OFFSHORE: The long weekend lead-up to Australia Day was a triumph weatherwise with light to moderate easterly winds the norm rather than the exception most mornings. This allowed those in the smaller boats to get in ahead of the more blustery, moderate to fresh afternoon north easterlies. There wasn't a big swell on the boat channel but there were some curly sets coming through either side, giving the odd errant boaty an unexpected early morning wake up call.
Not the sort of conditions that suited the long haul to the outer reefs but good enough for trips as far as the middle reef belt where Spanish mackerel, spotted mackerel and tuna were on the prowl at North and Chardon's reefs. Report and photos (above) from Trekka 2 skipper Nat Turner... "Hey Bill. We ran a nine hour trip on Sunday and opted to fish the locals as it was a tad bumpy. First up on Chardon's Reef we had a school of spotty mackerel and longtail tuna taking metal slugs in the burley trail. Off the bottom we caught cobia, Maori cod, pearl perch, moses perch and tusk fish. Later we came in to Sunshine Reef where the sweetlip were chewing hard, however getting them past the sharks wasn’t easy. Overall we ended up with a great box of fish. Cheers, Nat."
But once again, Sunshine Reef seemed to be the most productive destination with pelagics and reefies in respectable numbers. Report and photos (above) from Cougar One skipper Mitch Bertacchini... "Hey Bill. We ran five and seven hour trips to Sunshine Reef on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had little wind and a light current to the north, although the Sunday trip was a bit bumpy early on, courtesy of an overnight easterly blow. We caught spangled emperor (as pictured above), spottie mackerel, coral trout, cobia, coral bream, venus tusk fish, moses perch, grass emperor, pearl perch and gold spot estuary cod."
And for the yak anglers it was well worth the effort. Ben Bischoff and Tyler Chubb (above) paddled their fishing kayaks out to 'Noosa Reef' (I assume they meant Sunshine Reef) around first light on Sunday morning, trolling whole Davo's garfish baits behind them. They covered some distance but were rewarded with almost simultaneous hookups around 7.00am and were back onshore by 8.30am with a 10kg longtail and 20kg Spaniard. Not a bad morning's work.
And we received this from Russell Millar, above... "Got this with my mate pig dog on Sunshine on Tuesday morning. First cast on stick bait, big aerial strike, did a few jumps in the fight and had sharks all over him, The other side got a few good chunks out of it. Happy Aussie Day. Russell."
And from local angler Dave Leonard, above... "Hey Bill. Tried my luck again on Australia Day out on Sunshine Reef and managed a hectic solo double hookup on the Spanish trolling hard bodies. Then switched to live baits and caught coral trout and a sweetlip." Mack and yellowfin tuna were also on the bite there.
To the south; Coolum Reef was also worth a look with pearl perch, trout and sweetlip off the bottom and plenty of mackerel and tuna activity reported from the surface bite. Looking for that bird activity has been key down that way, but a lot of anglers have been having luck working the pressure edges fishing larger trolled hard body lures. Slow trolled dead baits on TT Bait Rigs (or on Citer chin guards to keep them from twisting) have also been very successful.
The bait schools were on the move (and sometimes in close) in Laguna Bay, closely followed by spotted and Spanish mackerel, mack tuna and longtail tuna.
COASTAL: Mike Sultana, Davo's Northshore Bait and Tackle Marcoola... "The rocks at Yaroomba have given up some nice jewfish at night. Mostly undersized but there were a few legals amongst them. Whiting and dart numbers were good with plenty of fish in the close in gutters responding well to live beach worms. The dart were also feeding on flesh baits and pippies. Marcus Beach, Castaways Beach (where flathead were also on the prowl) and the northern end of Sunshine Beach all produced good fish. On the National Park headland, mack tuna and the odd spotted mackerel were active within slug casting distance of Hells Gates while across the bay, whiting were biting around Teewah village and, together with dart, up towards Double Island Point.
ESTUARY: Adam Neilson, Davo's Tackle World Noosa... "Not a bad week in the lower estuary with mangrove jacks on the prowl at the river mouth on the run-out tide. There were also a few trevally out and about down there while the Frying Pan was a good option for the odd whiting on worms and poppers.
Along from there, trevally were on the bite in the Current Line and in the Woods Bays. From James Pursell, above... "Hi guys. I caught this awesome golden trevally on Saturday morning in the Woods Bays. It went after a whole prawn with a running sinker. We never measured it as we wanted to get it back into the water, but looking back at it we think it was around 55cm long. The fish was released safely. Best fish ever!!!" And this from Darren Bartel... "Hi. My son Hunter (below right) wanted me to send this to you guys. He caught this surgeon fish on a prawn bait in the Woods on Friday. Safely released after a quick photo."
River report from Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "Hey mate. We caught plenty of grunter bream or javelin fish around the river mouth this week. There were thick schools of them hanging around for a few days. Up from there, the Woods Bays produced bream, pennant fish and flathead. Brett Mill is pictured (above left) with a 71cm lizard which he caught and released in that area earlier in the week. We also fished Weyba Creek for some nice whiting and the odd flathead and a couple of times further upriver around Tewantin where we caught bream and a few golden trevally."
Mangrove jacks were still worth targeting after dark around the back of Noosa Sound and Weyba Creek where whiting and flathead were a good daytime option. The Noosaville stretch also produced trevally and the odd quality tailor. From Damien Bird... "My wife Caroline (above) with a 56cm tailor. Caught Monday trolling a gold shallow diving lure. Up here on holidays we had hoped to go outside chasing some mackerel, however, due to the rain and a sketchy bar, we tried our luck on the inside. This is the one that was landed after both reels started screaming and the other dropped at the boat. Happy Aussie day weekend, Damien." Caroline's quality capture and toothy smile won her this week's $100.00 Davo's Tackle World/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize.
Apart from that, mud crabs were on the move throughout the system and there were a few jacks and trevally schooling around the Noosa Marina, near the mouth of Lake Cooroibah and in the stretch between the lakes. From Dallas Chambers, above left... "Caught this jack on a live unweighted silver biddy at 6:00pm on the Noosa River. Stoked as it is my pb jack. Caught a nice GT as well." And from Ben Osborne, above right... "Hey guys. Picked up my first Jack on Sunday. It measured 48cm. Caught on squid at the mouth of Lake Cooroibah around midday."
FRESHWATER: Grant Budd, Davo's Northshore Bait and Tackle Marcoola... "In the impoundments, the water is clearing up after all the run off spilling into Lake Macdonald and Borumba over the past few weeks. The fish are still deeper so the Ecogear ZX40 is one of the best small blades to distance cast with and fish the lower levels. On a slow roll the stinger hooks will hook up on fish that aren’t fully committing or missing standard hooks. For areas where weed is a problem then the smaller TT Vortex spinnerbaits are key at finding deep schooling fish like golden perch or yellowbelly."