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Following up the feature on Offshore Kayak fishing with Noosa's BillyBob Watson last week, today we take a look at kayak fishing in the estuaries and close inshore reefs between Coolum and Currimundi. Local kayaker Paul Anderson gives us an idea on the rigs and techniques needed when competing against boat wakes, jetskiers and rocky outcrops.


Paul hails from South Africa and has been a resident on our sunny shores for the past six years. His interests in kayaking stemmed from a strong desire to one day compete in an Olympics in a long distance kayaking event. However, the lure of fishing was far too overpowering, while the strict diet and training regime may have also been a little off-putting.


COSTS: The investment of $1800 just over three years ago was what Paul needed to set himself up. This bought him a 3.5meter Ocean Kayak with a self-draining hull. Paul has it decked out with rod holders, a fish finding depth sounder and the essential safety equipment including lifejacket and flares.

"I believe the dollars spent on one kayak far outweighs the ongoing costs for a boating angler", Paul stated.


WHEN TO GO: The ideal conditions for inshore trips are light sea breezes, relatively small swell and of course fine weather helps! Paul gets up before dusk and heads to one of the bars to access the ocean easily, though Currimundi and Yaroomba are also excellent for launching off the beach or rocks. If the weather comes over windy, hit the local rivers and launch your kayak of any sand bar, boat ramp or shallow bank.


TECHNIQUES: Paul enjoys a relaxed approach to his trolling style. Once Paul paddles out past the break, he drops his bait into the water to take advantage of potential hook-ups while paddling to his desired destination. A round trip can be up to 10km of paddling, with a number of stops along the way. The baits are trolled and then drop towards the bottom water when he stops. When Paul commences paddling again the baits climb towards the top water as he gets up speed. Any pelagic species loves targeting this type of moving bait whether inshore or in a tidal river. If using lures, Paul aims to maintain a medium paddling pace, though he is in peak physical fitness, continuous paddling does take it out of you!


WHAT BAIT AND RIG: When on the close inshore reefs Paul uses the largest pillies you can buy and rig them up on a long 3x5/0 gang, failing that sea gar or a large slimy mackerel does the trick. Tru-turn hooks ganged together with swivels are ideal if you want to pay a bit more for a better quality rig. Paul attaches this to a short length of single strand wire with a treble at the end. He fishes relatively unweighted but if the fish are holding out in deeper water - place a size 2 ball sinker 1 meter above the hook rig or use a weighted first hook. 30Lb mono is mainly used by Paul or wire braid when the fish are thick. Braid does help in getting the lures or bait down to a deeper depth as well.


If you do become caught up, simply turn around and paddle back to where you just came from. As you are only going a few knots, it is far easier to retrieve line which may be caught in rocks or reef than if you were in a heavy boat which takes a lot longer to stop.

Paul finished off by recommending three rules to live by when kayak fishing:

  1. If you are going to use a sounder, don't try to follow schools of fish like tailor or tuna for example - instead consider where the birds are working and look for the schools of bait on the sounder as that is where the schools of fish are usually headed.
  2. No matter how athletic you are - you must still learn to paddle confidently in the river before you even think about punching through a decent swell on your way to the local reefs.
  3. A few hours paddling on the ocean can leave you dehydrated - so make sure you have plenty of water onboard during a trip.

"The beauty of kayaking is you get into a hunter gatherer mode - and simply allow the spirit of adventure takes over", says Paul.



NOOSA: Sweetlip, parrot and maori cod at Sunshine and North reefs.  In the river; plenty of jacks showing up after the wet weather - predominantly between the lakes and around the Sheraton Bridge, quality bream have been in the deeper holes near the river mouth, flathead taking prawn lures along the shallow banks in the lower reaches and a few trevally in Woods Bay.


MAROOCHYDORE: A report of an 18kg spanish mackerel caught at the Outer Gneerings on Wednesday morning.  Quality bream under the Motorway and off the bank at Yinni Street early on.  GT's to 1.4kg on RMG scorpion lures between Chambers Island and the Cod Hole. Flathead and average trevally along the Bli Bli stretch.

KAWANA: Good dart, bream and withing just south of Pt Cartwright.  In the river; plenty of mud crabs on the move throughout the upper reaches, mangrove jack in the upper reaches and canals, best around McKenzies bridge, golden and giant trevally on lures along the La Balsa Park stretch. 

CALOUNDRA:  School jew from the mouth of Bells Creek and in the deeper channels. Trevally and bream at dawn and dusk along The Boardwalk. Good crabs in the creeks that lead into the passage.



A 5kg spotty mackerel and 4.4kg long tail tuna caught trolling large gold shallow diving minnow lure (the tuna) and a large pilly on a set of 5/0 tru turn gangs at the 30cm mark off Sunshine Reef.


This 4kg spotty mackerel took a sea gar rigged on an un weighed set of 5/0 tru turn gangs being trolled about 1km off Coolum rocks.


This 7kg Spaniard took a large slimy mackerel rigged on a weighed trolling rig being trolled past the bait schools around Sunshine reef.


John Hopcott fished with a small strip of mullet in the Maroochy River Cod for this 2kg giant trevally.


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