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2010 Fishing Reports

Fishing Report: Annual Riversweep this weekend! 14/05/2010


Locals and tourists alike spend a great amount of time enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings of the local rivers and coastline.  Fishing, boating, skiing, birdwatching and swimming (in the warmer months) are all popular on the rivers but each and every one of these much-loved activities can be detrimental to the environment.

Anglers should practice catch and release, especially when species are under minimum size or when bag limits have been reached.  Disguarding of tackle at the end of a fishing session, especially fishing line is very important to keep birds and animals safe from the harmful danger caused by fishing line, hooks, sinkers and crabpot rope.

Boaties should be following speed limits as they are not only there for safety but in built-up areas such as canals, the wake from a boat can wash and erode away sand embankments easily.

Visitors to the rivers and beaches need to take care of the place they have come to enjoy by taking all rubbish away with them!  Rubbish in all forms is detrimental to the environment, but the problem it causes in a tidal water system is even worse as the rise and fall of the water level spreads rubbish throughout every reach of the rivers.  Mangroves and tree roots act as a net and capture plastic bags, aluminium cans, foam food containers and takeaway coffee cups.

To take action against rubbish in the local river systems, there is always “Clean Up Australia Day”, but a 9 years ago “The Great Riversweep” was born when a group of volunteers associated with Riverwatch saw a need to keep the rivers clean.

Time has flown since that last Riversweep, and it’s that time of year again!  Time to haul out your old canoe or kayak, grab your friends and family and help clean up our creeks and rivers in 2010’s ‘Great Riversweep.’

This year’s event will be held on this Sunday the 16th May at a variety of locations across the Sunshine Coast from Caloundra to Noosa.  The event aims to cleanse our creeks and rivers of all the rubbish that can easily be missed on foot.

The Riversweep is a great addition to the number of environmental events held throughout the year, it allows people to get outdoors and be active in cleaning up their local area.

The Great Riversweep’ first began 9 years ago in Petrie Creek, now the clean-up has spread to include Maroochy River, Mooloolah River, Noosa River, Currimundi Creek, Stumers Creek and Pumicestone Passage.

By having a number of organisations participating across the Sunshine Coast we hope to raise the public’s awareness on the effects of litter and pollution across the region.

Riversweep started as part of Clean Up Australia Day, but due to inclement weather and flooding postponing the event several years in a row, the date was changed to the third Sunday in May.

Last year over 150 people helped out and collected all sorts of rubbish from full diesel drums, couches and fridges, building waste, to the ever growing assortment of bottles, bags and bits.  A 50 year old sporting plaque from the Nambour High School was also recovered in Eudlo Creek.

The more people we have participating on the day the greater the impact will be.

Participants are welcome to join in at any site across the coast, if you have your own canoe or kayak that is a bonus!  Swan Boat Hire at Maroochydore have kindly donated the use a few extra canoes and kayaks to be used in the Maroochy River; however you will need to register early to get the use of these.

After the mornings activities there will be a free community BBQ for all participants, the location of the BBQ will depend on the area which you helped clean-up. The Maroochy River BBQ is at 1pm at Muller Park, Bli Bli.

If you require more information, or would like to register for ‘The Great Riversweep’ please contact the Maroochy Waterwatch office on 54 764 777.

Associations participating include Maroochy Waterwatch, Sunshine Coast Seniors Kayak Club, Nambour and Maroochydore Scouts, Swan Boat Hire, Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, Coolum and District Coast Care, Coolum Area Parks Society, Mooloolah Waterwatch and Landcare, Currimundi Catchment Care Group, Night Eyes and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

The combined litter abatement activities of the catchment groups and council in 2009 have been recognised by being finalists in this year’s Healthy Waterways Awards in the Channel 7 Clean Up Award category.  The awards night occurs next Thursday night in Brisbane with the chance of winning the Ministers Grand Prize of $10 000.


Noosa: Spotty mackerel and a few Spaniards in the bay. At Sunshine and North reefs there are Spaniards to 26kg, Sweetlip to 3kg and some small Snapper. Dart, bream and whiting to 40cm along the Teewah Stretch. Trevally and Tailor in Woods bay and at the mouth. Flathead to 65cm in the lower reaches.

