OFFSHORE: The recreational fishing landscape has gone through some quite radical changes in the last week or so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a start, all local fishing charters have now ceased to operate until further notice. Social distancing requirements being the main issue. Recreational fishing was also looking to be on shaky grounds earlier in the week but the matter has now been resolved with this statement from Maritime Safety Queensland. Anyway, there was a ton of feedback from the closer reefs and even the odd snippet from out wide. Good snapper were on the bite up at Double Island Point while the odd jewfish came from well known marks on the way there. Apart from that The Barwon Banks were joggly but good for tusk fish, snapper and quality pearl perch. Squid and pilchard baits and jigs like the Shimano Coltsniper Wonderfalls in the 80gm-100gm size (according to current) worked well.
But it was otherwise close-in work this week with most anglers getting good results from Laguna Bay to Coolum and points in between. The pelagics were out in numbers and the tuna were leading the pack. From Jason Milne, above... "Got out for some essential exercise on the kayak on Tuesday afternoon at Coolum and found some very hungry longtails - could not have been more self isolated if I tried as had these work ups all to myself for two hours. Hooked and landed five longtails and a couple of mac tuna, both casting White Z-Man soft plastics, and slow trolling." Spaniards and wahoo were also active there.
And above, we have Gavin Robinson with a great photo of a longtail or northern bluefin tuna which he caught just off the shore at Peregian Beach on Monday. It went for a cast 30gm Halco Twisty slug. I see he's on the Perception Swing Angler kayak that I sold his father Vaughan 10 years or so ago.
Sunshine Reef produced a few reefies such as sweetlip, snapper, pearl perch, coral trout and tuna but it was Laguna Bay, where the bait schools were thick, that grabbed the attention of the small boat brigade and most of the yak anglers. Local yak angler Tim Nixon (above) targeted Jew Shoal in his kayak on Tuesday morning and did well, coming back with two longtail tuna. The one in the photo was his standout at 11.5kg. Both fish went for white soft plastics.
And this from Bec Ryan-Mills, above... "Hey guys. We were in the maroon boat seen crossing the bar on Saturday morning's video. Didn't bother with bottom fishing as it was too windy and messy to get out to Sunshine as we usually would. Pulled up two 10kg longtails on cast slugs in the bay about 7.30am. Plenty of longtail tuna and mack tuna feeding on the surface. And two days ago my father-in-law Peter Ryan (inset) fished Sunshine Reef for an esky of mixed reefies and a beautiful coral trout." Bec's mega smile and quality fish pix won her this week's $100.00 Davo's/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize.
The tuna schools were on the move throughout the bay and often within 100 metres of the bar. As mentioned, cast slugs and white Z-Man soft plastics got best results in the boils and trolled hard body lures and whole baits got results around the edges. As an added bonus, the Spaniards were still around as well. Local angler Paul Grenfell (above) fished Hall's Reef on Sunday morning... "I got a double hookup on garfish floaters. Lost one but landed this 15kg Spaniard."
And from Tyson Anderson, above left... "Hey Bill. I went out for an early morning run offshore on Thursday to try and get a Spanish mackerel. After copping a few cheeky waves on the bar I headed east of Jew Shoal. Conditions were pretty average but I got the job done by 7.30am with this fat fish. Cheers mate, Tyson." Plus we received this from Jonathan Leslie... "Hey! We were the third boat to go over the bar in Saturday's video. Young Billy (above right) met Larry longtail for the first time. Big slashing surface strike right at the boat and then hit the afterburners. Not a bad first time fish. His smile says it all."
COASTAL: The pelagics were in close on the coast this week and within casting distance or a short paddle from the rocks at Point Arkwright, the Noosa National Park and the beach and rocks up towards Double Island Point. From local yak angler Dave McGregor, below left... "Hi Bill. Red Greg and I did a quick hit and run up the beach on Tuesday morning. Had my bag by 7.30am. This 135cm Spaniard took a 40cm tailor. Pretty surreal having the beach to ourselves."
Please Note: As at Thursday afternoon, April 2, 2020 the four wheel drive beach recreation areas at Teewah Beach and Rainbow Beach are among the latest locations to be closed by the State Government in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch made the announcement, saying it was “necessary” in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and align decisions with advice from the state’s Chief Health Officer.
ESTUARY: Heaps of mullet and prawns in the lower estuary at the moment with some healthy surface activity around first light. Flathead, chopper tailor and bream were out and about in the deeper channels at the river mouth and Frying Pan while whiting were schooling in the shallows. From David Tierney, above right... "G'day Bill. I went out for a fish on Sunday morning on the last of the out going tide with the old boy and managed to land this 76cm flattie on a live poddy mullet. After a couple of pics she was released back into the river." There were a few mangrove jacks on the prowl after dark (going for mullet strips and live baits) at the river mouth car park rocks, in the outer Woods Bay and the Munna Point area while Weyba Creek was good for whiting, flathead and the odd mud crab. Upriver the muddies were also out and about above the Tewantin car ferry while school jewfish and flathead were active along the ski run and up around the mouth of Lake Cooroibah. Trevally were also reported in this area (but only small) taking a mix of soft vibes and 3 inch prawn profile plastics.
FRESHWATER: Recreation areas at Seqwater-managed lakes and parks are closed until further notice to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This closure includes boating, skiing and fishing. That means Lake Macdonald and Borumba Dam are now out of bounds for recreational activities until further notice.