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Fishing Report: Winter and Spring Species Transitions 05/08/2010


Sunshine Coast Rivers and Passages are firing with a wide variety of winter and spring estuary species at the moment. This is one of the most diverse winters I have ever experienced over my 13 yrs at Swan Boat Hire. Maybe it’s global warming, maybe the seasons later or earlier, who knows? There is definitely a mixed bag of fish to be caught in Sunshine Coast waters at the moment.



Although we are in the middle of winter at the moment there is some very unseasonal fish catching activity occurring. Mangrove jack and large numbers of dusky flathead have been feeding strongly throughout winter on bait and lure and this is very uncommon. You should expect the odd jack and few flathead on the chew, but not as many as what we are seeing at the moment. When the water temperatures drop mangrove jack seldom hit lure, preferring to chew on bait.  This winter I have seen at least 20 mangrove jack caught on soft plastics, hard bodies lures and fresh bait, making a really good season.


The Luderick have been firing at Noosa for 3 months, Caloundra for a month or so and just recently in smaller numbers from the Kawana rock wall and Maroochy River. These numbers are typical of a usual season for Noosa and Caloundra, but down in numbers for Mooloolaba and Maroochy.

A wide variety of trevally species have been feeding up a storm on small bait schools in the lower Mooloolah river (mainly in the canal system) and in the middle reaches of the Maroochy River. The species list includes golden, giant, big eye, diamond and cale cale trevally. If you can match the food that the trevally are feeding on with a lure or bait, your chances of a hook up are increased greatly.


In close inshore/coastal beach waters tailor, school mackerel, spotty mackerel, mac tuna and long tail tuna have been hammering through the annual migration of frogmouth pilchards that are moving along the coast at the moment. The larger predators were that hungry on Tuesday that they were forcing the bait balls of froggies within 50m of the beach allowing anglers catch them spinning metal slugs on their surf casting outfits. Mac tuna and chopper tailor made up the majority of the catch for the 2hrs hot bite.


With the variety of fish species on the bite at present, I have outlined a few different lures and baits that have been working well over the past two months:


Best lures:

Bream – 2”and 3” gulp shrimp rigged on a 1/8oz #2 jig head.

Flathead, jew, jack, trevally and tailor – Gulp 5” jerk shad, Exude 5” Saltwater RT Slug, Slam 5” minnow and snap back 5” Jerk Baits rigged on a ¼oz 3/0 Nitro jig head.

Tuna – Metal slugs ranging from 10-65g depending on the size of the baitfish of which they are feeding.


Best Baits:

Bream - fresh prawn, white bait, chook gut, gar fillet and mullet gut.

Flathead, tailor, trevally, mangrove jack and jew – live bait, pilchard, mullet or bonito fillet.

So when you head out for a fish somewhere on the coast this weekend, remember to keep your options open regarding bait and tackle, because you never know what you are going to catch. This variety of fish that we are experiencing won’t last forever, probably another month if we are luck, so enjoy them while you can.





Noosa: Bream and golden trevally off the national park. Tailor along Teewah Beach and around Double Island Point to 2kg. Plenty of tailor from Rainbow Beach. Luderick off the rock walls at the river mouth.


Maroochydore: Mangrove Jacks in the creeks and upper reaches. Mackerel  on trolled pillies  and few queenfish and mac tuna on slugs around Old Women Island. Bream and sand flathead along Marcoola Beach. Bream to 35cm, whiting and flathead throughout the lower river.

Kawana: Squid along the eastern rock wall. Bream and Trevally along the La Balsa stretch.  Grass sweetlip to 1.2kg from Point Cartwright.  Bream to 40cm, flathead to 60cm, good dart and chopper tailor along Kawana Beach. Gar in the sand basin.


Caloundra: Tailor on the Happy Valley side of the bar. Snapper and Sweetlip from Bray’s. Flathead from deep drops off inside the bar. Luderick and bream off the boardwalk.




Flathead numbers this winter have been the strongest that I have ever seen with everything from plagues of under sized fish to good keepers as well as those monster females up to 90cm being released to swim another day. Luke caught this 43cm specimen in one of the creeks  up the Maroochy River.


Giant trevally have been schooling in the middle reaches of the Maroochy River and readily taking jigged soft plastics, Shane’s fish took a 3” gulp.


Chopper tailor around the 40cm mark have been feeding along the beaches and up the rivers with this fish being held by Eve taking a plastic around the Bli Bli Islands.


Cale Cale have been feeding around the bait schools in the Mooloolah River. Brian’s fish was caught recently near the Kawana Canals on a pearl soft plastic.


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