Maroochy: A 7.1kg snapper, parrot and red throat emperor from Murphy’s Reef. Tailor in the river mouth and along Mudjimba Beach. Plenty of just legal flathead from the Bli Bli markers. Whiting to 30cm from the canals and Picnic Point . Trevally in the southern channel. Bream to 1.2kg, big flathead and trevally in the cod hole.  

Kawana: Big grass sweetlip, pearl perch and parrot from the 60m mark of the banks. Spanish mackerel, grass sweetlip and parrot from the Gneerings. Long tail Tuna at Point Cartwright and Mudjimba Island.  Dart and Whiting along Kawana beach. Bream from the moorings. Whiting near McKenzie’s Bridge. Sand crabs in the mouth.

Caloundra: Mackerel and grass sweetlip from Brays Rock. Mud crabs between Coochin creek and Donnybrook. Trevally in Pelican Waters. Flathead from the mouth of Bells and Coochin creeks. Bream from the Military jetty. Bream and Flathead from the Boardwalk.



After much persistence Greg Hutchinson came came up with a feed of fish, consisting of whiting and flathead out of the Maroochy Waters Canals.


Pete Batey was flicking plastics on recent session in the lower Maroochy and was lucky enough to hook this big old female dusky flathead that measured 85cm, it was quickly  released for the camera to swim another day.


The Annual Riversweep is a great chance to have a day out on the water with the whole family, while cleaning up your environment at the same time.


It is amazing how much rubbish ends up in our water ways from careless people. If you would like to do your part please contact your local shire council for more information on the Riversweep.

Fishing Report: Winter Species on the move. 07/05/2010


The cool change has definitely hit the Sunshine Coast and for those of us with fishing on the mind 24/7, this means possible begging and pleading to the (better) other half to let us spend countless nights in the freezing conditions; enduring cold south-westerlies, barefoot in freezing river water/surf and the much needed nip or two of whisky to warm the cockles of our hearts....ahhh gotta love winter. Though winter is officially next month, the evening temperatures are definitely indicating that it will be a cold one!

The next new moon is Friday the 14th and the 3 days leading up to the full moon is looking to be best for fishing.  The 2 days following the full moon on Friday the 28th are also looking predictably good for fishing, according to the Anglers Almanac.

Big bream and tailor are entering the river systems in decent sized schools and all we need is to have our lines in the waters as they swim by. Big bream, close to the 1kg mark are feeding along the coastal rocky out crops and the rubble beds inside the rivers. Each year the pilot bream enter the river mouths to spawn around the rocks. They leave eggs and sperm on the rocks in hope they become fertilized. The catch is that, when they come to spawn, they need to feed as well.

As the skillful anglers that we are, there's a really good chance to catch a few of the bigger bream when they attempt to refuel for the journey back out to sea. Bream generally love to feed on oysters and barnacles from the rocks. So try pippies, white bait, frogmouth pilchards, W.A. pilchards, mullet gut, fresh prawn and mullet flesh for best results in bream hook ups. Best to try the South Channel, off the bank in the Twin Waters and Maroochy Waters Canals, off the Chambers Island Bridge at night, in a boat or off the bank at the Cod Hole. If heading further south, then the jetties and rock walls in the Mooloolah River and The Boardwalk in Caloundra are worth a try.

Tailor are also a great winter species to fish for in the rivers and along the beaches. Being a pelagic species that swims and feeds in a school, tailor munch on most baits that are placed in front of them. W.A. pilchards are the most commonly used bait, but tailor also love gar and flesh baits. Commonly during May, the tailor are often a bit patchy.  The promising reports in so far since Anzac Day are indicating that bigger fish are already frequenting the rivers and beaches.  Fish between 2.5kg and 5.4kg have been weighed in most recently.  There have also been plenty of choppers caught in the rivers from both boat and bank.  

Local anglers report that schools are moving upstream via Pin Cushion and past the jetty at Cotton Tree, then mainly take the South Channel towards the Cod Hole.  

If tailor and bream are not your cup of tea, target flathead as they are still hitting lures; live and fresh baits quite well, but will become more lethargic over the next month due to the drop in water temperature. The best bet when chasing flatties during May and June is to fish with smaller pilchards, white bait or small diver whiting. The regular haunts around Bli Bli channel markers, Petrie Creek and Goat Island should still produce a few bigger fish and tend to work better on the falling tides.

