The past month has been a very mixed bag both weather and fishing wise. But overall we have enjoyed some really good signs of things to come as the winter months set in and on come the snapper.
I revisited one of my many fishing diaries to take a look at what we can expect during the next month and they consistently show drifting for parrot and snapper will be productive. Recent trips out wide certainly confirm the snapper and parrot are plentiful.
The Barwon Banks will offer up a selection of mixed reefies like pigfish, pearl perch, parrot, hussar, snapper and morwong with amberjack just starting to prowl around.
Caloundra Wide through to the Twelve and Seven mile reef systems will start to fill up on the evening fishing scene and areas like the bottom of the Hards will be worth targeting this month.
Fishing marks around the 80m line will be the most productive on the anchor and you should be looking to work the bait schools on the outer reefs inside this depth.
If fishing in closer is what you prefer then you still have the opportunities to drift the Gneering Shoals and all along Murphys Reef in the systems within 9km of Mooloolaba.
Old Women Island just out from the mouth of the Maroochydore River has been a favourite spot for anglers when the winds and seas have been too much.
The island has a sheltered side in nearly all conditions and fish like rat kings, mowong, parrot, mackerel, sweetlip, squid and many others hang around all year.
My diaries indicate the making tide is the most productive to fish but strong currents will begin hampering efforts in late May through to June.
The most productive times to be fishing in close are within two days of either the new or full moon phases.
The area around the Coffee Rock off Bribie Island just down past the first beacons on the northern tip has plenty of baitfish around at this time of year. The monster mulloway, amberjack and cobia can be found here cruising around after the bait.
Big snapper frequent Brays Rock at this time of year. Working the area between Brays and the outside channel markers can reward you with any number of species and early mornings are as productive as evening runs.
There will be a period where the smaller fish will take all your baits and the fishing will go totally dead as if someone has turned off the tap.
When this happens there are productive things you can do rather than just sitting and waiting it out. Go on the drift for an hour or so and pick up what you can or motor around looking for schools of bait or bait balls to target.
Remember at night it’s always good to have one person on the lookout for boats while someone else watches the sounder. When reefs get crowded with boats it can be dangerous to motor around.
The estuaries have experienced a quiet run over the past month but things will heat up when the bigger bream and winter whiting come on within Pumicestone Passage. We are already seeing signs of good numbers of flathead and bream so let’s hope this continues.
The whiting have been hard to find but when you get on to them the rewards are brilliant so take the time and look around a little harder.
The weed beds will be a good haunt over the coming month with prawns, herring and poddy mullet hiding and feeding around them; fishing with live bait will surely increase your chances. Work around structure like pontoons and bridges and remember to change locations.
I no longer work on the theory that berley will bring fish to the boat, now I work hard to find the fish and look for a pattern before I select my spot. Always plan an alternative position in case nothing happens so at least you will remain active in your thinking.
I think the expression ‘think like a fish to catch a fish’ is very true. The way I see it, if you were diving and had the choice between a deep channel full of boats and noise compared to an area that is quiet with very little activity, you would almost always chose the quiet location.
Quiet, low traffic areas are where the fish will also be. Look around, watch the water to spot the eddies and drop some markers and follow their progress along the water line. Where they travel will almost certainly be your drift line and will also be where the bait is being dragged to so work along it.
The beaches have been fantastic for whiting if you can keep your baits away from the hundreds of small dart around the area.
Moffat Beach has fished well for bream, squire and sweetlip but it has taken a pounding from the professional netters lately so move further north to Dickys Beach for the whiting.
After the swimming day is over then try Kings Beach and around to the mouth of the Caloundra Bar for bream, whiting, flathead and trevally.
The tailor will also be swimming around as the cooler months come in and by default we must be due for a reasonable season on these great fighters.
Over all there is a fantastic month ahead on the fishing front with winter varieties well and truly coming on the tooth. Get set for some early mulloway, cobia and amberjack action around the bait areas and prepare your rigs for big snapper and plenty of parrot.
On the estuary front the bigger bream are just around the corner and the winter whiting will keep us all amused over the coming months. Have fun!Reads: 1231