Pelagics on fire

Caleb Butler with some Mangrove Jack.

By Jack Mangrove

The weather gods have smiled on South East Queensland and offshore there has been some fantastic fishing. In close the bait balls have been followed by tuna, cobia and mackerel. These fish are on the closer reefs of Sunshine, Jew Shoal, Halls and down the coast in the 15-25m mark. For bait fisherman pilchard and slimy mackerel floaters are key with a bit of weight. Sharks are in high numbers so go hard once you hook up to avoid being taxed.

North reef has been worth a look with Spanish mackerel patrolling the mid water and down deep various reef species including, sea perch, pearl perch, snapper, cobia, various cod species in the mix. Sunshine reef has been holding quality coral trout, sweetlip, pearl perch and snapper. Large slab baits as well as live baits have been successful with 7 inch jerk shad plastics and ¾-1oz jigheads working best for soft plastic anglers. Early mornings Jew shoal has been firing with mackerel and cobia along with smaller reef species. Once on the water be sure to follow the birds as they will show you where the fish are. Casting slugs with a small length of single strand wire just above the eye will help prevent bite offs so learn the haywire twist knot.

The Noosa River has been fishing well with large trevally, bream, whiting and flathead in good numbers. Woods Bay has been a popular early mornings and late afternoon for tailor, gt, cale, trevally and queenfish. Surface walkers and medium sized poppers have been working very well with 10-12lb leader and equivalent braid. For anglers fishing the Frying Pan, Goat Island, Noosa Dog Beach and Gympie Terrace there have been some bigger whiting caught on live yabbies and beach worms. Popular rigs for these fish include the running sinker rig using 6lb leader, size 2-3 ball sinker and #4 hook. Flathead have been caught on drifted pilchards and strip baits worked along drop offs and sand bars. With the warm water, mangrove jacks have been very active with anglers having positive results on both lures and bait. The best results have been seen after dark with jacks up to 60cm taking live baits and bigger lures. These fish are quick and extremely aggressive and require heavier gear if you want to stop one. Rigs consisting of fluorocarbon leader around 40 lb and 30lb braid certainly helps toward landing one of these beautiful looking fish.

Along the beaches anglers have had success on quality whiting as well as dart, bream, whiting and a few flathead being caught from deep gutters along the North Shore and south toward Castaways beach. Baits including beach worms, prawns and pilchards have been the winners. Tailor are still about with fish reaching 55cm at the maximum size especially after dark.

In the fresh. Warm water has fired up the Saratoga in both Lake MacDonald and Lake Borumba with fish up to 80 cm being boated. Low light periods during sunrise and sunset will get the best results. Lures have been the main pick for anglers with walk-the-dog style lures working well. Bigger bass have been caught using blades and heavy weighted soft plastics during the daylight hours.

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

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