April is a nice mild Autumn month, with the odd cool night, but now that the Easter Bunny has been and gone, we can expect winter conditions to sneak in over the range in the coming weeks.
April is a great month to target a variety of transitional species. By transitional we mean fish species that are dominant in both 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 will 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 too 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 at present are readily taking soft plastics as well as well presented prawns, small blue sardines, frogmouth pilchards and squid strips. Flathead in Autumn can be likened to a Hoover vacuum cleaner and perform a ritual similar to that which I do on a Saturday afternoon – large sweeps of sand banks, ahem, I mean carpet looking for scraps and debris stirred up from the week’s activities. Though unlike the flathead, I don’t rely on this survival skill to keep my species alive.
The flathead are aiming to fill up as much as possible to survive the colder temps in winter as many of them go into a hibernating-like state. Reports and weigh-ins have proved that flathead catches increase after April and often by June they drop significantly.
Bait preferring anglers know that presentation is a must especially in transition periods, because not every hook-up is a greedy guts who will bite just about anything. 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 minnows or double tails will be sufficient. It pays to use light jig heads, that can still be cast the intended distance and sink the intended depth required but won’t sit on the bottom as you get your motion happening.
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 PowerBaits 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” PowerBaits 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 or bigger flathead.
Trevally and the odd 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.
It is well worth fishing on the lead up to the full moon on the Wednesday 28th of April. Fishing 3 days either side of the full moon in the deeper holes of the Maroochy River is common practice in the ‘transitional months’. This is conveniently close to the Anzac Day long weekend!!!
Noosa: Spotty mackerel and tuna on Halls Reef. Good hauls of mixed reef fish from Sunshine Reef. Whiting and dart along North Shore. Whiting and plenty of flathead in the Frying Pan. Trevally and a few tailor on lures in Woods Bay. Mud Crabs from Weyba creek.
Maroochy: Spotty mackerel and sweetlip in the morning from Mudjimba Island. Bream, estuary cod and school jew from Yinni Street. A 2.3kg flathead was taken from Chambers Island. Plenty of smaller flathead 45-55cm throughout the lower and middle reaches. Whiting 30-35cm between Chambers Island and the mouth. Cod in Maroochy Waters canal. Mud crabs above Bli Bli bridge.
Kawana: Sweetlip, parrot, spotty and spanish from the 5 and 10 mile. Snapper, Spanish macks, pearlies and grassies from Murphy’s and the gneerings. Tarwhine, dart, bream and whiting from access’s 9 and 31. Trevally and plenty of good flathead on the top of the tide in the lower reaches. Jacks at the weir. Trevally in the Mooloolaba canals.
Caloundra: Spanish mackerel to 20kg from the 5 mile. Grass sweetlip and snapper around Brays Rock. Whiting and flathead opposite the Power Boat Club. Flathead on the flats south of Bells Creek. Trevally and a few bream around the jetty’s and pontoons in Pelican waters. Mud crabs from the creeks.
Neil Dale was fishing the Maroochy North Shore with fresh slab bait to temp this 10kg jew fish.
Tom Guild was hopping 4” Berkley soft plastics off Chambers Island when this 50cm flathead gave him a good fight on light gear.
Ross Nilson was fishing in a deep hole in the channel above Bli Bli bridge when he nailed a nice GT and 1.3kg flathead.
Raz was working plastics in the mangroves around the Bli Bli islands when he hooked this GT and had a bit of fun on his light graphite combo.
Georgina worked the sand banks out from Cotton Tree aboard Anglers Advantage for this pan sized dusky flathead.
Wow, Easter crept up so quickly! So as promised, the location concluding my special write-up on top local fishing and boating areas, this week we take a look at Caloundra, just in time for Good Friday. Wind, rain or shine, Caloundra is a great spot with numerous locations for both the beginner and experienced angler. The other bonus is anglers can seek out more protected and shadier nooks and crannies in the estuaries should the weather turn pear shaped! One of my favourite areas in bad weather is the always reliable Caloundra.
Caloundra is one of the few places on the coast which has locations for every weather condition; a surf beach, a bar to cross (when the weather is reliable), mangrove creeks and deep drop-offs in the channel. The beauty of fishing at Caloundra is that creeks, sand banks and channels can also change and morph into new structures in a matter of weeks. This brings new locations to discover and challenges avid anglers to interpret the water-scape in order to pick the best spot! The following are some of the well known areas to wet a line.
