OFFSHORE: The offshore scene got off to a slow, shuddering start this week with wet and wild conditions over the weekend and beyond. 'A bit ordinary' would have been the most applicable description and it wouldn't be until Tuesday that conditions improved and the more exposed reefs settled down once again. As per last week, the middle reef belt was about as far as anyone cared to venture. Report and photo from Trekka 2 skipper Mitch Bertacchini... "Hey Bill. We did a seven hour charter to North Reef on Wednesday. Conditions were a bit sloppy once outside the bay, courtesy of the 15 knot southerly, but it calmed down as the day progressed. We caught pearl perch, gold spot cod, venus tusk fish, hussar and (as below left) some rather large Moses perch."
The Noosa Kayak Fishing Challenge was held on Saturday. Contestants fished in close along the Hall's Reef stretch, Jew Shoal and Sunshine Reef in pretty rough conditions and did well under the circumstances. Spanish mackerel, spotted mackerel, grass sweetlip, longtail or northern bluefin tuna and cobia made up the bulk of the catch. The competition winner, pictured above right, was a rather bedraggled looking Tim Kreis with his 157cm Spanish mackerel.
Rob Schoenmaker from Brisbane (above) and his family and friends stay at the Noosa Pacific Resort about this time every year and despite a few wet days, they still had a great time. Rob capped his holiday off on Thursday morning, though, when he pulled in this 158cm Spanish mackerel on his jet ski. He was trolling a Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xtreme 160 hard body lure (just recently purchased from Davo's) across the middle of Sunshine Reef when this fish hit it hard. He was lucky to get it to the side, too, as the fish spat the treble and ended up precariously shoulder hooked which tends to double the pressure on the angler. Anyway, there were plenty of people at the resort foreshore oohing and ahhing at his catch so the fillets will be well distributed, I'm sure.
And just before the weekend we received this report and photo (above) from local angler Johnny Beck... "Caught around 8.00am on Thursday morning off Mount Coolum. Using a stick bait with 15kg trace. Don’t know the exact length but it weighed in at 13kg. Also caught a few mac tuna. Birds everywhere."
COASTAL: It was pretty quiet on this front as the swell and wind have been up for most of the week. There have been reports of some nice whiting getting caught at the northern end of Sunshine Beach, however, and some quality grass sweetlip were on the bite around Dolphin Point on the National Park headland. High tide at the river mouth rock groyne produced dart in numbers and the odd chopper tailor while just north of the river mouth on the Noosa North Shore there were two nice little gutters, close to shore and protected for the swell. Some nice whiting and flathead have been pulled out of this area.
ESTUARY: River report from Adam Neilson, Davo's Tackle World... Well, once again the fish of the moment are Mangrove Jacks. They seem to just keep getting bigger and nastier, crunching all manner of baits. Any structure in the lower half of the river was worth a look. If you can fish a tide change in a low light period you have an excellent chance of hooking one of these beasts. Elsewhere in the river, flathead were in good numbers around the deeper channels near the river mouth. Fish the run out tide for the best chance to nab these guys. Please remember the maximum legal length for these fish is 75cm.
From Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris..."Max from Brisbane (above left) caught and released this 76cm flathead on a livie at the river mouth on Thursday. We also caught moses perch, javelin fish, bream and whiting on the flood tide." And from Nick Bosworth, above right... "Few more mangrove jacks. Had a successful Saturday night. Landed two jacks near the Woods Bay. Approx 50cm each. Caught on fish fillets and livies." And from Grant Brow, below... "Fished hard all day long on Sunday. The river was a bit off and on again but rewarded tide changes and peppering the right places at the right time. This jack took a fresh strip of mullet drifted back into a well known and productive hole. Also managed a few nice GT’s, tailor and flathead on hard bodied divers."
Whiting weren't in big numbers but the size of the fish being caught was outstanding. They've been active on the run in at the Frying Pan and sand flats down at the river mouth. Live yabbies were the best bait. Trevally (GT's and big-eyes) were in the Woods Bays, on the surface and down deep. These are average size fish to about 45cm. There are a few much bigger ones in amongst them, however, with reports of fish to 80cm smashing mullet off the surface.
Around the Sound, jacks were in good numbers. You'll also get trevally and tailor at night on the surface. From Jimmy Christensen, above left... "Got this 51cm red dog near the Sound Bridge on a Lucky Craft Pointer hard body." Further upriver whiting were still being caught across from the Yachty on the run-out tide. Live yabbies were still the bait of choice. You'll also find some nice size flatties in this area and further up at Tewantin. From Hudson Smith, above right... "My PB flatty taken just near the Doonella Bridge at Tewantin on the push in tide. Caught on a weedless rigged Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ, Nuked Chicken colour with a 1/8oz jig head. This fish was taken on my first cast. I threw my lure up current, sunk to the bottom and the fish took it on the first small hop off the bottom. I didn't have my tape to get a measurement but I am guessing 80s-90s. 6lb Fluro leader on 6lb braid. Popped the leader just as I brought her onto the shore. Quick photo and then released for another day. Still shaking from this fish!! Fish of a lifetime for myself. " Hudson's quality catch and release big mumma lizard won him this week's $100.00 Davo's Tackle World/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize.
Apart from that, big bream were still active at night around the Marina and boat ramp. Gut baits and small live baits worked best there. Larger live baits are also attracting jacks and large cod. Those big garfish are still hanging over the weed banks at the council chambers on the high tide. We have garfish rigs set up and ready to go at the shop. Makepeace Island was the spot for a few soapy jewfish. They're holding down deep and like to bite around the tide change. On the first of the run-in fish the flats around this area for some nice trevally. The deeper holes before the first lake are holding a few soapies, jacks and grunter bream but the size of these fish is reasonably small. In between the lakes has been a little quiet but as the runoff slows it should fire up again.
FRESHWATER: Away from the river, the freshwater temperatures are still yet to fully stabilise. This means you will have to work to find the schooled up fish so keep sounders on. Check inside shallow bays during the daytime where the sun will heat up the water. In both Borumba and Lake MacDonald there are many areas that were previously high and dry and have not been covered with weed. These spots will be great to explore with soft plastics and hardbodies as fish will be up on these areas looking for food. Remember to try high vibration lures so grab spinnerbaits, spoons and blades to complete your kit.