The luderick have been a bit hit and miss so far. In years gone by, May was often the start of their season. There were a few fish weighed in before Easter but there have been very few since.  However the cooler conditions in June/July will definitely bring them on the bite, particularly when the weather is bitterly cold.  The luderick like deeper drop-off banks and holes where snags are evident.  Remember to berley up with generous amounts of weed mixed in with a bit of sand.   Best locations are along the Caloundra boardwalk, the groynes at Cotton Tree, along the rocks at the mouth of Cornmeal Creek and in the Cod Hole area - off the bridge pylons and the banks near the traffic lights.

Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground in the coming weeks for increasing reports of winter species getting caught and drop as many subtle hints as necessary to win some time for much needed winter fishing action! 




Noosa: Spotty mackerel are in large schools in Laguna Bay. Jew from Halls Reef. Trout and spotties at Sunshine reef. Spanish mackerel and tuna from Double Island Point. Trevally opposite Gympie Terrace boat ramp and in Woods Bay. Flathead in the frying pan.  Whiting throughout the lower reaches.


Maroochy: Tailor in average numbers to 63cm along Mudjimba Beach. Average bream throughout the river. Flathead throughout the lower reaches 50-65cm. Tailor from the sand bags over night. Sand crabs from the river mouth and mud crabs around the creek mouths.


Kawana: Small snapper, parrot and grass sweetlip at Old Women Island and the Gneerings. Spangled emperor to 73cm, 2kg snapper and parrot from Currimundi. Dart along Kawana beach. Bream and trevally between La Balsa wall and the mouth. Sand crabs in the mouth. Mud crabs in the upper river.


Caloundra:  Grass sweetlip and bream from Shelly Beach. Bream and golden trevally from the Military Jetty and Pelican Waters Canal. Bream form the Boardwalk.


Kayla Neisler was fishing in the southern channel of the Maroochy River with live worm and came up with a 430g whiting.


Stuart Walkinshaw had his pots scattered throughout the Maroochy  River and came up with a mixed bag of sand and mud crabs.


Jeff Howbart’s homemade timber lures proved to be successful on dusky flathead in the Maroochy River. This 60cm fish engulfed one of his lures on the flats opposite Buna Street.


The spotty mackerel are thick in Laguna Bay off Noosa at the moment and with the strong southerly blowing over the weekend, this will be one of the only location fishable. Brendan Bedford and his mates got into a few last weekend casting metal slugs.

Young Brianne caught this 63cm dusky flathead with the help of her dad Lee from Chambers Bridge last weekend. The gun bait was a fresh prawn and tide was on its way in.

Fishing Report: Barra on the Sunshine Coast? 29/04/2010



What's the perfect way to spend a day fishing in-between seasons where you are pretty much guaranteed a catch with the added bonus of being only a stone throw away?   Want a piece of the best local sport-fishing action - Suncoast Barra Fishing Park is the answer!



Located on the northern banks of the Maroochy River at Bli Bli, Suncoast Barra Park boasts three large saltwater ponds of over 18 acres of fish rich waters. Current owner, "Fish" aka Micheal Searle and his family have put in the hard yards to make the park the attraction it is today.  Soon "Fish" is taking some much needed time off so his bright and bubbly offsider Zoe Chakley will be running the show in his absence.  Zoe comes from a fishing-mad family and is more than qualified for the position. 


If you've never caught yourself a barra or the king of the jungle of estuaries, then Suncoast Barra is the best option which doesn't involve a 900km drive to the top end!  For those of you who have experienced the thrill of the chase and are looking for some other species, then look no further because it's not just barra marauding in these waters!


The mixed species ponds have some fantastic sport fish waiting for your hook to pass their awaiting mouths.  Some 45 species can be found, including: estuary cod, flathead, jew, mangrove jack, trevally, tarpon/giant herring, milk fish, queenies, snapper and whiting.  Despite having all of these species in great numbers, both snapper and jew have proven elusive. That said, cod to 10kg and 26kg barra are a great prize! 


