fishing autumn noosa
Roy and Linda Helling were happy with their spotted mackerel and yellowfin tuna. Photos:

Fishing fun on the Sunshine Coast continues

fishing autumn noosa
Braithyn Smith with a 53cm mangrove jack.
A good-sized spanish mackerel hooked by Jonny Beck.

WITH what can only be described as a long, hot and very wet summer behind us, I am enjoying the cooler weather.

Now is the fun time of year we see a crossover in fishing. It’s more noticeable offshore where the summer species hang around and cooler water winter species start to show in greater numbers. We still have to plan trips around rain and solid swell windows but the results can make it very worthwhile.

Offshore from Noosa, the local reefs of Jew Shoal and Halls Reef are still go-to favourites for the big spanish mackerel patrolling these areas. Jew Shoal tends to fish better at first and last light because the boat traffic is not as intense. Anglers will often buzz over this shoal on their way out to deeper reef marks and the noise from motors shuts fish down.

If fishing for the pelagics, you would be wise to fish around spring tides. During higher tidal flow, certain current directions will hit the shoal and create pressure edges that big fish love. A quality sounder such as the new Humminbird Solix will be able to map the area and show where any fish are holding. By using the down and side scan, you can drop baits in the correct spot every time.

Halls Reef is often frequented by kayak anglers and these fishos usually come home with the standout fish. Slow trolling big dead baits is the predominant method, so break out whole bonito, slimy mackerel, garfish and sauries. Grab a tinsel head to add some extra flash on your gang or stinger rig and off you go.

For boat anglers, try running a rig 50-60m out the back. This will see it sit lower in the water column and possibly get a bite from any spooked fish you may have driven over. The key to trolling is to go slow and put the boat in and out of gear. This sees the bait rise and fall, effectively swimming it, which helps create interest and eventually a fun

Further out, fishing Sunshine Reef has seen a great mixed bag of reef fish and pelagics so far. If after a pelagic, always use the trusty pilchard floater and be prepared to adjust its descent with a small ball sinker if there is current. This is a great place to pick up coral trout, sweetlip and pearl perch on plastic lures and jigs. A good plastic to cover a few options is the humble jerk shad or flickbait in 4”-6” sizes on 3/8-3/4oz jig heads.

These get down quick and should the tuna or mackerel surface, you can cast at them because they represent a convincing baitfish profile when jerked back at speed. A gang-hooked pilchard fished hard on the bottom also works very well here. Short powerful rods and strong reels are required. Wilson Live Fibre rods coupled with a long and heavy leader will help prevent getting dusted by big fish.

Out wider for fun fishing, North Reef has served up mixed bags of bigger reef fish including estuary and maori cod as well as longtail tuna, spotted and spanish mackerel and good-sized cobia. Many big fish will sit mid-water, so when the currents are light enough be sure to drop a big slimy mackerel floater. Cobia will also take slow-fall jigs such as the Nomad Tackle Buffalo and Shimano Coltsniper Wonderfall in the 100g range.

Be sure to have drags set accordingly because really big cobia will head straight to the bottom in a few seconds. Double Island Point has been popular during lighter swell and wind. Anglers have been reporting good numbers of scarlet sea perch, cobia, gold spot wrasse, sweetlip, tuskfish and even big red emperor.

DI has a reputation for big fish, so be sure to use 30-80lb lines depending on what you are chasing. Sharks can present a problem, and going heavier certainly helps outrun them if your arms and back can take it.

Away from the reefs, surf fishing has been hit and miss with the swell and wind. The best time for bigger fish, namely jewfish, is around the new moon because evening high tides are favoured and occur on this moon phase. Be sure to use fresh worms, mullet, bonito and squid on simple single-hook paternosters or running light gang hook rigs. Keep lines as light as possible to lessen drag from any surf and keep disturbance to a minimum.

During the day, if the wind is southeasterly, the southern side of the Noosa River mouth is a great option. The Noosa Bar has many channels and drop-offs, so break out the light gear and use lightly weighted baits to locate flathead, whiting, dart, bream and grunter, to name a few species. The Noosa River continues to provide anglers with options, especially during adverse fun

The beauty of Noosa’s geographical location means during any given wind direction you can find a sheltered spot. We are seeing a flurry of mangrove jack and the Noosa River holds plenty of these prized sportfish. There are many ways to tackle them, though using quality gear is a must when fishing for jacks, especially when they are cranky and hungry.

