OFFSHORE: Wow! What a turnaround from last week! It might have been short and sweet but with conditions rapidly improving from Friday onwards, every man and his dog made the most of the great weather before Monday morning's glass out was blown away by the brief return of the blustery south easterlies. We were back in business by Wednesday, however, and while no longer glassy, fish-wise the week turned out to be as good as it gets for this time of year. The outer reefs didn't produce much in the way of standouts but those anglers who did an overnighter at the Barwon Banks came back with quality cobia, pearl perch, snapper and spangled emperor. And Cougar One did a run to Double Island Point... "We ran a nine hour trip to D.I. on Sunday. We had perfect conditions, however we had a very strong current from the north. Regardless, we caught plenty of venus tusk fish, gold spot wrasse, hussar and Maori cod."
On the middle Reef belt, North Reef was a veritable hot spot for venus tusk fish, scarlet sea perch and grass sweetlip (in numbers) plus snapper and moses perch as an added bonus. Every other report we received was from close to home though and the stretch from the Noosa Headland to Point Arkwright was particularly lively. From Jordy Zerk, below left... "Hey Bill!!! Danny, Matt and I targeted Hancock Shoal early Saturday morning. Got a few reefies and jewfish on live baits. Then we moved out wider and found some mackerel that were hungry for some fast moving knife jigs. Cheers, Jordy." Jordy sent us three great pix (that's Matt Major below right) but Danny Bird's Spaniard photo (pictured above) was judged the absolute standout and, accordingly, was awarded this week's $100.00 Davo's Tackle World/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize. We'll have to leave it to the boys to sort out who gets what from that one.
Sunshine Reef, however, was the crowd favourite. Greg Blanchard from Tewantin (below) trolled Sunshine Wide on Friday morning and came up trumps when his shallow diving hard body (pilly pattern) was monstered by this 11kg yellowfin tuna. Said Greg... "No food on the shelves so this will feed the family well!"
Chicko Vella from Davo's Tackle World (below left) fished out that way on Sunday... "I do believe the superb weather conditions have come at a good time and its showing with the swell dropping away and blue water making a silent comeback and so are the pelagics . We queued up at the boat ramp for an early departure and began with high speed lures for instant results, bagging out on Spanish mackerel very quickly. After that we decided to try the new fad off Noosa just deployed recently , but nothing to report there!! Bar and river condition were very favourable to say the least. Cheers, Chicko."
And from Tim Lawless... "Hi Bill. A belated fishing report from Saturday. Crossed the bar at 5:30am and slow trolled bonito around North Sunshine for a few laps - lots of bait and action on the sounder, but nothing on the troll. Ended up anchoring, and pulled up plenty of quality reef fish, with some good sized tuskies (as above right), a few sweetlip and a snapper in the bin. Finished up casting slugs into the bait, bringing home a few mac tuna for the crab pots."
Plus this from Cougar One skipper Nat Turner... "Hey Bill. We fished Sunshine Reef on a five hour charter on Saturday. Beautiful conditions. Barely a trickle of current and the reef fish were chewing. We caught lots of grass sweetlip, venus tusk fish, squire and (as pictured above) coral trout. Cheers, Nat."
The local yak anglers were in the thick of it as well. From Jarrad 'Bonesy' Rodgers, above... "Hey Bill. Couldn't get to the shop cause I left my wallet at home and needed ice lol. Got this Spanish while fishing from my kayak off Sunshine Beach on Saturday. It went 137cm. The back break was pumping and overall the fishing was slow. This fish engulfed a topwater saurie bait and made quite the splash when it hit. Happy with that."
Final report and photo (above) from Cougar One skipper Nat Turner. ... "Hey Bill. We fished Sunshine Reef on Wednesday morning on a five hour trip. There were boils of longtail and mac tuna around the headland so we started off casting small stickbaits at them and had a ball. We kept moving and anchored up where we caught good size venus tusk fish, Spanish mackerel, grass and spangled emperor, snapper and pearl perch. The seas were lumpy but quite fishable with a steady current from the south. Cheers, Nat." Please Note: Noosa Charters are no longer taking bookings for offshore fishing trips until further notice.
Laguna Bay ran hot and cold but when it was good it was the place to be. Paul Wansley from Tewantin (above left) almost bagged out on grass sweetlip and snapper at Jew Shoal on Saturday morning. All on pilchard baits. And Paul Hayes from Wynnum did well during a late morning jet ski session at Hall's Reef on Saturday. Using trolled whole bonitos as his draw card, he landed two Spaniards (12.0kg and 23.5kg) and a 75cm snapper (pictured above right) before heading back in. A quick stop at Davo's Tackle World to get his catch photographed for the FOTW Comp and he was on his way home, a very happy man.
COASTAL: Not a lot of feedback from the ocean beaches. Just the odd flathead and tailor at the bottom end of Teewah Beach near the river mouth, plus dart, whiting, bream and tailor up past Teewah township. Other than that, the pelagics were in close and of good quality off the rocks at Double Island Point.
James and Phil McGregor (above) fished close to the rocks at D.I. on their kayaks on Sunday. No special tactics, just drifted and floated pilchards on ganged hooks, but as you can see, they got an excellent result. James' longtail went 105cm and Phil's Spaniard was 135cm. A good day's fishing in anyone's book.
ESTUARY: Report from Adam Neilson, Davo's Tackle World... Not a lot of feedback from the river system this week as activity decreased as a result of the Coronavirus. Having said that, flathead were in good numbers on the run-out tide down at the river mouth for those who ventured out and whiting were biting on the flats in the Frying Pan. Live yabbies and peeled prawns the best bait there. Mangrove jacks were still in good numbers in the lower half of the estuary. Live baits and strips of mullet working well. From Maxine Stibbe... "Hi Bill and Davo's Noosa. Practicing the last of our freedom, Callum Stibbe Ryan (below left) and his father socially isolated on their boat, out in the Noosa River, and Callum caught his first Mangrove Jack on a fillet of fresh mullet he caught with his casting net. After a long exciting fight, he finally landed it -it was a 45cm Mangrove Jack! His first ever! He was so excited he jumped and screamed in joy almost falling out of the boat. His smile tells the story. “Only a fisherman know the feeling.” He also caught 2 estuary cod- 40cm and a 30cm bream but released them. Yours faithfully, fishing mum Maxine."
A few trevally were on the prowl in Woods Bay in the early hours while the mud crabs were out and about up Weyba Creek. From Samantha Broderick... "Hi Bill. Emma (above right) and her Dad went crabbing Sunday night and ended up with a couple of Muddies. This one measured just over 18cm (Chilli crab tonight). They were caught in the lower Noosa River and couldn't turn down good old mullet frames. Cheers, Sam." Further upriver, good size grunter bream or javelin fish were schooling across from the Noosa Yacht Club on the run out tide while at Tewantin, mangrove jacks were active around the Marina. Apart from that, some nice whiting came from the top of the first lake.
FRESHWATER: Note: Recreation areas at Seqwater-managed lakes and parks will be closed from Thursday 26 March, 2020 until further notice. This includes boating, skiing and fishing. The decision supports decisions by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Seqwater has also cancelled any planned events at its recreation facilities until further notice. Seqwater CEO Neil Brennan said the recreation closures were needed to best protect staff safety and public health. That means Lake Macdonald and Borumba Dam are now out of bounds until further notice.