Unlike fishing up north, there is no need for a fancy boat nor the risk of getting chomped by a croc.  With several sheltered areas, bbq's and plenty of space it's an angler friendly environment. The aim is to provide a relaxing location, ample fish for all plus chances to set new catch records or win 'Fish of the Month' to score a free full day pass as well as the accolade of going on the 'Wall of Fame'.


The nitty gritty details: this park gives all anglers a free tub of pellets for bait/berley on entry, but you can easily use live, fresh or frozen baits, lures and fly gear. Best baits for the beautiful sportfish include live poddy mullet, herring, pilchards, whitebait, herring, prawns or garfish, but the pellets are also tried and tested many times over.


If lures are more your thing then the local SunCoast Barra Park regulars recommend a small to medium shallow diving lure with natural tones, medium Prawn-stars, Crawdaddy surface lures or the 2-4 inch soft plastics in minnows, double tails and yabbie shapes. 


Anglers can expect to view an induction video on barra fishing and handling techniques.  Plus there is expert tuition from the friendly staff on how to catch Australia's premier sportfish and a policy that if you have fished for 30mins without a hit, then some hands-on assistance is on offer.  The staff are all local and fish at the park and also in the river, offering plenty of advice on baits to use, technique, lures and even flies that work best.  Big barra can easily destroy inferior tackle so be sure to equip a quality rod/reel loaded with at least 20lb line and even heavier mono leader to 50 lb is required to extract these fish. Don't let anyone tell you that impoundment fish are lazy - the photographic evidence is proof enough!


Tackle and rods are available for hire from the park and with the option of catch and release or catch and purchase (only barramundi up to 55cm) keeping the promise of fish for dinner suddenly becomes a whole lot easier! The most popular keepers are usually the 2-3kg barra which are $20/kg to keep.


Suncoast Barra Park also invites you to inquire about their great options for groups, corporate events and parties. Maybe you would like to make a day of your visit...bring your lunch and take advantage of the BBQ facilities and sheltered areas.


For more info give the team a call on 54487514 or check out their website:




Noosa: Spotty mackerel, yellow fin and blue fin tuna between the river mouth and Halls Reef. Cobia from Chardon’s Reef on live bait.Tailor to 3.7kg, whiting, dart and tarwhine  along the North Shore. Whiting throughout the lower reaches. Flathead at the river mouth and at the entrance to the 1st lake.  Mud crabs in the canals.


Maroochy: Spanish and spotty mackerel on trolled baits on the close inshore reefs between Coolum and the Maroochy River mouth. Yellow fin tuna and spanish mackerel at the Inner Gneerings.  Tailor, flathead and dart either side of the river mouth. Sand whiting to 500g and flathead caught off the bank near the Cotton Tree Pool, sand whiting also on the drift around Goat and Channel Islands.  A few grunter bream and flathead at Picnic Point and Yinni Street.  Trevally, tailor and estuary cod in the Cod Hole and the middle reach of Petrie Creek.


Kawana: Spanish mackerel on most of the closer inshore reefs. Good moses perch, snapper, sweetlip and coral trout at 5 Mile Reef, Murphy’s and Barwon Banks. Sweetlip, parrot, moses perch at Murphy’s. Dart and whiting along Kawana. Big bream and trevally in the lower river.


Caloundra:  Spotty mackerel and grass sweetlip at Brays Rock.  Pan sized flathead throughout the passage.  Bream off the Boardwalk. Whiting from the Power Boat club.  





Dave and Brae Edgerton were enjoying a mornings fishing session together off Chambers Island, when Brae hooked his biggest flathead yet at 1kg.



Jack McLennon was floating half pillies around the boat moorings in the lower Mooloolah river earlier in the week and he came up with several quality bream 700-990g.



Neil Dale was hopping big soft plastics between the coffee rock patches along mudjimba Beach when he struck this solid 73cm dusky flathead.  



Jake Jodvalkis was trolling large pilchards behind his ocean kayak out from Coolum and was lucky to catch this 18kg Spanish mackerel on his way back to the beach.


Fishing Report: Deep Trolling for Spanish Mackerel. 22/04/2010


The biggest, the best, the fastest and meanest mackerel of them all brings angler to their knees just thinking about them. This fish can peel hundreds of meters off your reel, causing your drag to smoke on the first run. It is an awesome feeling watching the line peel from your reel at a great rate of knots, with the drag screaming, not knowing when the fish will slow up and that there may be the possibility of getting spooled as the fish heads for the horizon. The smaller mackerel definitely don't go as hard; unless fished on light line, but the 10kg and heavier specimens go like the clappers on standard 10kg set ups - especially if you hook one while at anchor.