Low-cost reels offer only light drags and cheap rods have poor actions. If lure fishing, the new Samaki Archer rods have great backbone, especially the baitcast models. As for reels, any of the 150-200 size baitcaster reels are suitable, so a 200 size Shimano Tranx on heavier tackle would work. This reel is designed for saltwater use and packs a punch.

Heavier, courser braids like Shimano PowerPro and other four-strand braids will provide the best abrasion resistance. The individual fibres are thicker and thus provide greater resistance against snags. Sufix 832 has amazing wear characteristics and is a great option for heavy cover fishing. These braids are also easier to pick out should you get an overrun, where super-fine PE braids dig in and are harder to pick out from a monster bird’s fun

Of the many ways to target a jack, lure fishing is the most popular and the Noosa River has a big prawn population. Grab one of the many prawn soft plastics or pre-rigged prawns and try anything from slow rolling to letting it drift in the current on a weedless hook. Take a look at the Atomic Prong for a soft plastic and if snag bashing is your thing, grab a Gold Bomber because this is one of the most popular lures here.

If you want to try catching one off the top, nothing works better than a Bassday Sugapen surface lure or slow-popped Lucky Craft G-Splash 65 or 80mm in MS black. Moving away from jacks, we have a large population of flathead, which can reach over the magic metre mark. Don’t be afraid to go big with your lure choice for flathead. Big flathead will eat smaller 30-50cm flathead, which should be a hint.

Glide baits are becoming more popular and the Megabass I-Slide 185mm is the perfect size for working the various flats. To launch one of these you will need a swimbait rod capable of casting in excess of 2oz, so check out options from Wilson, Dobyns and Abu Garcia. Braided lines will need to be around 30lb to cope with the weight of the lure but the rewards are definitely there.

Take a look around the Noosa Marina, Lake Doonella and the river mouth drop-offs. Elsewhere, trevally, bream and whiting can be found through the river depending on rainfall. If it has rained, stay in the lower estuary and fish during the last of the run-in and start of the run-out tides to make the most of the cleaner, saltier water. A simple running sinker rig with a mullet or squid strip is a cracking option, as are beach worm and prawn chunks.

Have the correct hooks according to bait type and size to ensure the best presentation. For lure anglers who like to get up early, have a crack with smaller surface poppers and stickbaits to tempt trevally chasing baitfish.

For more fun fishing, if you try around pontoons and jetties during first light you may even get to tangle with a jack. These fish often feed in darkness and will be on the prowl alongside trevally, so be quiet on your approach to get the best results. If surface luring isn’t working, grab a soft vibe such as a Samaki Vibelicious and fish the drop-offs and points until the sun rises. These lures will grab the attention of just about anything that swims, so have a few types and sizes fun

The fresh water has seen big changes, with the vast majority of dams and lakes having had a flush of rain and sitting at 100 percent or close to it. Borumba Dam has been fishing well for a multitude of species such as yellowbelly, bass and saratoga. The surface bite is still strong and, with a break in rain, the mornings and late afternoons are worth a try. Once the sun pops up, smaller 1/4oz spinnerbaits, vibration jigs and jig spinners have been connecting with fish.

Casting these into a weedy point and working them back out with various retrieves will soon have you figuring out what is working on the day. Take a look at the various options from Hot Bite because these have been hooking superb fish of late. Lake Macdonald has seen cabomba weed return with a vengeance due to extended summer fun

After a recent visit to the ramp my trailer looked like it had been underwater for years when I pulled it out. If this happens, be sure to pull all weed from trailers before leaving and use the ramp’s boat wash to help prevent the spread. This weed is highly invasive and quickly chokes inlets and creeks.

Once on the water, head into the Three Ways area to drop vibes and run deep-diving hard-bodies for best results. The fish appear to be sitting deep, so use your sounders to help find them. Once you locate a break in the previously mentioned weed along the edges, you can extract some cracking fish and using suspending jerkbaits will prevail fun

Look at the many colours of Zerek Tango Shad for a cost-effective option. Be sure to have a valid Stocked Impoundment Permit and be safe on the water. For all the latest information and up-to-date bar and fishing reports, log onto

Don’t forget to drop into Davo’s Tackle World, Davo’s Boating and Outdoors in Noosa and Davo’s Northshore Bait & Tackle in Marcoola for all the right equipment, bait and advice to get you catching.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and remember: tight lines and bent spines.

About Grant Budd

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