Reefs bearing fruit

Charlotte Sassella landed this nice flathead.

On Saturday we saw winds and swell drop to see a steady brigade of boats travel far and wide.

The popular reef was definitely North reef and we saw some solid snapper, mixed reefies and cobia coming in. These fish taking a mix of baits on paternoster rigs and the trusty pilchard floater drifted through the water column.

Early in the week a few boats headed out for the first light bite at Sunshine Reef before the winds picked up. The fish of choice was of course snapper, sweetlip and the odd cobia.

With good shows of bait it was a case of dropping paternoster rigs to the bottom and getting stuck into the bite. Pilchard floaters were in need of a little extra weight from the subsiding spring tides but were still a great option for those sitting on anchor. Anglers staying in close and searching for an early season Spanish mackerel reported a few hits and bust offs while trolling whole pilchard and gar baits around Halls reef.

Surf fishing continues with smaller fish and an occasional larger flathead around the river mouths of Noosa and Maroochy. The mouths of the rivers give you the option to move around with the wind if it changes direction and still enjoy staying directly connected to lighter gear. These are the places to let your baits move with the current as they often find the fish schooled up or feeding in the shallows.

The lower part of the Noosa River is definitely the place to find flathead. With the morning run out tides using whole fish and slab baits allowed to drift in the current picked up some great fish. Prawns work well as do long squid strip baits. Be sure to use a baitholder hook to keep squid pinned straight on the shank so it has freedom to move and attract fish. If flicking lures then soft plastics work well and nothing beats a curly tail grub lifted off the bottom to gain the attention of a passing fish.

Mangrove jacks are starting to wake up so target rock walls, jetties and bridges around Noosa or jump in a boat and hit the snags and areas that create an ambush point. All methods work for jacks from prawns to plastics so don’t be afraid to try something different. For bait anglers mullet is great and stays on hooks very well and resists bites from smaller fish. For lures why not try a weedless rigged plastics cast into the snags and burned or slow wound out to trigger a reaction strike. Be sure to give these fish no love when fishing in dense cover as that is where they will run once hooked.

Elsewhere you can expect to find whiting and trevally and if after trevally be sure to have a go during the early mornings around Munna Bridge and Woods bays. Further upstream the ski run and the various drop offs and snags will hold fish seeking cover. You can also find jewfish along here especially as you get to the Jew hole and beyond to the stretch known as between the lakes.

Freshwater is warming up and we have seen some great bass and toga landed. Surface, subsurface and sinking lures are all worth using. After the recent rains casting small surface frogs from the edges of the lilies and work them out slow enough to entice a bite is a great option. Once the sun has risen be sure to switch to hard body lures and work the edges. Bass are also schooling up in the deeper water and smaller jigs are working well by dropping them down and jigging them until you get smashed!

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

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