This Spanish mackerel season on the Sunshine Coast has been one of the best in about 10 years with plenty of good sized fish on offer to anglers over the past two or so months.  The smaller fish around the 5-8kg have started to move south leaving 8kg+ fish and increasing number of big rogue fish of 15-25kg to grace us with their presents right through to the end of winter with any luck.

It is over the cooler months when the fish hang down deeper in the water column and become harder to catch on standard mackerel gear. Live or dead bait trolled down deep will produce the best results and biggest fish. Baits should be trolled along with the outboard just in forward gear so that boat is moving at 1-2.5 knots. Make sure that your bait is rigged straight and swims straight before you let it out the back to troll.

Large hard bodied bibbed minnow style lures that dive to 5m+ will work on various occasions and you should aim to try these at dawn and dusk for best results.

The best areas to try trolling include those where birds are working, schools of fish feeding, pinnacles, bombies and dense bait schools showing up on the sounder.

Like most species of fish early morning and late afternoon are the key ‘hot bite' times. Spaniards love to feed well between sunup and mid morning when there is enough light for them to ambush bait readily.

Hard Lures:

  • Halco Laser pro 190 DD 7m+
  • Berkley Frenzy Mungo 6m+

Best Baits:

  • Live slimy mackerel, yakka, bonito, frigate mac tuna and wolf herring.
  • Good quality frozen bonito, tailor, slimy mackerel, gar, pike and large pilchards.

Bait trolling rigs:

  • TT Lures Bait trolling rig, 60g weight, 8/0 ganged hooks
  • SureCatch Chin Guard 85g weight, 6/0 ganged hooks

Both should be rigged with a length of wire 30-90cm depending on personal preference.

The Hot Spots at the moment:

Sunshine and Halls Reefs, Currimundi, the Gneerings and 5 mile Reef.


Spanish mackerel are excellent fighting fish and really give the angler a run for their money. They feed close enough to the coastline making them are readily available to all anglers, whether you own a kayak or a big ocean-going vessel. With better fighting capabilities, dashing looks and those super-healthy Omega 3 oils present in their flesh - why wouldn't you chase a Spaniard?




Noosa:  Long tail tuna and Mac tuna in the bay along with some sweetlip on the reef patches. Whiting and bream along Noosa North Shore. Flathead to 60cm and a few Whiting from the river mouth. Trevally on live baits from Munna Point and Woods bay.


Maroochy: Tailor to 3kg from the river mouth over night. Tailor in the cod hole just on dark. A 1kg jack from Bli Bli.  Bream, estuary cod and school jew to 5kg between Yinni Street and the Cod hole. Flathead throughout the river.


Kawana:  Flathead, bream and whiting along Buddina Beach. Squire and sweetlip on pilchards from Point Cartwright. Estuary Cod, Bream and trevally along La Balsa .


Caloundra:  Bream and flathead off the boardwalk. Trevally and jacks in Pelican Waters.



Paul Anderson and Dave McGregor regularly trolled slightly weighted XL pilchards behind their kayaks at less than 1knot so that the bait naturally sinks into the strike zone. Dave's top Spanish mackerel weighed in at 10kg and Paul caught a 6kg+ long tail tuna on his trolled rig.


Despite the rough conditions, Noosa angler John Kinloch boated two Spanish mackerel at Hall's Reef with this 23.5kg specimen being the standout (supplied by


This SureCatch ChinGuard rig is ideal for trolling large pilchards mid water for big Spanish mackerel and should be rigged with at least 30cm of wire.


Andy Gunn trolled XL slimy mackerel on weighted gang rigs at Currimundi Reef for these 9kg Spaniards.

Fishing Report: Get ready to tackle winter fishing. 15/04/2010


Last week we talked about April being a good month to target a wide variety of transitional species. By transitional we mean fish species that are dominant in both Summer and Autumn; like flathead, whiting, mangrove jack and trevally.  These species will slowly decrease in numbers by late April and during the same months winter species like bream, tailor and jew should increase in numbers.


