queenfish noosa river
Grant Pawson landed this queenfish in the Noosa River. Photo: fishingnoosa.com.au

Queenfish an option in Noosa River

It certainly appears that winter is now here with cold mornings and dropping water temperatures. For the offshore crew we are in a period of crossover where the last of our summer species are still present and the winter snapper are showing up. In the rivers, winter whiting are showing up as are other species making the coming weeks ahead a great time to get out there.

Out wide we have had good reports of bigger snapper getting caught in the 80m+ depth range from the banks. These fish taking bigger baits off the bottom like mullet and mac tuna if you have any. There are also AJ’s, cobia and pearlies reported with many staying under the new max size limits of 38cm. Heading north to Double Island the fish have been bigger and more varied. With jewies, tuskies, snapper, cobia, estuary cod and gold banned snapper to name a few. Most of these fish taking strip and chunk baits on simple 2 hook paternoster rigs.

Double Island is an area where the waters get deep quicker and the reef systems can be quite extensive, especially around the headland. For traveling anglers, now is a great time for some land based lure fishing. Smaller surface stickbaits such as the Rapala magnum prey and bigger 40 gram metal lures like the Arma Radico will appeal to GT, queenfish and big tailor.  Look for those offshore days and enjoy 60-80 meter wind assisted casts. Locally North reef has quietened with the full moon but there are a few cobia, smaller snapper, tuskies and pearlies coming up. Sunshine reef is still holding the occasional coral trout, school and spotty mackerel as well as cobia, smaller snapper, sweetlip and king fish taken on livies. Be sure to load up on livies on the inshore reefs before fishing here.

Surf fishing is coming good with smaller chopper tailor reported around the various river mouths along the coast. If after bigger fish, try fishing into the night with big livies, fresh dead bait or well presented pilchards on strip bait rigs. You also have a very real chance of catching a big jew. It is well known that jewies love tailor and nothing beats fresh filets sent back out. Bigger yellowfin bream are also on the catch list and now is the time where the old 40cm female fish are becoming more present. These fish are well in excess of 20 years old and should be released for continued breeding after a quick pic.

The Noosa River has taken a change with the lead up to the full moon showing jewies over the usual undersized 75cm length and solid queenfish over the 70-80cm mark. Both jewfish and queenfish in the Noosa River can be found between the lakes, around the river mouth of Lake Cooroibah and in the lower estuary, especially Woods Bay area. If you can find the bait chances you will also find the fish so watch the surface during low wind mornings. First light high tide is a great time for surface stickbaits for Noosa River tailor and queenfish. Larger presentations like the Nomad riptide can help call up predatory fish from far away. When retrieving be sure to start out quiet and gradually speed things up if no signs of busting fish are present. This prevents spooking fish with aggressive presentations first up. Bigger bream are also becoming more present around the lower estuary. These big female fish start to come down the system during winter and can be caught in the open. Soft plastics work very well for these fish and the gladiator prawn loaded with pro-cure scent help trigger big bites. Fish 6-8lb leaders for these fish especially if close to rocks as they have a lot of power and will run you into the snags quickly. If ou are after trevally then small jigs like the major craft jig para and sea ride blue blue are 2 perfect trevally jigs. Hop these along the bottom for diamonds and goldens as well as flathead. Be certain you strike all bites to get a solid mouth hook up and not let the fish swallow smaller presentations.

The cold snaps has seen the bite harder in the freshwater, but different retrieves can help trigger a bite with smaller lures. Have sounders running and check around the free standing timbers beyond the float line in Borumba. The fish can be found in 2-5 meters and big schools will respond to vibration presentations like the Jackall TN vibes and also Ecogear ZX blades. Its been a windy week so surface may be a little slower and harder especially in wind blown areas. Use bigger lures that have more presence so the noise and vibration stands out amongst the chop. Look at the new 95mm splash prawn and even try casting around areas where birds are gathering. Lake MacDonald can be a tricky one so given the lack of timber have a small hard body lure out the back while you sound around. Any smaller lures from Bassday, Ecogear and Jackall in the 65mm-70mm size will get the job done. Enjoy the week ahead and don’t forget to show us your photos.

Now for all the  latest information log onto www.fishingnoosa.com.au for up to date bar and fishing reports, 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!

For more tips fishing Noosa during the ‘transition time’, click here!

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