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Winter Wakes
  |  First Published: May 2010



The winter species are really on the chew at the moment with strong catches of snapper, pearl perch, parrot, trag jew, red emperor, morwong and stacks more being taken around the outer reef systems.

The Barwon banks has played a major role so far, particularly with the reef species and spots around the 80m mark have been firing. Anchoring and creating a good steady berley trail is the first step towards success. You will then need to ensure that your lines cover the bottom, middle and top of the water so that you have a full spread out to catch fish at any depth.

The shallow areas, which are around the 27-40m marks, such as the Three Sisters and the rough areas are top spots for parrot and snapper. Sometimes drifting over these areas is a better idea, until the ideal tide phase comes closer.

However, one of the biggest problems drifting is the risk of snagging the bottom (I have a mate that could snag a tooth pick in a bottle). The problem lies either in the way your rig is made or how your line hits the bottom. Therefore, pay extra attention to how you rig is set up, and make sure you wind the line up a couple of metres – Just lift your rig up off the bottom and watch the sounder for changing depths and adjust accordingly.

Wide Caloundra and through to Moreton Island has seen a number of good cobia and amberjack taken recently. Most of the reef systems around these areas are around 60m in depth and carry all sorts of surprises on any given day. Fishing the evening out there can be extremely rewarding and to maximise those rewards get yourself some live bait.

There are some big jew around the reefs and in the closer areas such as Brays Rock, Currimundi and Murphys. The Gneerings still hold sweetlip and parrot and a short trip out to Old Womens Island is the shot for some rat kings and amberjack.

The first markers off the northern tip of Bribie Island and adjacent to the lighthouse are top spots to fish with livies. All types of predators hang around these two areas, in particular jew, cobia and amberjack. Livies can be taken around the beacons nearly all year round and if they are few in numbers then a few well positioned gar will do the job.

The 5 and 7 Mile reefs outside Caloundra have seen a run of red emperor and squire and are best fished in the evening. The beaches are alive with fish and the Wurtulla strip is a good spot to start looking for likely holes or mini gutters.

The tailor are on, and fish up to 2.5kg are being taken on the top and bottom of the tides using floating pilchards on 4/0 or 5/0 ganged rigs. I have used paternoster rigs with great success when fishing for tailor as you can mix up the bait on different hooks. Usually I will have one rigged with a pilchard tail or slimy and the other with fresh squid or a large green prawn. Always use berley when fishing on the beach and start introducing it about 20 minutes before you commence fishing as it can certainly take that long to have an effect.

Mulloway are also a good target if you are prepared to fish late into the evening but a short trip further north to around Tewantin or Teewah beaches will increase your chances of a catch tenfold. The other species around the traps are dart, bream, whiting and flathead so use a second rod and gear up for them as well. It makes sense to do this as they will make up the majority of your catch.

Kings Beach in Caloundra and Moffat are good spots to try for the bread and butter varieties and the good news is that you can never be sure just what will take your bait after dark. Moffat is certainly well sheltered and it is only a few steps from the grass to the water making it very accessible. The lighting around the area is also a good aid to fishing and there is always someone who will want to see how you are going and have a chat.

Fishing for the big bream in the Pumicestone Passage is everyone’s wish and there have been some quality fish taken to date. The normal 700-800g fish can be caught all day long across the length of the Boardwalk and Bulcock Beach. Tarwhine and flathead are often caught as by-catch in competition with chopper tailor and the trevally.

Try fishing along the weed beds outside of the Caloundra Power Boat Club and along the esplanade at Golden Beach for your whiting and flathead. Fresh poddy mullet, yabbies or prawns are the pick of the better baits to use. There are many pontoons to fish from and most have a good variety of species to make things interesting. Military Jetty is another top winter evening spot and plenty of big predators have been taken over the years.

The canals in Pelican Waters hold plenty of bream, and tarpon will soon be a target for the lure boys down the back reaches. The mouth of the Caloundra Bar is ever-changing and by fishing the deep water channel you can land everything from tailor to GT and whiting to monster jew, so pick your target species and fish for it.

There is a lot of live bait around the passage at present and in the Maroochy River system with the main bait being hardiheads and big herring. The mullet will also come soon in numbers so grab a few before the pros do.

Fishing around the Sunshine Coast midyear can be very rewarding with the taunt of big snapper outside and hard fighting mulloway and big bream around the beaches and the estuaries. The pelagics still show up with big female Spaniards around for those that love to catch mackerel, and then there are the amberjack and cobia which are prepared to test your strength, wit and equipment.

I expect that you will be getting right amongst them, have fun.

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