, particularly when the reel starts screaming.
During the days over the reefs there’s a strong chance that you will encounter good numbers of cobia. Caloundra 12 Mile and out on Wide Caloundra there have been many pleasing reports of black kings being taken. We normally would get them on the run up to the warmer months but they have become an all round species, which is very welcomed.
A simple floating pilchard or balloon with a bait under it seems to account for many fish and, because they are an opportune feeder, just by having a bait out you greatly increase you chances of a hook up.
The pearlies will also be the go at places like the Barwon Banks, bottom of the Hards and Wide Caloundra over the coming months. Again a paternoster or a snell rig seems to work great for this species, and when you are bringing them up two at a time it can turn out to be a great day.
For those that don’t want to head too far out then Murphys, Brays Rock, Currimundi and again the Gneerings are the best bet.
April will bring on the bream around the shallow reefs and if you have never fished places like these after dark then you are missing a whole fishing experience. However, it will need to be a calm night and fishing the making tide is always the safest when around Currimundi and Brays as these are not rough weather spots.
If you are land-based then target the bridge pylons around Kawana and the many canals and pontoons. Those with transport can go for trevally and big bream on the jetties in Mooloolaba but remember that some are private and you will need permission.
Just around the corner the rock walls at the Mooloolaba Bar are fantastic for trevally, bream, whiting, gar, mulloway, tuna and other surprise species. There is always a place to hide from the wind on the wall so fishing into the night is more comfortable than you think.
The Maroochy River is a well known spot for all the bread-and-butter varieties and there are some real prize winners around the mouth. Boaties can enjoy vast opportunities from Twin Waters area right through the cod hole to Bli Bli with those on foot able to fish every spot along the river and around Chambers Island.
The Pumicestone Passage should be one of the spots you should also have a crack at and working the Caloundra Bar is the first step. The deepwater holds any number of fish but when the tide gets running it is near impossible to hold a line steady. Look for eddies and calm backwaters to cast your bait because this is where the fish will be waiting in ambush.
The Esplanade along Golden Beach is perfect for a spot of whiting fishing. If you like your plastics then flathead are readily available right throughout the system.
The Blue Hole on the eastern side of the passage just off Bribie Island is worthy of an evening or early morning anchor for bream, whiting and flathead, with trevally and queenies possible at first light on poppers. The Sunshine Coast offers endless opportunities for all types of angling including the beach.
The strip between Point Cartwright south to Dickys Beach is always worth a look, particularly on the top or bottom of the tide. A low tide at night seems to always produce the better whiting and bream with dart always ensuring that the bait doesn’t get stale.
The more sheltered areas of Moffat and Kings is the place to target for the same with both being much more comfortable when the wind is on. Being swimming beaches it is sometimes difficult to get a spot but as the waters cool your chances will greatly improve. I have had many a wrestle with shovel nose rays and other shark species on the beach and caught some pretty nice tailor and mulloway in the evenings so the opportunities are there.
Fish the rocks around Shelly’s at low tide for a multitude of rock dwellers as well as regular species. The northern tip of Bribie Island is accessible from Caloundra and the beach area is one of the best whiting grounds around. You can hire a boat or take your own over there and enjoy a day with the family having a picnic or BBQ and swim along with a fish.
The new Boardwalk in Caloundra will be nearing commencement soon so look forward to getting stuck into the fish from there when it is finished. There are lots of places to wet a line around here and plenty of different species to target so get out and have some fun.Reads: 1776