River Revellers
  |  First Published: December 2009

As the holiday season continues along the Sunshine Coast, the rivers have become busy places. Ramps are congested and car parks definitely at a premium, so good planning is the key to success at this time of year.

Ultra early starts will result in easy launching and parking nearby. Being on the water pre-dawn is always a bonus and those dawn sessions can sometimes really produce. Anglers that like to sleep-in will be disappointed.

Trevally and possibly tailor will be a good target in the lower reaches at dawn. The Munna Point area and Woods Bay are top areas to prospect for trevally with slugs and poppers a good start. Those that prefer bait will go well with live prawns.

Trolling isn’t a bad way to go either, but most insomniac fishos that chase trevs prefer to motor around with the electric and cast to surface rises, and in some cases boiling schools. Trevally are great fun and they aren’t bad on the barby plate either, particularly if eaten fresh.

Mangrove jack are one of the most exciting fish to chase in this system. I have raved about them for years and no doubt that will continue. Any angler gets excited when a good jack comes on board. But just watch out for those teeth.

The jack population isn’t massive so many locals release all jacks they catch. If you must take one or two, do so, but they are more valuable to the region alive rather than in the esky. Trolling minnows over structure, casting into riverside snags and live baiting are the best ways to tangle with toothy and very feisty mangrove jacks.

Threadfin salmon are occasionally caught as a welcomed by-catch when chasing jacks. These fast and hard fighting fish are energetic in the extreme and they will test tackle to the very limit. They are good tucker so if you intend on a feast at the end of the day look after your catch well to maximise its usefulness in the kitchen. Despatch the fish promptly and cut its throat, drop it into an ice slurry and a fantastic feed will be guaranteed. Don’t forget to collect a bottle of Arrogant Frog sauvignon blanc on the way home.

Bread and butter species such as bream, flathead and whiting are a year round prospect in Noosa. Holiday anglers often go home disappointed however a bit of planning and research can often help. Drop into a tackle store and ask for advice. Buy some quality bait, or better still a cast net, and get out there and have a go.

Drifting for flathead can be productive, but it can be difficult when there are boats all over the place. Again, early in the day will be the best bet, particularly if it coincides with a run-out tide. Trolling can be a good way to locate flathead. Simply run your lures at a depth that sees them very close to the bottom. Eventually you will catch a few good fish.

Bream and whiting can be tempted with judicious use of berley. Small amounts well ground is enough to keep the fish nearby and interested. By all means keep a few for a feed but don’t fill the esky needlessly.

The offshore options are endless with GPS and sounders paving the way for easier fishing and higher success rates. Snapper are a year round target with the cooler months more productive, nevertheless summer is worth a shot with many other species also on the chew.

Tuna and mackerel will be around by now and continuing to expand in terms of both number and size. Trolling or cubing is a given and every boat crossing the bar must have at least one spin rod pre-rigged with a slug ready for action. Boiling schools of tuna are common and if the fish are keen, big catches can be made.

Tuna is great fresh (particularly on the barby plate with a squeeze of lime juice), however I wouldn’t recommend freezing it as the thawed result isn’t any good in my opinion.

International tackle trade magazines provide a very interesting read and an insight into the future of the industry, 2010 in particular. Hardbody lures are becoming more and more life-like with design technology delivering incredibly real looking products. Soft plastics are leaping ahead rapidly and in many cases outfish live baits. Impregnated with all manner of scents, including pheromones, they are also becoming so realistic that catch rates must be on the rise.

There seems to be a real influx in the way of bibless lures with the tow point on the nose. These are historically speaking very unstable in the water, however clever hydrodynamics and weights positioned to keep the lure upright results in a very enticing product. They are already in use in Australia and their popularity is sure to increase.

All manner of bizarre fishing creations are also now on their way. Their success rate will determine their life span in this country, however they must all be worth at least a cursory glance. ‘Bass wipes’ are one such offering that will attract at least some attention. They are essentially prepacked, presoaked individual wipes that you can use to remove unnatural odours from your hands and of course wipe them over your lures. I suppose you could even remove the ‘B’ in need.

Small hardbody lures with a spinning blade in the front is another novel idea. Segmented lures (both hard and soft) aren’t all that new I suppose, but they too get a run as do ‘Sonic Attractors’ that apparently make fish easier to catch all over the world!

My favourite unusual fishing accessory is the rather large range of remote controlled berley delivering boats. These mini barges are stocked with berley and you simply drive it out to wherever you want the ‘ground bait’ delivered and at the press of a button the hopper opens up and the berley pours out. You then simply drive the barge back to your fishing spot to reload it and berley elsewhere. Really, what more could you want?

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