Sunny coast shines
  |  First Published: June 2010

The Noosa Riverfest and its associated fishing competitions went off recently without a hitch in beautiful sunshine.

More than 200 keen young anglers participated in the junior section while five invited teams worked hard for glory in Phippsy’s One Lure King of the River Challenge.

The Fishcare crew of Karolyn, Vanessa, Jason and Rebecca also ran clinics for more than 70 youngsters in conjunction with the Noosa Yacht Club.

It was a fantastic weekend with unexpectedly large numbers of fish received at the weigh station.

Dozens of trevally, bream, whiting and hundreds of flathead kept the weigh in team busy over the two days of the competition. Smaller numbers of other species such as mangrove jack, luderick, grunter, long tom and tarpon were also weighed in, indicating an exceptionally good future for this fishery, one of the healthiest systems in Queensland.

To add to that great news, literally hundreds of small flathead were released at their point of capture as were encouraging numbers of undersized jewfish.

The jewies in particular seem to have increased in numbers over the past few years and now that the minimum take size has increased to 75cm it would seem that we may well have a great jew fishery in a few years time.

Just for the record the best flathead delivered to the weigh master weighed more than 2kg and 70cm and the best jack was also around 2kg.

Phippsy’s comp saw some of the best lure anglers in the country battle it out, with locals Nigel Webster and Chris Lacey neck and neck until the finish. While this was a ‘friendly’ event, the competitors seemed to take it seriously and worked hard.

The best fish weighed in were a golden trevally and a tarpon by Nigel, who took out the comp on a count back, and a tailor and a bream delivered to the weigh station by Chris. Well done to Phippsy, and to the anglers who made a significant donation to charity.

I actually wet a line myself after all of this activity and managed a few flathead and jewfish with local flattie expert Lance McFayden on plastics. Lance used Gulp 4” Minnows to great effect on the burgeoning flathead population while I managed to land a jew on a Bozo plastic.

Later on in the day I ventured out again with my young fellow, Harry and the Bride. This time it was a bait session and we drifted for flathead in various locations along Weyba Creek before finishing up at anchor just near Goat Island.

Harry and Cassie caught and released a procession of bream and flathead in glorious sunshine on a relatively quiet river. At the end of the day Cassie brought a 68cm flathead to the boat – a PB for her!

At the river mouth on the evening high tide there have been quality tailor in numbers taking pilchards and slugs with a few nailing poppers as well. Trevally in various forms have been caught in pretty good numbers throughout the system, particularly at dawn in the lower reaches.

Offshore continues to surprise with mackerel still being caught. Some say this will continue until the end of June at least and I hope they are right! There is still plenty of Spanish mackerel about in the 7-10kg range, with the odd thumper of 20kg+ surprising some anglers.

The snapper are still building in numbers and this month should be fantastic for chasing a few big knobbies.

Local snapper gun Wayne Roff managed a bag of sweetlip and snapper including a thumper of more than 7kg on the close inshore grounds. Wayne was using slimy mackerel on gangs and the big knobby turned up in the middle of a glassed out day! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sunhshine Reef has been very much worth visiting of late with some good snapper being landed and from time to time quality coral trout. Sweetlip and parrotfish have also been high on catch lists at Sunshine and there is always the chance of a cruising mackerel.

North Reef delivered plenty of small snapper with a few big knobby snapper amongst them. Pearl perch, sweetlip, Moses perch and a few stray kingfish were also on the chew at North.

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