1. Starting at the top of the passage is the bar and the deep water area just inside the mouth. To the north is Bulcock St, the water is fast flowing in the middle of the channel, but slows and eddies closer to the shore. This is a well known area where bream, flathead and sand whiting feed on both of the making and falling tides. Locals can also often be seen at this spot as the sun goes down with surf rods chasing chopper tailor, queenfish or jew as they come into the passage from the sea. To the south is the tip of Bribie which offers a great surf fishing ground.
2. The Boardwalk is not only a great spot for a stroll but a top fishing spot, day and night! This easy to access area lies along the deepest part of the channel and at the beginning of the bend in the passage. The Boardwalk pylons are covered with barnacles and weed, making it a superb feeding ground for the bread and butter species as well as the ideal golden trevally, mangrove jack and jewie ground on a hot summer’s day. Unfortunately, you do lose a lot of tackle in this area as the fish are as cunning as the barnacles are sharp. Occasionally there is also the added bonus of hooking snapper, mackerel and cod which come into the passage for food.
3. Blue Hole is only accessible by boat and it has been a top producer of flathead for many years. This area is reliant on the tides and the more movement in the water, the more chance of a hook-up. Whiting and bream are also good feeders in the spot and with enough sand exposed along the shallower banks, it is definitely worth pumping for yabbies and chasing soldier crabs here.
4. Bells Creek is a great all-rounder spot catering for many types of angler. It is easily accessed by 4WD enthusiasts who come for the fishing and driving experience. Boaties can enter the creek via boat ramps at Golden Beach, Pelican Waters or further inland. Bells Creek has both sand and mangrove banks which attracts whiting, bream and flathead, the occasional mangrove jack, jew and cod at night and it is a great spot to drop the pots for a muddie.
Not forgetting our younger anglers, I have two never-fail spots which are safe to fish and easy to access all year.
5. Military Jetty. Located on the Esplanade at Golden Beach, the Military Jetty is an excellent spot for kids who are restricted to fishing off the bank only. It is a safe, well shaded area and the jetty allows you to get your line right out into the channel without having to invest in a 9 foot surf rod. Fishing is best when there is not too much boating action and when the sand banks have about half a tide of water covering them. All the bread and butter species hang along the banks, while the kids can also enjoy a reasonable fight from the odd golden trevally and bigger flathead here. Within a short walk are the toilets and a grassy area to relax in as well.
6. Pelican Waters Canals. Although a man-made structure, these canals are very popular with anglers because you can access the fish from the bridge, jetties, off the bank and by boat. The entrance is very deep and the bigger predator fish thrive in this area as they can pounce on unsuspecting baitfish or mullet from the depths. There is a fair bit of rocky area on both banks where thick weed grows and the bream hang around. Night-time often brings out the jew, mangrove jacks and estuary cod – this is where the live bait or bait-like hard and soft body lures work a treat. The canals are also golden trevally territory as they frequent the area all year but especially during a hot summer when the tides are their biggest.
For all of your local fishing information and tackle in the Caloundra area drop in and see the crew at Caloundra Fishing World.
Noosa: Spanish macs, long tail tuna spotty macs, coral trout, Maori cod and sweetlip at Sunshine and Chardon’s Reefs. Whiting and flathead in the Frying Pan and other areas in the lower reaches. Trevally and a few tailor on poppers at the back of the sound. Mud Crabs from Weyba creek.
Maroochy: Long tail tuna to 10kg, Spanish mackerel to 6kg, parrot and sweetlip from Coolum Reef. Flathead to 50cm from Chambers Island and Picnic Point. Tailor to 70cm around the bar and to 50cm in the cod hole. Whiting from Bli Bli and around Goat and Channel Islands. Mud crabs around the Bli Bli Islands.
Kawana: Spanish Mackerel to 25kg at the Gneerings. Sweetlip and snapper out from Pt Cartwright. Wahoo, Spanish mackerel, Maori Cod and snapper from the 12 mile. Dart, whiting, bream and tarwhine in the surf at Kawana, try around Beach Access No 16. Trevally on the top of the tide in the lower reaches.
Caloundra: A few Spaniards around brays and the shipping channels. Good queenfish and Flathead off the Boardwalk. Bream. Mud crabs from the creeks.
Sean Nash was trolling a skirted lure around Halls Reef when this 10kg long tail smashed it and gave him a good fight. (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au).
