River Scream
  |  First Published: April 2009

The Noosa region has provided a plethora of angling options as the cooler weather begins its inevitable, but short-lived arrival. The offshore brigade has seen good days and bad, and those fishing the Noosa River have come up with a few surprises.


Offshore the mackerel and tuna season has been particularly irregular with plenty of surface activity one day and nothing the next. With the demise of the ring netters some years back I was very hopeful of a dramatic increase in mackerel and tuna numbers, especially at this time of year. May is a very good month, perhaps the best, to chase big Spaniards, however it would seem that their numbers remain constant at best.

The same can be said for the various tuna species that we encounter along the Sunshine Coast, most of which are longtail or northern blues. Some days they are everywhere and others impossible to locate. Unfortunately a dramatic increase in numbers appears unlikely. I welcome input from bluewater fishers more regular than I, those from the professional fraternity included.

One of the keenest young anglers I have ever met is Anthony Bellantoni. He has appeared on these pages many times over the years and here he is again. In between work, overseas travel and university studies, Anthony still manages to drag the old bloke offshore from time to time, achieving a very good success rate. No big surprise there I suppose with the aforementioned old bloke being a vastly experienced and very keen line wetter himself.

Recently the father and son team of Mario and Anthony ventured outside with the younger Bellantoni’s close friend Monique Schwarz. I am sure ‘Neeky’ was well briefed and ready for action, however Anthony’s first cast hook-up was probably most unexpected. As soon as the Rio’s 20g slug was swallowed by a speedy tuna the rod was duly delivered to the unsuspecting young lady. Try as she might some support was needed and at the end of the battle a team effort was declared the winner of the day. Pump and wind is fun for only so long…

Other offshore sessions have delivered spectacular mackerel on the troll and thumping trevally on soft plastics dropped to the bottom for snapper. If your offering is in the water almost anything is possible and these blokes know that well. Be it mack, tuna and trevally outside or jacks, gar and bream in smooth water there is absolutely no substitute for time on the water, experimentation and building that library of local knowledge.


Regular dumps of consistently nagging rain have made life somewhat interesting for those fishing the estuaries. It seems that as soon as the river starts to clear the heavens open up and the cycle starts once again.

All is not lost though with some excellent catches, generally in the lower reaches, including plenty of quality mangrove jacks, limited numbers of flathead, plenty of bream and whiting and at least one very good barramundi!

The local jacks seem to be everywhere of late with some very good fish taken well upstream around structure as well as from the lower reaches of the system. Live mullet have been an excellent bait, with soft plastics and the good old hardbodied minnow also accounting for some great jacks.

If you don’t know what a big jack looks like get yourself into Davo’s Bait and Tackle for a look see. Their massive aquarium holds trevally, barra, estuary cod and a serious mangrove jack. The staff will be able to set you up for a jack session and even tell you where the best spots are.

Jacks have been caught in good numbers around the back of Noosa Sound, near the Sheraton Bridge, Lake Cootharaba and in the Noosa Waters canals. They have been responding to prawn baits, garfish baits and prawn lures as well as well presented bibbed minnows.

The flatties have been a little slow of late, but they are still present and generally willing. A drifted frogmouth pilchard or, better still live, herring or mullet will generally attract the attention of a flathead or two, particularly on the run-out tide. If the river is dirty fish the lower reaches. Weyba Creek has delivered some nice flathead to date as well as some serious jacks and a few mud crabs as well.

Barramundi are a rare capture in these waters and one that I have not seen occur. Most summers we hear of two or three barra being caught, mostly by those chasing jacks. Not so long ago, a local angler nailed a most respectable barra of 85cm trolling a mullet in the wee hours. Apparently he has been smashed up in the past using this interesting tactic and of course he now wonders whether the mystery fish were barra as opposed to the obvious suspect, the mighty red bream!

Once again it demonstrates that if you are on the water and having a go almost anything is possible. Mackerel and cobia in the river, barra, monster muddies and bass, toga and Mary River cod just up the road in the sweet water – you’ve gotta love Noosa!

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