NEW YEAR FISHING
Gorgeous but stinking hot days have had the rivers and beaches packed with cool, wet and stormy changes clearing the river just as quickly as everyone ducked for cover. The shopping centre however was groaning at full capacity while everyone shopped up a storm at the Post Christmas Sales. And storm it has – these squally summer storms hitting us morning and afternoon are a downside for some holiday makers, especially those camping! But to the folk at Woodford...ahem Mud-ford, this is an excellent opportunity to get out the brightly coloured gumboots and dance in the rain! Many anglers have been delighted as this erratic weather marks the start of the highly popular Mangrove Jack season.
Mangrove jack (lutjanus argentimaculatus) are one of the most sought after summer estuary species in SE QLD due to their extremely tough fighting ability and sweet, succulent flesh. Every Christmas, locals and visitors alike wait for the late afternoon storms and king tides to indicate when the live bait rigs and heavy gear needs to come out of storage.
Their favourite habitats include rocky structures, bridge pylons, around fallen trees, under pontoons, deep holes and, as adults, inshore reefs. Mangrove jack are drawn to these habitats as they provide great shelters. They also head here for cover when they become hooked, and this is when angler’s lines tend to snap as they rub against the usually abrasive surfaces.
Good jack habitats in the local area include:
· Noosa: Sheraton Bridge and between the lakes.
· Maroochy: Cod Hole, Eudlo and Petrie Creeks and upper Bli Bli.
· Mooloolah: Parrearra Channel, McKenzie’s bridge area and upper reaches.
· Caloundra: Pelican Waters Canals and Coochin Creek.
Jacks will take most forms of lure and bait offered close to their habitat. They don’t always hit the offering because they want to eat it. Jacks are very territorial and may hit your lure or bait as a warning for it to move away from their home. Find out what the predator fish in your area feed on and either match it or try to replicate it. For instance, in Petrie Creek, Jacks will feed on green prawns or small mullet. So if I can’t catch any in the cast net I will use a Prawn Star, sand perch coloured Berkley Power Bait or a mullet pattern in a deep diving lure.
This past week a lot of big schools of herring have ventured into most of the coast’s rivers, so keep your eyes peeled for birds circling and the water bubbling as though it was on the boil. Usually where there’s bait, it is certain to be a hungry fish in tow. There are huge schools of prawns and herring to 50mm moving along the beaches and into the rivers, poddy mullet to big solid bull mullet are also in good numbers along the surf beaches and on the high tide in the rover mouths. Noosa Rivers and beaches have also had the bonus of plenty of small 20-50mm juvenile frog mouth pilchards and baby sardine-like bait. If you can get free bait – make the most of it! Because of plentiful supplies of bait, the pelagic species, particularly school and spotty mackerel along with tuna have been feeding well on most local inshore reefs.
Remember before venturing offshore over the holidays, it is essential that you check that your boat is equipped with all required safety equipment and the weather forecast is favourable for safe bar crossings and fishing. The dedicated volunteers in the local Coast Guard will be on standby in case of any problems. However - it is always best to take proactive and well prepared approach before you go out and the chances of needing help will be much less.
The essential phone numbers for your local Coast Guard’sare:
Mooloolaba Ph. 54443222
Noosa Ph. 54743695
Caloundra Ph. 54913533
The emergency 27 MHZ call sign is 88. The emergency UHF call signs are 16 and 67.
For any other marine incidences call the Sunshine Coast Water Police on 54446014
Take a kid fishing:
Kids are out in force this week, sporting new rods, reels, tackle boxes and sun safe gear. Fluoro must be in this season and that is great to see as nothing is safer for visibility than fluorescent yellow of pink! When there are so many boats and people on the water this Christmas, it is extremely important that you stay in sight of Mum, Dad and Grand-parents. Be very careful to stay clear of boat ramps and boating channels – although they sometimes look like a safe spot to swim or fish, accidents can still happen in these busy areas. The king tides are great for fishing, bringing the baitfish and plenty of healthy size whiting, bream, flathead and even the off trevally out to feed. Best to fish about an hour either side of high tide or just as the sun starts setting.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Some good whiting in the frying pan. Mangrove jack in Weyba Creek, Noosa Sound and in between the lakes. Trevally and a few good whiting around Munna bridge and from Woods bay. Bream and flathead around the jetties and moorings and in Harbour town.
Maroochydore: Some good whiting were around the river mouth early morning. Still trevally feeding around the motorway bridge pylons. Flathead throughout the river system. Try for mangrove jack, the odd grunter bream and mud crabs around the Bli Bli islands, up the creeks and upper reaches of the river.
Mooloolaba: There’s been a few mangrove jackaqround the 1 to 1.5kilo mark taken around McKenzies bridge, in Parrearra channel and up Mountain Creek. Whiting caught around in the sand basin and in the lower river. Trevally and a few bream in Kawana canals and along La Balsa.
Caloundra: Try for trevally,tailor and jew off the rocks at Moffat’s just inside the bar over night and on live bait for best results. Whiting opposite Bells, Coochin Creeks and the sand banks in the top end of the passage. Dusky flathead on plastics between the bar and blue hole.
Troy Duncan with a great 1kilo dusky flathead taken in the Cod Hole