Olly Bee and Ken Lynch were fishing with yakka on Murphy’s Reef when on Tuesday and came up with a 1.8kg trout and several parrot to 2.2kg.
Sue Banks was fishing off Chambers Island over the weekend with fresh bait and caught this 50cm flathead for her efforts.
MOOLOOLABA TO KAWANA: NOT JUST ANY OLD PORT IN A STORM!
With the Easter long weekend upon us, locals and tourists alike have been planning which is the best place to spend the country's favourite weekend. If you are looking for safe, shady parks, barbeques, surf beach and play equipment in a beautiful part of the coast, then Mooloolaba is the place I suggest you go.
Now the best part about Mooloolaba is that the non-fishing folk can have just as good a time as the anglers with all the recreational areas set up especially for families and large groups. Only a stones throw away are some of the best fishing locations the coast has to offer. As well, there is no fear of missing out on the last snag on the barbeque because all the fishing spots (off the rocks, along the beach and on jetties) are really that close to the picnic areas and parks! Fishing areas in Mooloolaba span from The Bluff to Kawana Waters and Currimundi Creek; the following are my six favourite fishing locations for this area.
1. Starting with the beaches, most of the surf beaches between Alex Headlands and Kawana Surf Club offer good deep gutters and solid sand banks for targeting sand whiting, bream, tarwhine, dusky flathead and dart. On dawn and dusk, the Kawana stretch (between Pt Cartwright and Kawana Surf Club, especially Kawana Pocket) provides a deeper gutter for tailor, jew and the occasional big trevally. Some anglers put in the hard yards and fish through the night for several hours to bring home jew around the 10-12kilo mark - this area is famous for such incredible catches!
2. The Rock Walls and Point Cartwright are both very similar structures but offer two completely different fishing experiences. The rock walls on either side of the bar are easily accessible by car and foot plus boaties can also sit just inside the bar and fish towards the rock walls, knowing they are protected from big swells. Most estuarine species as well as some pelagics move in and out of this channel - best known for big sea bream, flathead, school jew and chopper tailor. Due to the rocks, it is best to fish with lighter tackle and be aware of the direction the water is moving. Bring along the cast net if you are keen but careful - there's usually plenty of baitfish to be caught.
3. Kawana and Minyama Canals are nice deep channels dotted with little bridges, pontoons and jetties which the fish love moving in and out of cover from. The canals have both sand and mud bottoms which attract all the bread and butter species such as flathead, whiting and bream. Baitfish and gar often get trapped and lost in the canal which brings out the hunters like mangrove jacks, estuary cod, golden trevally and jew. Don't forget surface lures - poppers, hard-body prawn look-alikes and colourful metal slugs all work well in the canals for the like of GT's and the occasional queenfish as well.
4. Parrearra Channel is a great all-rounder spot surrounded by rock walls, bridge pylons and jetties which provide the perfect haven for the more timid bream and a perfect lurking spot for our favourite predators - the mangrove jack and jew. Lures and soft plastics work a treat here in the deeper channel where reports of queenfish are common, around the banks near the Loch and off the eastern bank where the water pipes enter the river. The water flowing from these pipes provide plenty of movement in the water causing baitfish to be caught off-guard and over Christmas and the following hotter months, you can often net poddy mullet and prawns for bait here too. It is a great spot to drop the pots for a muddie!
TAKE A KID FISHING
For the younger anglers, I have two great spots in Mooloolaba which are safe to fish and easy to access for the whole family.
5. La Balsa Park is on the southern side of the bar, running from Oyster Point to the Kawana Boat Ramp, with plenty of car parking and grassy, shady parks in the close vicinity. This is a perfect spot for the kids because it is decked out with barbeques and parks and they get a great view of all the boating traffic through the shipping channel, without being too close to lose a whole lot of tackle. Plenty of bream, trevally, whiting and flathead to be caught here, plus an underwater rock ledge near the red channel marker is a known spot for cod, jew and mangrove jacks to bite. Live bait, lures and soft plastics are all very good options to use here.
6. The Wharf Jetties are ideal for kids for several reasons - plenty of seats very close to the decking (where rods can easily sit as though they are in a rod holder), extremely handy for all those treats we love like ice-creams and hotdogs for lunch, well shaded and plenty of parking for the family car. Fishing is best here on the incoming tide for bream, whiting and flathead - fresh prawns, live worms or chicken gut are top baits here. Try using natural brown or orange coloured soft plastics in 1-inch size for bream or up to 3 inches in bright colours for golden and giant trevally on the top of the tide.
