OFFSHORE: Great conditions for the Anzac Day long weekend with light to moderate variable southerlies dominating. To top that off there was l little or no swell on the bar (in the bay or beyond), the murk from the recent rains were just a memory and the pelagics, and the reefies, were still looking for a feed.
Weatherwise, that was about it for the latter half of the week as 15 to 20 knot south easterlies moved in late Monday. Most offshore activity was then limited to the shelter of Laguna Bay until the winds eased on Thursday. The upside was that the pelagics were still working in close so there was no distance to travel.
No one seemed all that fussed about going too far past the middle reef belt over the long weekend with most of the traffic headed either for North Reef or Sunshine. Report and photo (above) from Cougar One skipper Mitch Bertacchini... "We had a busy Anzac long weekend with five and seven hour trips to North and Sunshine Reefs. The fishing was up and down like a yo-yo with no rhyme or rhythm to the afternoon or morning being better but in general it was quite good. We caught school mackerel, grass emperor, tusk fish, kingfish, gold spot cod, Maori cod, longtail tuna, pearl perch, coral trout and snapper."
The closer reefs, as per last week, were the real performers though. From Jason Milne, above... "Made the most of this great weather and hit Sunshine Reef twice this week. Early morning found good size longtails happy to eat almost anything we threw at them but after about an hour they shut down. So we slow trolled dead baits over marks and even though the water was fairly green the Spanish were there and hungry for well presented garfish, slimy and saury baits - both lightly weighted and heavy weighted. Bite was great both sessions with multiple fish hitting the deck but as soon as the tide stopped the bite stopped. We seemed to find Spanish mackerel marks with or near the schools of small mack tuna that were hanging around the Sunshine Reef area. Cheers, Jason."
And from Dave Leonard, above... "Hey Bill. Managed a couple of trips during the week searching for yellowtail kingfish on live yakkas. Didn’t take long to find them in the shallower grounds on the bait schools. I'd forgotten how hard they fight. Also got Spanish mackerel on the floating pilchards. Cheers, Dave."
While Maria Rothenborg, above, came back from Sunshine with this colourful catch... "After many many sessions spent on Sunshine Reef trying to find a trout, I finally managed to find not only one, but two! It was a quiet Sunday session with nothing biting, was hard to find any fish so I decided to pop a whole pilly on my double gang, dropped it down and it didn't take long before I had something on the other end! A couple of minutes beforehand I had dropped something decent so as soon as I hooked up I was determined not to lose this one! I was so lucky getting him up as he got me to the reef and I had forgotten to lock my drag up! It was a fun catch and I now know why people love catching trout! Fish came home with us and made a lovely Sunday dinner."
Plus from Hayden Wallbank, above left... "Picked up this 140cm queenie on a blue metal stick bait on the weekend. Also caught longtail in the mix as well, casting bigger stick baits into a tuna school out from the Sunshine Surf Club." And from Dave McGregor, above right... "I picked up a new shoulder bag and some pillies from Chicko and took them up the beach on Saturday. I christened the bag with a nice tailor on dusk that night and after paying my respects on the water on Sunday morning I pinned a few tru turns into it and converted it into a spanno! The cobes was an added bonus on a pilly also. Cheers, Dave."
And we received this report and photos (above) from Chicko Vella, Tackle World Noosa... "Nice little chill in the morning now and its bringing the fish in close. After witnessing the feeding frenzy in the bay we decided it was time check out the action. It was an early start and return. The bay was thick with bait. After filling the live bait box in record time it wasn't long until we exchanged them for larger species with my Tackle World mate Dave landing the first Spanish of many. The tuna were feeding (Clint was more than happy with his longtail) along with a few cobia. It was a few hours of fun and we were back way before the midday sun. No swell and light offshore winds made sure we didn't spill any coffee!! Good luck, Chicko."
But how about this from Gympie girl Kyra Mitchell! She's pictured above with her first ever Spanish mackerel. She tempted this 10kg fish (a great effort for her debut) with a whole yakka floater at Hall's Reef in Laguna Bay. Kyra was super excited when she stopped in at the shop with her PB offshore catch and we think she'll be even more excited when she learns that she won this week's $100.00 Tackle World Noosa/ChaseBaits Fish of the Week prize for her efforts.
Footnote: Further south, Arkwright Shoal saw the pelagics on fire with quality longtails, Spanish mackerel and the odd wahoo on the menu. The longtails were hot for small bait fish presentation slugs like the Halco Outcast while the Spaniards were taking live yakkas and dead baits floated down a burley trail.
The murk in the river and bay cleared enough for us to launch the drone on Sunday and film the bar and lower estuary. You can view the video above.
COASTAL: Mike Sultana, Northshore Bait and Tackle... "The local beaches have a good range of gutters at the moment with the stretch of beach from Yaroomba to Castaways holding whiting, dart and the odd flathead. The bigger dart were working the rear of the surf gutters towards the top of the tide.
Whiting were also biting at the northern end of Sunshine Beach and, together with flathead, at the river mouth end of Teewah Beach. There have also been some nice bream in the gutters at the moment with the run in tide producing best. Cut baits of mullet, bonito or pilchards have all claimed some nice fish."
ESTUARY: Adam Neilson, Tackle World Noosa... "Although it was pretty quiet in the system this week there was still the odd flathead on the prowl at the river mouth and a few quality whiting on the chew in the Frying Pan. There were also one or two straggler mangrove jacks around the back of the Sound while whiting, bream and good size mud crabs were active in Weyba Creek. Quality bream were also in good numbers along the Noosaville jetty stretch.
Apart from that, whiting were biting across from the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club on the run in tide and mangrove jacks were on the prowl at night around the Noosa Marina. Further upriver, mud crabs were active in Lake Cooroibah (as were whiting... but mostly at the top) and in the stretch between the lakes."
Last but not least, we received this report from Jimmy Free, Noosa River Fishing Safaris... "A little quieter in the river this week on the bigger fish. Still caught plenty of moses perch and small trevally in The Woods Bays while Weyba Creek produced bream and the odd flathead. Tim from Sydney (above) is pictured with a 62cm lizard which he caught in that stretch on Thursday morning's charter. In Lake Cooroibah we caught grunter bream and lots of stingrays."
FRESHWATER: Grant Budd, Northshore Bait and Tackle... "The bite windows appeared to be later in the day this week with the fish feeding best around midday. The surface bite has slowed dramatically around the cooler mornings but once the sun is high overhead it can certainly be worth throwing a range of smaller walker style lures like the Sammy 65 and Berkley Bender which is a subsurface lure sure to get fish just sitting out of range but ready to pounce. Try around any timber for bass as the wood heats up the surrounding water which these fish love. Otherwise small soft plastics in the 2.5"-3.0" range are the go.
Matt Williams (above) is pictured with a 36cm (to the fork) Lake Macdonald bass which he caught and released on a 2.5" ZMan Slim Swimz in Midnight Oil."