With the beautiful blue ocean waters filling our rivers, plenty of people are indulging in swimming and water activities as the water temps increase. Fish that are dominant in both Summer and Spring; like whiting, trevally, mangrove jack and flathead are also overly adventurous in the warmer water. These species will increase in numbers as the temperatures continue to rise with sunny days and clear blue sky. Be particularly mindful that the migratory species such as tailor, jew and dart, understand water temperature changes over date changes on the calendar!
For forward planning, many anglers use local weather forecast coupled with the moon phases and tide times as a guide to when is the best time to drop a line in. Looks like a low tide at 5pm today and an evening full tide at 10:30pm which is an excellent time to target predators. If you've been a coast local for some time, you'd know the importance of what bait to use and where to go to target the transitional species that live in local Sunshine Coast waters.
Sand whiting can be found in surf gutters all along the SE Queensland coastline as they're enroute to a river or inlet to spawn. Whiting like to search the sea bottom for tasty morsels on the shallower, cleaner banks, where the tide is not running so fast. Fish as light as possible, with just enough weight to keep the bait just on the bottom, a small 00 ball sinker is used on top of the bait. The swell should move your bait enough to look realistic but you can also create bait movement by a slow retrieve with the reel. When the initial nibbling type of bite is felt, be patient and pull hard once the weight of the fish bends the rod.
Trevally in a wide variety of species have been feeding up a storm since the September school holidays. They seek out small baitfish in schools which travel up the Noosa, Maroochy, and Mooloolah Rivers and also congregate in the canal systems at Minyama, Kawana and Pelican Waters. The species list includes golden, giant, big eye, diamond and cale cale trevally. Trevally are a great fun fish to tempt, play and then land. 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.
Mangrove Jack - these fish are as comfortable around snaggy environments as any angler is with a fishing rod in hand. Their favourite habitats include rocky structures, bridge pylons, and fallen trees, under pontoons, deep holes and, as adults, inshore reefs. Live bait is generally the best, due to the appeal of a moving prey. Poddy mullet, diver whiting, prawns, gar, herring and hardy heads are all good locally found Jack food. When Jacks are really on a hot bite they will take most whole fish types of bait like W.A. pilchards, whitebait and even strips of mullet fillet.
Flathead can be caught year round, but really come out in force as the temperatures rise and often prior to the summer storms. Flathead are essentially daytime feeding fish and tend to get caught on a heavily weighted line with large wide-mouth style hook loaded with huge slab of fish flesh or whole pillie. Flathead are quite lazy, preferring to lie partially buried in the sand, awaiting food to come to them, this is why flathead anglers often hang on the same sandbank season in and season out. Try to convince the flathead that the bait is alive, but unable to escape, and it will rush the bait and take it in one gulp. The subsequent struggles throw pieces of bait around and arouse other flathead in the vicinity, making it a good policy to cast back into the same area as quickly as possible.
So take advantage of the great weather, great fishing and a great lead-up to summer! Wet a line and if so you desire - wet your head too in the warm coastal waters.
Bailey Watt targets flathead in warmer waters around Picnic Point for flathead like these.
Miles Moore fished the warm waters surrounding Chambers Island for several pan-size bream for his efforts.