When it comes to local knowledge on river, beach and offshore fishing in the area it is well worth dropping into Kawana Bait and Tackle at the end of Point Cartwright Drive. Michael and his friendly staff will help you with all of your fishing needs and hopefully put you onto the fish as well.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Spanish mackerel in good numbers on the dirty water mark on Sunshine. Plenty of quality reef fish in the mirky water on Sunshine. Trevally, tailor and plenty of jacks in Woods Bay. Crabs throughout the middle reaches and canals.
Maroochy: Spanish mackerel, long tail tuna to 10kg and grass sweetlip around old women island. Tailor to 3kg from the sand bags and to 1kg in the cod hole on dusk. Trevally and flathead above bli bli bridge. Whiting at cotton tree.
Kawana: Bigger Spanish mackerel on troll and sweetlip, snapper and pearl perch on the bottom at the 12 mile reef. Dart, whiting, bream and tarwhine along cuttings 20-40 at Kawana. Bream along the moorings. Mud crabs in the canals.
Caloundra: Snapper and sweetlip on plastics around Brays Rock. Bream off the boardwalk. Trevally in Pelican Waters. Mud crabs around the mouths of the creeks.
Hunter fished with Anglers Advantage this week working plastics in the upper Maroochy for a pan sized dusky flathead.
Father and son team Colin and Ben Gray caught these two mangrove jacks while working the bait boils in the Woods Bays with Storm Chug Bug surface poppers (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au).
Jason Armstrong was drifting with slab baits around Old Women Island on Wednesday and came up with several keeper grass sweetlip for his efforts.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Flathead around the mouth on plastics. A few trevally and tailor on the surface near Munna Point and small school Jew in Woods Bay. Crabs in between the lakes.
Maroochy: Bream to 35cm from Cotton Tree. Whiting in the southern channel and on the Black Banks on the morning making tide. Flathead between Petrie creek and Bli Bli channel markers. Mud crabs above Bli Bli bridge.
Kawana: Bream from La Balsa wall. Whiting in Kawana Lakes on the morning high tide. Golden Trevally around Minyama Island. Mud crabs in the canals and at McKenzie’s Bridge.
Caloundra: Bream off the boardwalk. Flathead to 50cm caught from Pelican Waters on hard body lures. Mud crabs in good numbers Between Coochin Creek and Donnybrook.
Luke Spears was fishing with live worms along Bradman Avenue opposite Chambers Island when he hooked this 400g summer whiting.
Bryan and Jason put the pots in for 3hrs over the weekend using fresh mullet and were lucky enough to pot 4 good buck mud crabs.
The crabs have also been on the move in the channel opposite Chambers Island. Darrin potted this 900g buck over night.
Mark Planck also had a spot of luck crabbing in the lower reaches this week with a 1kg + buck mud crab.
It is well worth throwing in the pot over the weekend in the middle reaches of the river.
With the Easter holidays bearing down on is at a rate of knots, the weeks leading up to one of Australia's favourite holiday seasons which absolutely has to include fishing (remember Lent my friends!) I will be focussing on the main holiday and fishing locations the Sunshine Coast has to offer. Like many of us I have to entertain visitors this Easter and want to give them plenty of clues so they can take themselves out and about (rather than me playing tour guide for 10 days).
Today's article will be the first of several and starting at the top - let's take a look at Noosa. Noosa incorporates beautiful beaches all the way along the North Shore to Teewah, rocky outcrops around the National Park, hidden inlets and creeks running off the river and fresh water treasures like the Everglades.
Beach fishing will be picking up, especially when the swells and wind are not too strong, the gutters are deep and baitfish is moving up and down the surf beaches. The days are still hot (when the sun graces us) but the nights are slowly cooling down and what better time to take a 4WD trip up the beach or take a trek into the National Park for a great days fishing. The following are my six favourite fishing locations for the Noosa area:
1. Noosa North Shore has miles and miles of clean, deep gutters from the Noosa River Mouth all the way up to Double Island Point. If you are on foot, walk from the river mouth up the beach until you find the start of the gutters with long sand banks out at least 100meters (1-kilometre from the river mouth is as far as you need to go).
2. The Frying Pan is a well hidden spot and is often missed out on by boaties as the sand builds up and cuts off access. Once in the Frying Pan, you can expect fantastic fishing. Elbow slapper whiting, disoriented big sea bream and flathead can be caught on the drift in this secluded little hot spot.
