Winter has well and truly left our shores for another year leaving behind pleasant memories of big snapper, magical pearlies and monster sweetlip. I would rate it as a good season overall, but there were limited opportunities based on previous years. Some say this is Mother Nature’s way of looking after her own and I hope it’s true.
Over winter, anglers who had the opportunity to chase snapper and pearlies generally came home with a good feed. Red-throat emperor, also called red-throat sweetlip, were around in massive numbers this season which should set the tone for seasons to come. Compared to the last five or so years there seemed to be a great number of smaller fish around this year, which can only be a good sign.
Wide Caloundra was the pick of the spots with the top of the Hards coming in a close second. Large amberjack, samsonfish and cobia entertained a lot of anglers out wide. Trolling and floating baits has proven successful on cobia and kingfish. The cobia will continue to fish well for months to come.
The Twelve, Seven and Five Mile reefs outside of Caloundra were also productive, with snapper around 5kg and plenty of cod taken consistently.
Murphys and Gneering Shoals also had a consistent run of sweetlip, including red-throats, and a big run of Moses perch. Fishing though the night was a good way to target the hard fighting amberjack, a stack of which were taken only 3km off Point Cartwright.
Currimundi Reef provided anglers with some exceptional catches of sweetlip, monster bream and a few corker snapper.
Around the Barwon Banks plenty of big snapper, pearlies, red-throat, trag and cod have been captured, much to the delight of anglers. It’s even more delightful to watch anglers return the bigger cod back into the system. I have heard many times that when cod are removed from a patch of reef, the reef does not function the same and can become devoid of fish. It’s all part of the bigger balance within nature I suppose, so keep putting them back. [When handling big cod be sure to support their belly, as studies have shown that lifting these fish up by the jaw wounds them internally. Many swim away looking perfectly healthy, but then slowly die of their injuries after a week or so. – Ed]
Deeper areas up to 90m+ are the best target areas for larger fish but it’s difficult to fish these areas when a strong tide is running around the full and new moon periods. I have done enough fishing with sinkers weighing more than 1lb to know that it’s not a comfortable way to fish, so I choose different times to tackle such areas.
Reports from the boys that love their overnight stays outside have been favourable, but they have experienced very short and hot runs of fish that turn off as quickly as they turn on.
Fishing the estuaries has been a learning experience with the mixed weather conditions over the past few months. Anglers had to test their skills when things closed down and believe me there was a lot of searching on some days.
The bream were found holding in areas that were deeper than 2-3m and around open areas with not much structure. The larger schools followed the mullet from the bar to Coochin Creek and back again so if you got on to them you normally got a feed.
The main channel around the Blue Hole was one of the better spots to try at night. The pontoon just down from Gemini Towers also provided some action, so check this area out before heading any further south.
Whiting were scarce by normal standards, but when located they were in big schools. Squirtworms and bloodworms are the best whiting baits, followed by smaller yabbies.
One of the better spots to fish for whiting has been Kings Beach, after all the swimmers and surfers have gone the first fire. Anywhere between to the two rock areas you can see whiting swimming in the shallow breaks.
I often see anglers throw way too deep and their baits end up way past the whiting. In any surf conditions the scavengers are normally locked tight around the breaking wave areas and it’s common to see them swimming in the waves as they roll to break. So try just throwing your line over the first break and work your way out from there.
The live bait within the passage is still good with herring, hardiheads and poddy mullet available around the traps.
Early morning surface activity has dropped off but by working the back creeks and run-offs there are good bream, cod and whiting available on poppers.
Bladed vibe lures have been used successfully around the Kawana bridges and rocky outcrops with a strong number of quality bream using these areas to feed regularly. The humble estuary cod and mangrove jack also frequent these areas and both are good targets as the warmer months return.
I have found DOA prawns and Damiki SP50s and SP45s are three of the best producing lures this season on bream, trevally and flathead.
Targeting trevally in the in the canals around Pelican Waters and Kawana Island just as the sun rises with hardbodied lures or soft plastics can be very rewarding. The making tide or the turn of the tide are still the best times to flick lures, particularly if these tides are in the early morning or evening.
The holes along the Wurtulla strip have produced good bream and dart with flathead and whiting making up the by-catch.
Low tide off the rocks at Shelly’s Beach and around Moffat holds some quality sweetlip and cod, but get in quick as the sweetlip will become scarce soon.
The rock wall at Mooloolaba has chopper tailor, bream, whiting and gar at the moment and is worth a shot throughout the day as well.
Cast your lures in under the moored boats for flathead and bream holding against the current. This can also be achieved from the shoreline as you can easily reach hundreds of boats. The jetties and pontoons in the area are also a great place to target bream and monster trevally.
The coming month will see a few more bream come on with flathead moving up a step as breeding season looms.Reads: 900