Pearlies Perched for Play
  |  First Published: May 2010

June is the premier month for visiting Wide Caloundra. It provides better weather, benign currents and the proliferation of temperate species such as pearl perch, trag jew, snapper, yellowtail kingfish, amberjack and sightings of whales.

Winter weather means chilly dark mornings with a bit of westerly, which then turn into glass-calm warm afternoons. This means we get to sleep in as the Incredible crew don’t usually depart until close to 10am. This way we miss the chill and bumps of the morning to fish the best part of the day – the afternoons through to sunset. Once the sun goes down we run for home, usually with a good mixed fish bag on board.

A typical June trip will see Incredible make a late departure and head for the central and western areas of Wide Caloundra. Pearlies school up in good numbers before they disappear, presumably to spawn in deeper waters during July.

Paternoster rigs will account for plenty of pearlies and, as suggested last month, using plastics on your hooks along with bait should increase your catch rate. Pearlies are great to catch for all members of the family as they don’t pull too hard, don’t have sharp teeth or spines and won’t pull you out of the boat. Trag, squire, Venus tuskfish, great Moses perch and hussar between 30-45cm are quite common by-catches.

Putting a floater out will give you the chance of snaring an early season snapper. These fish are normally up off the bottom. Using spin gear, cast out a pilchard on ganged 6/0 hooks well away from the boat and leave the bail arm open (or in baitrunner mode). A four ball will be plenty of lead to get your pillie sinking slowly into the strike zone.

Another alternative is to put on a 5-7” plastic instead of bait. I recently did a number of tackle testing trips with Jarvis Walker. The boys caught everything on plastics: cobia, snapper, plenty of mixed reef fish species, four cod species and tuna. These were fished on the brilliant range of new Fin Nor spinning reels, rods and overhead gear. The plastics consistently outfished bait. It was an eye opener, I can tell you.

For those who like to measure their fish in feet rather than inches, take your elephant gun with you for the XOS amberjack that prowl above the pearlies. Any live bait will do, whether a slimy, yakka or smaller reef fish caught in the area. Best if Dad or the big young blokes do this one as ambos are serious business and the chance of losing gear over the side is very real. Take some Japanese jigs as they will chew on these also.

As the sun sinks lower, the Incredible normally heads for the shallower reefs to anchor up and berley for snapper. No lead or a tiny ball is plenty to reach the bottom in 40m of water. Have a bit of patience as you may not get a hit straight away, but when the fish do come up the berley trail the scream of drags is glorious.

And if snapper aren’t your fancy, then there are plenty of other evening choices. Last year Incredible spent dusk in 65m of water pulling up trag jew, which was the best run for these species I’ve seen in my fishing lifetime. It wasn’t uncommon for all anglers to be hooked up at once, with double hook ups the norm. Given the eel-like twisting fight that trag put up, some of the line tangles were also truly incredible!

Whales make a welcome and spectacular appearance on their northern sojourn. Each year the numbers of humpbacks are increasing so your chances of a whale sighting while fishing are very high.

June allows flexible start times for your fishing trips and the weather can allow you to travel further to explore some new grounds as well. Best of luck!

If you would prefer to go with the Wide Caloundra experts, or even to get some ideas on how to better fish the area yourself, give the team from Incredible Charters a call on 07 3203 8188 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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