OFFSHORE: There were certainly no complaints from the offshore brigade this week with the wind and swell dropping off steadily as the week progressed. From Wednesday onwards, in fact, it was 'flat as' on the bar and almost glassed out in the bay. And to top that off, the pelagics came on the bite big time.
Light to moderate variable easterlies dominated, and with only nominal currents, conditions were as good as they get. And while the pelagic action was (at times) manic close to home, the more distant reefs were worth a look for those who preferred a spot of bottom bashing. Report and photos from Cougar One skipper Nat Turner... "Hey mate. Had a great trip up to Double Island Point on a full day charter on Sunday. The conditions were perfect with no wind most of the morning and a steady current to the south. We ended up with lots of quality scarlet sea perch (as above), tusk fish, snapper, pearl perch, moses perch, teraglin jewfish and gold spot cod. We did have some mahi mahi swimming around the boat but they weren't interested in our offerings. Cheers, Nat."
Cougar One also ran a few charters to North Reef. On Saturday they scheduled back to back five hour trips... "We had pleasant conditions with light easterly winds and a slight current to the south. We caught quality Maori cod, gold spot cod, cobia, venus tusk fish, moses perch and squire." While on Tuesday... "We ran a seven hour charter. There were a few pelagics about early with Spanish mackerel hitting trolled hard bodies and mahi mahi (as above) taking pilchard floaters. The rest of the catch was moses perch, pearl perch, grass sweetlip and tusk fish. We had a steady current to the south and light winds."
But most of the pelagic activity was located closer to home, around Sunshine Reef and in Laguna Bay. Report and photo from Trekka 2 skipper Mitch Bertacchini... "Hey Bill. We did a five hour trip to Sunshine Reef on Monday. We had 10 knots of easterly wind with a steady current to the south. We needed 12oz lead to find the bottom. We caught cobia (as pictured above), Spanish mackerel, spotted mackerel, venus tusk fish and grass emperor. Cheers, Mitch."
A lot of anglers were getting spooled or busted off by some big, mystery fish this week. Turns out there were some thumper wahoo in amongst the mackerel schools. From Damian Gartshore... "Hey mate. Went out to Sunshine on Sunday morning. Fairly slow morning until this monster (above) hit one of our trolled garfish baits. Had to get all lines in a give chase before he spooled us. Went 23.5kg and had a stomach full of small mackerel. My father Peter played it out and reeled it in." Peter's impressive and very well fed looking catch won him this week's $100.00 Davo's Tackle World/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize.
The spotties and Spaniards, however, were the focus of most anglers' attention. They were in close and out wide, north and south on Sunshine. From Jamie Downie, above left... "Hey guys. Fished Sunshine Reef on Saturday off my kayak . I trolled three lines, a pilly, a gar and a slimy mackerel in close and the gar went off on a terrific fish. The Spanish measured 151cm." And the tuna (longtails and yellowfin) were in on the act as well. Yak angler Jason Milne fished in close on Sunshine Reef on Tuesday morning and picked up this thumper yellowfin (above right) around 6.00am on a trolled, squid skirted garfish.
Report and photo from Chicko Vella, Davo's Tackle World... "Hi all. What a perfect weather pattern. Light sea breeze accompanied with virtually no swell has made a path for all vessels. Planned an early morning attack offshore Wednesday and it paid dividends. Fishing in close with the Creeley boys (above) is a given this time of year. Spinning for spotty mackerel on light gear with the odd Spanish a welcome surprise. We have fish for the whole camp tonight, so get out there and have some fun. Cheers, Chicko." The mackerel and tuna were also active in the Hall's Reef stretch and, along with wahoo, around Jew Shoal.
COASTAL: The pelagic schools were tantalisingly close in behind the breakers this week but at Peregian and Sunshine beaches the catch was typically quality dart mixed in with the odd flathead. Lion Rock on the southern end of Alexandria Bay was a better option with spotted mackerel and rat yellowtail kingfish on the prowl. Along from there, longtail tuna and small cobia were within casting distance of Hells Gates and, at times, the Fairy Pools. From Chris Lawes, below right... "Hi guys. I bought some slimies from Adam at the store on Monday and decided to go for a birthday morning fish off the Fairy Pools in hopes a mackerel. Sadly no mackerel but I did get this big guitar fish (spotted shovel nose) on my slide bait setup. Released successfully after a couple of pix."
Across the bay, Spanish and spotted mackerel were schooling behind the surf break from Teewah to Double Island Point. The McGregor clan, Emily, Dave and James (above left) launched their kayaks off the beach up past Teewah on Wednesday morning and got into the Spaniards with a vengeance. They gave one fish away but kept these three so they could get a family photo at Davo's on the way home. The fish went for a mix of trolled garfish, tailor and sauri baits.
ESTUARY: There is still a lot of boat holiday traffic on the river so best results were from the early morning and late afternoon sessions. The Dog Beach stretch produced a few good flathead and whiting, as did the Sand Bags with the added bonus of mangrove jacks after dark. Report from Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "Hey Bill. The mouth and Dog Beach fished pretty well for a mixed bag of trevally... mainly tea leaf long nose and goldens while the Woods Bays produced flathead, queenfish and surgeon fish. Paul Norris (below left) caught and released this 85cm flatty there on a whole whitebait."
The Woods Bays were also good for mangrove jacks in good numbers after dark, as was Weyba Creek, with the added bonus there of a few thumper whiting (up around the motorway bridge) and the odd juvenile cobia. From Ryan Jeffery, above right... "G'day crew. Caught this little 55cm cobia out the back in Weyba. Just flicking soft plastics around. About 4.30pm on Thursday. Never caught one in the river that’s for sure!"
And from Layla Innes, above... "Hi Bill. Got this jack using a live mullet. Measured 52cm. What a thrill, so much fun. My biggest jack so far. Happy New Year. Thanks, Layla." The jacks were also on the prowl around the Noosa Marina at Tewantin while school jewfish were active around Makepeace Island.
More from Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "We caught flathead and some small jacks around Tewantin while Cooroibah produced flathead in good numbers and the odd blubberlip. Caidi Fitzgerald from Dubbo (above) caught and released this 52cm specimen on Monday's charter. It went for a whole prawn bait." Apart from that, mangrove jacks, trevally and estuary cod were on the bite in the stretch between the lakes.
FRESHWATER: The impoundments continue to provide anglers with plenty of action on the surface during the current run of light wind days. The early mornings have been the go as of late and with the drop in water levels the lilies have died off. This is exposing more of the bank edges so you can get in close. Take a look at SEQ water for current levels in dams and note that Borumba is four wheel drive access only and is 3.5 meters below normal levels.