OFFSHORE: With quite a few early visitors in town and the word out that the mackerel were on the charge, the boat ramps were full to overflowing on the good weather days. Light variable winds were the norm rather than the exception and the swell certainly wasn't an issue. The only fly in the ointment was the often strong current associated with the big tides. Many bottom bashers, in fact, pulled the pick and either trolled or drifted for the pelagics. The last few days of the week, however, were dogged by fresh to strong south easterlies which limited further offshore excursions to the relative shelter of Laguna Bay.
There wasn't a lot of feedback from the more distant reefs this week with just the odd snapper and mahi mahi reported on the chew at The Hards and at Double Island Point. From Trekka 2 skipper Mitch Bertacchini.. "Hi Bill. We fished D.I. earlier in the week on a nine hour charter. The fishing was very slow due to the current flying to the south and we struggled to find bottom with 16oz of lead. This quality knobby snapper (pictured above left) was the trip standout. And from the middle reef belt we received this report from Cougar One skipper Nat Turner... "Hey Bill. We ran back to back five hour charters on Sunday to North and Sunshine reefs. The fishing was great and so were the conditions. We caught mahi mahi, cobia, Maori cod, tusk fish, snapper, moses perch and frying pan snapper. Pictured (above right) is the standout mahi mahi from the morning and (below left) a nice Maori cod from the afternoon. Cheers, Nat."
After the weekend the Cougar One crew worked the grounds closer in... "Hey Bill. We ran back to back charters to Sunshine Reef on Tuesday. The mackerel and cobia were chewing, keeping us entertained, while on the bottom we picked up a few pearl perch and squire but it was slow going with the strong current. The better quality Spanish mackerel (as above right) were taking live yakkas on the surface while the cobia took pilchard floaters. Cheers, Nat."
The mahi mahi or 'dollies' seemed to be everywhere. From Nathan Mulick... "Caught this (above) on Sunshine Reef on Monday morning on a pilchard floater."
And, of course, the yak anglers were very much in the thick of it. Brisbane yakker Scott 'Shoulders' Davis (above) fished Sunshine Reef in his kayak on Sunday morning and came back with a cobia and this 13.5kg Spanish mackerel. They hit his trolled garfish baits simultaneously so he did well to boat both fish.
Tuesday's grey, overcast conditions only seemed to fire the pelagics up even more. From local angler Dan Lever... "Hi Bill. Caught two good Spanish and a spotty on Tuesday while fishing Sunshine Reef with my sister Cass and her partner Rick (pictured above). All fish went for pilchard floaters."
And ten year old Zayden Burton (above) and family fished Sunshine Reef a couple of times this week. On Monday they got a few spotted mackerel on floaters but on Tuesday, as there wasn't a lot happening for them out there, they decided to pull the pick and troll. Young Zayden opted to go with a whole pilchard rigged on a TT Lures 40gm jighead with a 6/0 hook. Not long after, he found himself in a tussle with this 10kg cobia. As you can see, he won the fight and racked up a new personal best for himself. Not only that, he was awarded this week's Davo's Tackle World/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize for his efforts.
Last but not least, Laguna Bay saw action on and off throughout the week. From Dave McGregor, above left... "Hi Bill. I fished Teewah on Sunday morning with Bones. He bagged out and I got my first two Spanish for the season. This one went 140cm. The bite was hot early. I missed a couple and scored a couple. Trolled gar and slimy floaters did the damage." And Trekka 2 picked up a nice one (above right) at Hall's Reef on the way across the bay on Tuesday.
COASTAL: Nothing startling from the open beaches this week. Dart and whiting were biting at Castaways Beach, Sunshine Beach and the northern end of Alexandria Bay while Hell's Gates and the Fairy Pools on the National Park headland produced tuna and mackerel. Moving on, whiting were biting at First Point on Main Beach and, together with flathead and dart, at the river mouth end of Teewah Beach and around Teewah township on the Noosa North Shore.
ESTUARY: The ever shifting sand flats and channels of the lower estuary remove a certain level of predictability about the Noosa River system. Some things are fairly constant, though, and the presence of flathead in the deep water run-offs is one of them. As usual, the Dog Beach stretch and the Frying Pan produced some good lizards on the run-out plus a few whiting on the sand flats during the run-in. Oh, and the Sand Bags were still good for the odd jack.
Further along from there, the Current Line and outer Woods Bay were also flathead hot spots with the added bonus there of the odd golden trevally, queenfish and, around the moored boats, more mangrove jacks after dark. From Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "Hey mate. Scotty from Noosa (above left) caught and released a 62cm and 69cm flathead on Saturday's charter. They went for small, whole pilchards. And Will Turner (above right) boated a few bream and moses perch and on the last cast of the day hooked up with this 58cm golden trevally. He was using whole prawn baits as his draw card."
The back of Noosa Sound was good for jacks and big-eye trevally after dark while Weyba Creek yielded bream, whiting and the odd parrot fish. Local lad Caiden Brown (above left) was fishing with a handline from the Weyba Walk Bridge on the last of the run-out tide on Sunday morning when this 39cm parrot tried to run off with his frogmouth pilchard bait. There has apparently been a school of these colourful fish feeding in that stretch of water for the last few weeks. And let's not forget the muddies. Zai Burton (above right) got these two at... well, he's not saying exactly where, which is understandable..
River report from Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "Hey mate, Merry Christmas. Conditions were nice this week with those cooler winds. We caught some nice queenfish and flathead in the Woods Bays, still a few of those guitar fish and shovel nose around. Donna from Brisbane (above left) caught a 70cm queenfish on Monday morning's charter. It went for a whole prawn bait. The Gympie/Hilton Terrace stretch fished well for golden trevally before the boat traffic moved them on. Weyba fished well for flathead, moses perch and parrot fish and Lake Cooroibah is fishing well on the ebb tide for flathead." The queenies were also active up around Tewantin. From Braydon Haack, above right... "Boof boof, hit it again, boof oooh I’m on. Big on. Sizzzzzz she’s peeling. Got the 65cm beauty on a surface walker, fishing up river. Along with half a dozen tarpon and straighten hooks of an even bigger queenie."
And the jacks were well spread. From Jason Skinner, above left... "G'day Bill. Went for a troll around The Sound with my brother on Friday morning. Trolled up the stonker jack around 9am. Got it on a deep diving Pink Zerek. My pb at 51cm. Released after a couple of pix. Cheers, Jason." And from Wayne Bisman... "One of two jacks caught and released by Michelle Bisman (above right) in the upper Noosa River on Saturday morning. Went for a fresh mullet slice."
FRESHWATER: The impoundments fired on surface early morning with the Sammy 65 and smaller suspending jerk baits like the Jackall Squirrel proving deadly. Otherwise troll the deeper waters or work the weed edges with weedless rigged soft plastics like the Z-Man Finesse FrogZ on worm hooks. Take care on the water as dam levels are the lowest in a long time. Look for cooler water or thermoclines as fish will often school on the edges of temperature changes.