Winter’s End
  |  First Published: July 2010

Sadly it is nearly the end of winter and the time has just flown this year.

The cooler weather has really brought on the winter species around the Sunshine Coast with strong catches on reefs species and snapper reported everywhere. A long trip outside is not entirely necessary as most of the fish come in very close during the evening and don’t head out to deeper water again until after sunrise.

The Inner and Outer Gneerings have been the spot for small pearl perch and snapper up to 4kg just on the drop off around the eastern side of the shoal. There have even been a number of amberjack taken in the area when using live bait or fresh squid.

Murphys Reef is another option with a range of water depths. It is only 7km out from Mooloolaba and this area is full of various species, including cod, parrot, pearl perch, hussar, morwong, Moses perch, snapper and rainbow runners. There has also been quite an increase in iodine bream being taken around the area, which can be taken as a good or not so good option dependent upon your tastes.

Currimundi Reef has produced some real quality bream and squire of late and remains a location that can be fished night and day successfully.

The top of the Hards on the northern tip of the Barwon Banks has really fired over the past few weeks with big 7kg snapper being taken with consistency. Trag jew, cod and pearl perch are also amongst the catches, and of course amberjack and cobia can add some excitement on a slow day.

The Barwon Banks in some parts is slow fishing but with right time and tide it can be very effective in the areas around 60m. The bite period may not be a long one on most days but when the fish are on there is plenty of action.

The area at the southern end of the banks known as the Rocks is a good spot for an afternoon fish in around 45m of water. The snapper have been congregating around this area because of layout on the bottom, which consists of hard rocky reef with some wire weed and plenty of gravel open spaces around the reef itself. The snapper love to patrol around a reef system out on the gravel areas and more often than not they will be taken 20m or more out from the reef waiting for their chance to pounce on some unsuspecting prey.

Snapper are a schooling species so normally you will get plenty while they are hanging around the area. If things are slow next time you head out try drifting over and across some structure. This method allows you to cover a lot more ground and you will find that certain fish are taking your baits when you reach different parts of the reef.

A simple tip to try when drifting is don’t always drop your bait at the same time as the previous time. Give it a minute and then lower your bait down to see what is on the other side of the reef. You may be quite surprised. Try the coffee rock around Bribie Island this month as there should be some good fish around for a winters afternoon and remember live bait is a big asset.

The estuaries started slowly, particularly the big bream, and a lot of old timers have been heard stating that they have never known them to be this late in the season. The bream are now in and those that love to fish for them are certainly getting good fish. A kilo-plus bream around the area is not a common catch but there are a lot of smaller fish to keep your rod bent.

Try fishing the Blue Hole situated across the Pumicestone Passage running parallel to Bribie Island up near the northern tip. This area is easy to identify because of its close proximity to Bribie Island and its very deep water compared to other areas of the passage. Night and early morning fishing in these areas are necessary because of the amount of traffic throughout the day. Yabbies, live prawns, chicken strips and hardiheads are gun bait for big bream.

Bull sharks are another after dark option but I don’t know too many fishers who chance them compared to mulloway.

The Caloundra Bar is also a good spot for dawn and dusk fishing. The chances of nailing a good tailor or mulloway are strong with the right bait and moon phase.

Whiting and flathead are plentiful throughout the passage, it is just a matter of finding the schools and sticking with them. The weeds around the Powerboat Club and the pontoons around the place are a good place to start, particularly the pontoon out from Gemini Towers in Golden Beach. Try the southern end of the passage around the weed beds for more whiting and mullet when things slow down a little.

If you have time head up to Kawana and fish around the bridges for tailor, mulloway, bream, flathead and Moses perch; you can often see the tailor smashing the bait schools within the area. A small hardbodied lure or soft plastic can often do the trick but, if you have them, try a small poddy mullet or whitebait.

The beach areas have been a little battered but as they come good the low tide gutters should reward you with tailor and the opportunity of mulloway into the evening. Dart are still the most dominant species with bream, tarwhine, flathead and whiting filling the basket on a good day.

Beach access 38 along the Wurtulla strip has been a reasonable spot to hit on the evening tide. Low tide has been the best because the rips have been strong on the peak of the tide. Moffat Beach down around Caloundra has been quiet in the early mornings and up to 7pm in the evenings. However, it is always worth a shot so don’t give up on the area just yet.

This month will see some monster snapper coming onto the cleaning boards along with more consistent catches of the bigger bream species. Let’s hope the weather settles and we have a great run this month.

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