If you read last week's article, it discussed the importance of what bait to use and where to go to target the transitional species that live in local Sunshine Coast waters.  Tackle is equally important and the following is some tried and tested set-ups to use in this part of the year.


Now to keep costs down, it is worth your while to look for a multi faceted rod that could be used for both summer and winter species. Not a lot of people can afford to have a bream rod, then a flathead rod, a whippy whiting rod and also a solid tailor rod.These days tackle companies have come to the realisation that general purpose outfits to target a range of species are on the up and up as we need to continuously tighten our belts with rising interest rates and the cost of living.


Last year the Swan Boat Hire team designed a rod/reel combo for specific use as an all round light to medium estuary combo. The "Silstar Estuary Special" combo is ideal for bream, whiting and flathead with increased strength in the butt to also target tailor and trevally. The two piece (3-5kg weight range) rod was available to be purchased on its own for $29.95 or coupled with a Jarvis Walker Mirage 350 spooled with 10lb suffix mono to form a well balance combo at only $49.95. The combo's walked out the door rapidly at that price and this winter we will have a few more in stock for the financially savvy angler.


Big tackle companies have followed suit in designing some more wallet-friendly rod, reels and combos that can be used for a variety of species. A lighter set up to target bream, whiting, flathead and grunter bream on soft plastics or small hard lures is the ATC 1-3kg 7ft spin rod (imported by Wilson and Co) with a SureCatch Ovation 25 reel.

Already sneaking into tackle shops around Australia are a bright and glittery range of winter lures. To name a few that have caught the eyes of yours truly are some great new colours in Berkley 3inch PowerBait Minnows, Slam 3inch Curl tails, River2sea Baby Rover 50's, TT Switchblade ¼inch lures and shiny Citer Blades in 1.5inch and larger. These all retail under $15 and will work a treat with bream, flathead, trevally, jacks and the hungry whiting.


If bait fishing is preferred then try the new-to-the-market Wilson 7-9ft Foreshore rod with a SureCatch Ovation 35 reel.

A heavier set up which will put you in good stead for tailor, big sea bream and jew is the ATC 4kg Rack 7ft spin rod with a SureCatch Ovation 35 Reel for lures or the Wilson 12ft Foreshore rod coupled with a 7000 size spin reel or 650B Alvey reel for superior casting into deep gutters.


More substantial surface lures for the beach and deep water that have angler's tongues wagging include the Exude 5inch SW RT Slugs, Reidy's B52, Tropic Angler Poddy Mullet Deep diver, Trollcraft Pelagic #4 and personal favourites SureCatch Knight's in beautiful green, pink and red shades in 20g and 40g.


The main idea when targeting fish with surface lures is to try and match the lure size with bait size your target species is feeding on at the time. This will ensure a much better chance of a hook up. With this info in mind, hopefully you will be prepared for a good Autumn and Winter fishing season.




Noosa:  Long tail tuna and Mac tuna in the bay along with some sweetlip on the reef patches. Whiting and bream along Noosa North Shore. Flathead to 60cm and a few Whiting from the river mouth. Trevally on live baits from Munna Point and Woods bay.


Maroochy: Tailor to 3kg from the river mouth over night. Tailor in the cod hole just on dark. A 1kg jack from Bli Bli.  Bream, estuary cod and school jew to 5kg between Yinni Street and the Cod hole. Flathead throughout the river.


Kawana:  Flathead, bream and whiting along Buddina Beach. Squire and sweetlip on pilchards from Point Cartwright. Estuary Cod, Bream and trevally along La Balsa .


Caloundra:  Bream and flathead off the boardwalk. Trevally and jacks in Pelican Waters.




Ross Nilson was fising with fresh bait above the Bli Bli bridge when he caught a nice flathead and trevally.
Barry Richards was fishing with a pilchard off Chambers Island when he hooked this 2.3kg (69cm) dusky flathead.
Brock and Alex Mason were fishing with fresh prawn from the eastern tip of Chambers Island and were happy when they caught bream and flathead.

Shiny: A selection of attractive lures for the Winter fishing season; Slam soft plastic curl-tails, Surecatch Knight metal slugs, Citer blades and a charming golden deep diver by Tropic Angler.


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