If you haven't been able to wet a line properly yet this Christmas holidays be it for whatever reason - wet and windy weather, crowds inundating all the best fishing locations or that unusual desire to go shopping in the everlasting sales at the shopping centre. The time has come to stand your ground and exercise patience and perseverance, because the muddy waters are subsiding. And the numbers of people in this exceptionally busy at this time of year are thinning ever so slightly as many have to return to work now that all the public holidays are over...for a bit.
Early starts are a great idea for both the river and offshore trips. Not just because of very busy rivers and boat ramps, but the clear, cloudless days have heat beating down from the sun at a rate which even burns the most zinc-covered person. Most fish hunt and stalk at dawn and dusk rather than in the middle of the day unless in pursuit of a large school of tasty baitfish. If you have indulged in the odd beer over the past week, then perhaps a twilight fishing session appeals more than a pre-sunrise trip?
It only took a little rise in water temperatures to get the dusky flathead on the chew and although only a few big fish have shown up, plenty of succulent pan-size flathead of around 40cm-50cm are taking fresh and live prawns, blade lures and soft plastics in the lower reaches of the Noosa, Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers as well as Currimundi Lake and the little creeks off the Pumicestone Passage.
Flathead can be caught all year round but in summer they tend to have a sweeter flavour as their diet is rich in prawns and small fish. Making and falling tides are good as long as the water is not rushing too quickly and try to fish along drop-offs or on a sand bank where water flows over and stirs up the sand slightly.
It was great to see some superb catches of bream at the moment, with both bait and lure anglers sharing the success. Local lads Frank and Mick Bartosek have cleaned up in the Maroochy River and along the Mooloolaba rock walls with every fish weighing a minimum of 1.2kg and the largest tipping the scales at 1.6kg. These big bream usually frequent the rivers in the middle of a cold winter. Many anglers are drifting unweighted frozen prawns along the edges of the river bank at Picnic Point, Cod Hole and Bli Bli with pleasing results of half a dozen good bream in a session.
Mangrove jack are usually the star species at this time of year, but they are remaining very illusive, with several ideas coming to mind to explain this. Firstly, jacks like nice, clean salt water when in the lower reaches but also can be found in the upper reaches of a river lurking in muddy water. Since many local waterways were almost considered brackish and borderline fresh, the jacks may have been flushed out to sea and have decided not to return until the water improves. The distinct lack of baitfish until Thursday this week could have the predatorily jacks in search of alternate food sources. Baitfish like herring, poddy mullet and bitties are staple diet which has been very lack lustre in the flooding, murky brown waters after the week of rain during Christmas. There are countless jack habitat area in the Maroochy and Noosa Rivers - good snaggy branches, mangrove trees, rock caves for us to stalk with a cast, trolled or drifted bait.
Last but not least, summer whiting have been in good numbers (once the waters cleared and in the past week) fishing along the dirty water line has also proved fruitful. Sand worms are menu of choice but whiting are also easily persuaded by prawn, pippy, squid and small strip baits. Reports just in the past few days are of good catches at Munna Point and the Frying Pan in the Noosa River, Cotton Tree and Picnic Point in the Maroochy, along La Balsa and in the canals at Kawana, mouth of Currimundi Lake and in the top end of the Passage. Red beads and plastic have been very popular to increase your chances.
So keep your chin up and persist over the next few days as the waters are getting clearer and clearer. With good catches late this week being evidence of the actual summer season finally kicking off, only slightly belated (but better late than never)!
Noosa: Spotty mackerel and Spanish mackerel on Sunshine reef. Flathead, bream and whiting between the mouth and the first cutting along north shore. A few trevally and flathead in woods bay at night on the high tide. Golden trevally, flathead and bream from the lower reaches. Mud crabs in Weyba Creek and in Lake Cooroibah.
Maroochydore: Spotty and Spanish mackerel north of old women island. Mangrove jack in Petrie creek on live poddy mullet. Whiting up to 41cm from the black banks and a few whiting from the sand bags. Jewfish in the middle reaches. Flathead around 50 cm, a few whiting around 30cm, and bream from Chambers Island. Heaps of mud crabs throughout the river system particularly around, Chambers Island, Bli Bli and the canals.
Kawana: Spotty mackerel, Wahoo, red throat and a few sweetlip from the outer Gneerings. Yellow fin bream, grunter bream and trevally on the high tide along La Balsa Wall. Whiting, dart and a few flathead between Kawana and Wurtulla beaches. A few grunter bream in the upper reaches. Mud crabs in the canals and in the upper reaches.
Caloundra: Flathead and golden trevally from the boardwalk. Mangrove jacks in the canals and creeks. Whiting throughout the lower reaches. Bream, whiting and flathead from the mouth of Currimundi lake. Mud crabs throughout the passage.
Allan Cook was flicking small slugs into the bait schools off Mooloolaba on Anglers Advantage Charters when he hooked this 7kg mac tuna.
The Mack Tuna have been plentiful for a while now and Damien got in on the action with this solid fish.