A spottie good time
  |  First Published: February 2010

In March the fishing scene generally returns to its usual laidback self after the chaos of the holiday period.

The mackerel frenzy is continuing in Laguna Bay and Sunshine Reef. Spotties have been caught by trollers using lures and pilchards. Spaniards have also succumbed to trolling, more often than not with small rigged bonito. One standout lure has been the Davo’s Spaniard Special which is a very popular choice in these waters.

On some days simply drifting with an unweighted pilchard on a gang will do the job. Don’t forget a short strand of wire to minimise bite-offs. On other days casting slugs into the feeding frenzy will bring mackerel undone and tuna as well.

Big longtail or northern bluefin tuna are a very worthy adversary and can take some stopping. Casting slugs is a great way to tangle with big tuna and once connected it can be a lengthy battle to bring a 20kg plus model to the boat.

These fish are great on the barbeque, particularly when dressed up with some lime juice, chilli and ground black pepper. Don’t bother freezing tuna flesh though as it isn’t worth eating once it is thawed.

Make sure the fish is bled immediately and dropped into an ice slurry to keep the flesh in top condition. Mackerel should be treated the same way to ensure a great feed at days end.

Mahi mahi have been quite a regular capture this summer also. These beautiful fish will often follow a berley trail right to the boat and they will sometimes respond to a pilchard on gangs, a cube bait or even a slug when they are within casting distance. All hell breaks loose however when a big mahi mahi is hooked boat side!

In the river there have been the usual catches of flathead, bream and whiting in the lower reaches with some excellent jacks here and there also. The Woods Bay area has delivered some quality jacks, many of which are released unharmed which is a great thing.

Trevally and jewfish have been hunting after dark in Weyba Creek and the back of Noosa Sound. They are best targeted on slugs and poppers whilst live prawns, prawn lures and other soft plastics will do the job also.

On the freshwater scene both lakes Macdonald and Borumba have been delivering some quality bass and a few saratoga. Big numbers of small bass have been caught in Cooroys Lake Macdonald with a few larger specimens just pushing past the 40cm mark.

Boating Pressure

This year the Noosa district has experienced an unprecedented run of fishable, warm weather and plenty of mackerel to chase in Laguna Bay, making for great times on the water.

This enviable situation of dozens of consecutive fishable days and plenty of fish naturally results in an increase in fishing pressure. Many holiday makers bring boats with them and with some of the closures in Moreton Bay, Brisbane anglers are also heading to the Sunshine Coast to wet a line.

It might seem then that closures in one area impose more angling pressure in other areas. Are some of the closures having a negative impact by increasing angling effort elsewhere? The more closures we see down the track the more concentrated angling effort will be in the remaining fishable waters. Let’s hope that any future closures in Queensland and across the country are very well considered and not knee jerk reactions to an ill informed noisy minority.

Clean up the Reef

Recently the Noosa Integrated Catchment Association Inc (NICA) in conjunction with a local dive boat set off for a couple of dive sessions to Jew Shoal to collect rubbish. A clean up Australia day on the reef so to speak.

I was there to meet the boat on its return and I was very pleasantly surprised at the minimum of trash that the collection of divers had recovered – particularly when one considers the many hundreds if not thousands of boats crossing the bar in recent months, and indeed vessels fishing the area for the past 50 years.

The collection included an anchor, a beer bottle and of course some lures, rigs and fishing line. Naturally it is not ideal that some tackle is lost when fishing, however this is a pleasing result clearly indicating that the vast majority of anglers are very responsible.

I would think that accidental loss of tackle will continue forever, and in my opinion a small metal slug on the floor of the seabed will do little if any harm to the reef or its occupants. In any case hooks will rust away quickly and marine growth would cover anything remaining within a short time. A lost anchor and a beer bottle by the way could come from any source – a yacht or even a dive boat!

The bottom line then is to remain responsible and maintain good fishing practice to minimise line and tackle left in the water. Fishing line must never be discarded carelessly. NICA have placed line collection points around Noosa, please, use them.

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