It’s been freezing before dawn, chilly in the mornings, mild at midday and frosty in the evenings – winter has well and truly arrived! As have many glorious, heart warming fishing opportunities. True-blue bold bream anglers, gung-hoe grunter fans and luderick-loving lads (and ladies) have all been rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the upcoming winter fishing season. With temps dropping, less rain and crystal clear water, we can expect some superb catches in the coming weeks.
If you’re looking for estuary action from this month onwards, three main species will see you through and they are all considered bream - yellow fin, grunter and black bream/luderick.
Yellowfin bream are one of Queensland's most popular estuarine species as they frequent our waterways year round. They are easily distinguished by their bright silver colour but depending on the colour of the water they live in, colourings can range from silver to a dark grey-green. The yellow coloured fins are also obvious indicators. Current records are 45cm or 4kg in size and these bigger fish are usually found in the surf but visit the rivers to spawn. Bream form schools of several hundred fish, and during spawning season which is right now, they swim with similar sized fish. This is great for anglers who do land a decent size fish as usually there will be more hanging around where it came from.
Luderick require specific techniques and specialised equipment. The best bait to chase luderick is the thread and cabbage algae that can be collected from rocky ledges, out crops and rock pools along the coast on low tide. Look for weed along the coastal rock surfaces such as the Boardwalk at Caloundra, along the rock walls at Mooloolaba bar and by the Sheraton at Noosa. When the luderick are on a hot bite they will often eat live yabbies, fresh peeled prawn and even live worms. There is even the local legend of the chap who caught a very decent sized fish on bok choy or Chinese cabbage!
Anglers choose to target these temperamental and extremely sensitive fish, because they are a challenge to hook and also demand great skills and intricate rod handling to land the ferocious fighters. On light tackle a small luderick fights as hard around structure as a large sea bream or golden trevally would. Once hooked, they pull straight towards cover - generally the rocky walls and caves that they inhabit. Swan Boat Hire team members welcome any catch reports or images of these elusive fish this winter - be sure to email them in to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lures at this time of year can start to be a bit hit and miss due to the change in season and species migration. Just this week, several big lizards have been weighed in and released to live another day. Over half have been caught using lures along drop-offs and sand banks in local estuaries. There are hundreds of lures on the market to choose from, all geared towards different techniques and areas for use.
One stand-out option for the local area is a range of Tropic Angler lures called the ‘Poddy’ hardbody lure. Built for fishing the creeks and impoundments. The ‘shimmy and roll’ action of these lures is just the action that drives mangrove jacks and other estuary species crazy. They feature VMC trebles as standard, high flash holographic tape, sonic rattles, individually hand painted colourings and every lures gets hand tank tested as standard!
These 100% home grown lures are developed and stringently tested by Aussies who have put them through their paces with jacks, Trevally, tailor, queenies, and recently flathead and big sea bream.
If targeting flathead which is best in the next few weeks before it gets really cold during the day as well as night, it is best to troll along shallower sand flats. This allows the lure to hit the bottom and stir up the sand and all the minute crustaceans along the way – this is prime fodder for flathead who are stocking up for a long stint of lying low in the middle of winter. We have heard and tried and tested the Bananafish and Motley Crew colours in both deep (8ft dive) and shallow (2-5ft) varieties.
Gold, silver and pearl colourings work a treat in deeper water and several noteworthy tailor catches have endorsed this fact. Trolling or long casting near the Mooloolaba rock walls, near Kawana pontoons, along the Boardwalk and in the deepest part of the Cod Hole in the Maroochy River are all favourite tailor haunts. Telltale signs also include schools of baitfish flickering past at a rapid pace and birds working the incoming tide.
Roger Mares was thrilled with this 10kg amberjack caught at Caloundra 12 Mile Reef.
Tropic Anglers 5-8ft deep diving Poddy in 'Bananafish' colourings is perfect to shimmy and roll into the mouth of a hungry flathead, trevally or tailor.
Captain Joe uses a variety of lures and fresh prawn in his plan of attack to target bream and trevally like these caught at the Cod Hole.