Searching far and wide on distant reefs

Young Tommy Miller with a 44cm Jack.

With Monday a public holiday, the winds were kind enough to drop out and the swell was low enough to let most with a boat get into the action.

The winds picked up from Tuesday and we even had a mini-heatwave and then significant rainfall on Friday and Saturday which is going to see a good change in the rivers and inshore reefs.

Offshore we saw boats travel far and wide with the distant reefs of DI and the banks providing anglers with a mixed bag of amberjack, jewfish, parrot, tuskies, snapper, longtail tuna and a few smaller cobia.

The fish taking baits dropped to the bottom to paternoster rigs as well as high speed jigs on PE3 or heavier gear. North reef has been the pick of the spots with jewfish, cobia, Maori wrasse, snapper, tuskies and big pearlies on the catch menu.

Sunshine reef is one of these spots worth sounding around and trying to find new ground as this area is consistently changing. Fish on the catch list include jewfish, pearlies, small snapper, juvenile reds and good sized sweetlip and tuskies.

Most anglers fishing this area will use traditional paternoster rigs with pilchard and squid baits. This is a great area for soft plastics and smaller jigs in the 40g or more range on 20lb gear.

Off the beaches the light morning winds provided anglers with some great conditions to target the smaller whiting, bream and dart. Having a light surf outfit keeps things fun as these fish are often in plentiful numbers and a great way to experience surf fishing.

As we approach the full moon anglers with bigger rods and reels fished during the evening high tides in the hope of finding a big jewfish. Although known to be a new moon species it is always worth a shot during a full moon.

In the river anglers are chasing flathead which are taking live and dead baits of frogmouth pilchards and hardy heads. These are also a great fish to target if new to using plastics as they are often easy to find and will snap at anything passing close by.

Have a hunt around the drop offs of the dog beach and the sand bags. Whiting are still holding up along Gympie Terrace and around the river mouth and the southern side of the rock wall when the swell is light.

Further up river around the ski run and between the lakes we are seeing jewies in the smaller 60-70cm range. They are favoured by bull sharks so try to get your fish in fast and do not attempt to land one by hand as they often get taken boat side when the fish are tired.

Other fish found up river are mangrove jacks which are becoming increasingly more active. Casting poppers and bigger stickbaits into the snags is a great way to get the surface strike. Weedless rigged soft plastics lets you cast deep into the timber and not get stuck. This is often where these ambush predators lay in wait. Be sure to upgrade the rings and hooks on smaller surface or diving lures as they will straighten out on big fish.

Lastly the freshwater has livened up and the surface bite is on! If you are lucky you could connect to a big toga or bass so always approach with stealth.

Slow retrieve surface lures work well here as do spinnerbaits once the sun is overhead and the fish are hiding deep under trees and overhanging bushes. These can be cast deep into cover and slow wound back out as these are almost weedless.

Be sure to carry a lure retriever with you at all times so you don’t lose your favourite lure!

So on behalf of Jack Mangrove, best of luck on your fishing adventures!

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