I'm not breaking out my trendy striped thermal underwear, slippers and beanie just yet... but in the last week or so, has the cold weather snuck on to the coast somewhere between Maleny and Montville and set up residence here for the next few months? April is usually a nice mild Autumn month, with the odd cool night, but I feel like winter is-a-coming much earlier this year!
April is a great month to target a variety of transitional species. By transitional we mean fish species that are dominant in Summer and mid Autumn like whiting, mangrove jack and trevally. These fish will slowly decrease in numbers by late April and from now until late September the winter species like bream, tailor and jew should be on the bite. We need a really big cold snap for the best part of the bream season to evolve.
Flathead will remain strong until the water temperatures in the river become to cold to swim in - if the water doesn't appeal to us any more, the same goes for the flathead. So if you still want to target flathead in the coming weeks, fish in the shallower water which will warm up in the Autumn sun faster than the deeper channels will.
Flathead, trevally and tailor readily take soft plastics at this time of the season, bream are a fair bit harder to fool, but are well worth the challenge during winter. For anglers who are experimenting with soft plastics, we can give you a few tips that will hopefully point you in the right direction. Assuming that most anglers will be fishing in the rivers and/or close inshore waters 3" or 4" plastic will be sufficient. It pays to use light jig heads, that can still be cast the intended distance and sink the intended depth required. We generally use 1/8oz or 1/4oz chemically sharpened jig heads and they are amply for depth in the river and with a graphite rod and light braid will cast for miles in ideal low wind conditions. In the upper reaches or any areas where the water is brackish or brown from fresh water run off it is generally better to use brighter or more metallic colours. We use 3" Berkley power baits in pink lemonade and Ginger beer colours, which both included silver glitter scales inside the plastic. For cleaner water it is good to use 3" power baits that resemble baitfish like watermelon, pearl blue shad and emerald shimmer. Pumpkin seed is really good all rounder for bream and flathead as well. Also hard bodied lures like Lively Lures Micro Mullet, Predatek Min Min and a Bubble Pop 35 would be worth a try when targeting bream
Trevally and tailor are beginning to enter the rivers from the surf beaches and are chasing bait as far up as Bli Bli in the Maroochy, McKenzies Bridge in the Mooloolah and the Tewantin Ferry in the Noosa River. If you are not into soft plastics - invest in some decent gangs and work the pilchards and strips of mullet flesh in amongst the bait fish schools.
Bream are fairly average in size at present with the odd 1kg fish getting caught at night. As I mentioned earlier - cooler weather is ideal for bigger bream. Good places try for bream are the bridge and jetty structures as they provide spots to evade predators in the form of pylons while allowing feeding in deeper water. At night street and bridge lights attract baitfish that bigger predators will feed on. A few good locations on the coast that constantly produce good fish from bridge or jetty style fishing include the Military jetty and Boardwalk in Caloundra, the pontoons at both Mooloolaba and Kawana boat ramps, the two new jetties at Cotton tree and Chambers Island and Motorway bridge's or from the shore along side the bridges at Munna Point and opposite Noosa Sound.
It is well worth fishing on the lead up to the full moon on the 10th of April with a high tides around 10am and 10pm. Fishing 3 days either side of the full moon in the deeper holes of the Maroochy River is common practice in the ‘transitional months'. Bigger bream and tailor should be moving in the deeper areas of the river mouth on the night time high tides. Next week, we'll look at a few new lines of tackle being introduced for the upcoming winter fishing season.
NOOSA: Quality tarwhine 10km north of Teewah, but the going is tough. A 6kg barramundi took a slow trolled mullet in Woods Bay. Mangrove jacks and quality bream in Noosa Sound. Quality bream to 800g along the Tewantin Stretch and on the dirty water mark between the two lakes. Whiting in the frying pan and woods bay. Mud crabs in Noosa Waters canals and in the middle reaches.
MAROOCHYDORE: Bream throughout the river with a few good sea bream up to 35cm in the deeper holes. A few quality whiting between Chambers Island and the river mouth. Mud crabs from the creek mouths and the odd good one in the canals.
KAWANA: Spotty mackerel and tuna between old women island and the Caloundra bar. Parrot from the 5 mile and nice snapper from Murphy's Reef. Quality flathead in the sand basin and mud crabs throughout Kawana Waters. Trevally and bream from along La Balsa stretch. Sand crabs are plentiful in the basin.
CALOUNDRA: Big flathead around the 65cm mark between the bar and the boardwalk. Bream off the Boardwalk. Flathead to 55cm of the Military Jetty. Queenfish and trevally in Pelican Waters.
Neil Sheppard from the Maroochy R.S.L fishing club was happy to catch his first chopper tailor for the season. April is when the first scattered runs of chopper tailor grace us with their presence on the Sunshine Coast.
April is pretty well our last chance to hook into the decreasingly active mangrove jack which are less likely to take bait as the water temps drop. Bob Jeynes and Mick Doran hit the jackpot in Lake Cootharaba with good pan sized jacks.
Spotty mackerel like the 3.7kg specimens being presented by Gisle and myself should remain in our waters for the next few months providing plenty of good sport on light line.