Last Throes of Summer
  |  First Published: January 2010

What a summer! We have enjoyed some magnificent weather and this, combined with good seas, has really allowed everyone to enjoy the benefits of the Sunshine Coast.

The fishing scene has been great with strong runs of big pelagics like spotty and Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi, cobia, wahoo, sailfish and marlin running on the shallow inner reef systems and way out beyond the Barwon Banks. The inner areas such as the Gneerings have really fired allowing small boat owners to get amongst some prize fish.

I have seen snapper (in the middle of summer), sweetlip, cod, kingfish, cobia pearl perch and mackerel all taken around these areas over the past couple of months on dead and live baits. Some of the better mackerel have been taken on shallow running lures and for those who use the downriggers, you have the advantage of putting your baits and lures right under the fish’s nose, which is a great help.

The baitfish have been around in big numbers, which has helped bring in the bigger species and to keep the reefies around. I have noticed that it is about 8am before the bait started to really school up and later in the day you can target the big schools of bait knowing that some monsters are in amongst them filling up.

The wider reefs such as the Barwon Banks, which is situated approx 41km east from Mooloolaba, also ran hot with big bull mahi mahi, cobia, wahoo, marlin, tuna (including yellowfin) and a host of other big fish species. Now is the time to get out on the rocky areas or smaller reef patches to target gold spot wrasse, parrot and Maori cod or hit the wire weed beds for pearl perch. Wide Caloundra is one of the better spots to target. Fishing around the Caloundra 5 and 7 mile has produced some good size cod and parrot with a mixture of reefies amongst them. Make sure if you are going to anchor that you set up a good, consistent berley trail and keep it up while the fish are biting.

Overall there is a wide selection of fishing opportunities at this time of year so plan your trip outside well and don’t forget that live bait is always better.


Fishing the estuaries around Mooloolaba and Maroochydore have produced plenty of trevally, bream and whiting of late, particularly around the rocks walls at the mouth of the Mooloolaba Bar and along the wall at La Balsa Park. The jetties around the trawlers and long liners provide plenty of entertainment particularly at night on the making tide for big bream and trevally. Live prawns or fresh squid are a couple of the gun baits if you can get them.

The Pumicestone Passage has had a fair run of queenies, trevally, mangrove jack and flathead mostly centred around the Caloundra Bar area. The deeper channel holds all types of species but it is important to pick your times carefully and fish either side of the run when the water is at its slowest point but still just moving. You will find it difficult to fish at full run and once you need to anchor your line down with more than 8oz of lead then it really becomes a hit and miss affair with the fish.

The whiting should be the target species this month and, together with early season sea mullet, will keep fresh fish on the table. The crabs have been on and off, and with only scattered rain it is difficult to see that changing in a hurry. We caught two nice muddies down the southern end of the Passage but they had very little meat in them and were returned to the water to fight another day. There is a stack of gar, mullet, hardiheads and sprat available within the Passage for use as live bait and you will find these useful when fishing off the Boardwalk or the deep water areas. You will often catch bull sharks on your live baits and believe me there are plenty around at the moment.

Next full moon will be time to really tackle the squid. Set out to Old Womans Island or have a squid jig attached to your rig when fishing the bottom outside because they are around.

This month try fishing the back canals around Kawana and Minyama for early mulloway and trevally and work the bridge pylons with your soft plastics for bream and tarwhine. There are ample opportunities to fish around the area as a land-based angler. It only takes a little time to get around and target areas that would be worth throwing a line in. If you have not got a telescopic rod then invest in one and throw it in the car. There is something about being able to pull up anywhere and cast a line in within 5 minutes to test the waters.


The beach scene has been a little unpredictable but there are certainly plenty of bull sharks and rays around. Tarwhine and average size bream have been taken in the holes at high tide along the Wurtulla Strip with dart making up the numbers. The sad thing about the dart as we have mentioned before is that they take your bait so quickly and often it is before you are able to get your line tight, so be prepared.

The other alternative is to use tougher baits like mullet strips or flesh from other fish and even fresh squid to give your-self a better chance. A slice of pilchard tail is also a bait that will last and normally it will attract most fish. Again use berley when you are at the beach and keep it going until you are finished your session.

Late Fun

Late season big Spaniards, cobia and amberjack should be a target for this month along with the reef species I have mention. Spend some time trolling around Currimundi Reef and Brays Rock for these species if you have the time because it is great fun. Look to the beaches and estuaries to get your whiting and bream over the coming month as there will be plenty around.

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