3. Woods Bay sits on either side of the Woods Spit. There are actually two small bays that are deep enough for bait fish schools to swim through and queenfish, golden trevally, mangrove jack, school jew as well as all the bread and butter species. Locals recommend soft plastics, Prawn Star lures, live herring and fresh mullet strips to lure the predator species.
4. Tea-tree Bay (Noosa National Park) is one of the furtherest points along the National Park walking track. The walk will only take 15 - 20 mins from the car park and you will see some spectacular views of Noosa Beach along the way. Many little coves, rocky outcrops and drop-offs will tempt you as you head up the path. The ocean floor is clean and sandy which is a prime area for hungry bream, whiting and flathead. You can expect to catch tailor, jew, giant trevally and the odd jew around the rocks at dawn, dusk and night as well. Keep in mind, anything you catch up here, you will have to haul back to the car-park on your back. A 10kilo jew is a great prize but also extremely heavy to carry!
TAKE A KID FISHING:
Young anglers listen up! Noosa is a hub for young anglers with so many jetties, rock walls, canals, shallow banks by bridges and plenty of little shady bays where plenty of hard hitting fish come to eat. Two great spots in Noosa are within walking (or bike riding) distance from Main Beach and the shopping district.
5. Munna Bridge is great for fishing variety - many different species can be caught here both day and night. There are deep holes in the main channel where trevally, chopper tailor and bigger bream hang. Also nice shallow sand banks surround the bridge, this is where you can cast a small fresh prawn, a lively bloodworm or sandworm out onto the banks and watch the whiting and flathead sneak up to take the bait. The bridge also has very barnacle encrusted pylons which butter bream and moses perch are always picking at.
6. Weyba Creek is long and coils around many little mangrove islands. The best spot to start is near Weyba Bridge, which can also get great catches from fishing right off the bridge. It is similar to Munna Bridge but there is more mud than sand, making it an excellent spot for mud crabs, flathead, estuary cod and grunter bream. You can get a lot of snags here because of several rocky areas as well as the mangroves surrounding. I recommend darker coloured soft plastics in browny-orange, khaki, grey and black with red bellies for targeting the species that live in this area.
If you are considering an extended stay in Noosa over Easter then it is worth your while exploring some of the options in hiring a boat if you do not own your own. Noosa has many boat hire companies with boats to suit all needs. T-Boats, O-Boats, Pelican Boat Hire, U-drive and Kingfisher Boat Hire are just a few. All of these companies have detailed websites and can be booked by phone. If an offshore trip is more your thing, Noosa Bluewater Charters put on a great day, so does Laguna Charters who travel as far as Double Island and often out as far as the Barwon Banks - both come highly recommended.
It is also worth knowing where the Boating & Fisheries Patrol Office is in case you need to get the most up-to-date rules and regulations available - they are easy to find at Russell St, Noosaville (near the Munna Point Caravan Park).
Next week we will take a look further down the coastline at Coolum to Maroochydore and continue in a southward direction.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Spanish mackerel and Wahoo from Chardon’s Reef and Halls Reef. Coral trout, Cod and Sweetlip from Sunshine Reef on Wednesday. Whiting, Flathead and Tailor around the mouth on the high tide. Mud crabs scattered around Weyba Creek and in the canals.
Maroochy: Spotty mackerel and tuna around the Blinker with Grass sweetlip to 3kg on the Gneerings. Grunter and Bream to 32cm from the Bli Bli bridge. Flathead and Whiting from the black banks on the incoming tide. Mud crabs at the mouth of Eudlo and Petrie creeks.
Kawana: Whiting to 35cm and decent Flathead around McKenzie’s bridge . Big bream of the rock walls and around La Balsa on prawns. Mud crabs in the canals and above McKenzie’s.
Caloundra: Bream to 800g and a few flathead off the boardwalk. Whiting along golden beach. Smaller trevally around the Blue Hole. Mud crabs from the creeks.
Josh Clissold from Geelong used a mullet fillet bait to attract the attention of this 3kg tailor at the Noosa river mouth (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au)
Tom Lindsay and Brodie MacAfferty boated these two trevally (top weight 1kg) in Noosa Sound and Weyba Creek (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au)
Russell Swanson was fishing with bonito cubes in the cod hole this week and after being blow away by several fish nailed this 2.63kg mangrove jack.
The mud crabs are on the move in the middle and lower reaches of the Maroochy river with several good bucks opposite Chambers Island.