Typical of mid winter there is not much to report on the gamefish front from South East Queensland.
There has been the odd striped marlin and medium-sized black marlin tagged or seen on the wide offshore grounds by gamefishers and bottom fishing anglers in the deeper locations, like the 42 and 50 fathom reefs off the Gold Coast, Deep Tempest off Moreton Island and the Hards off the Sunshine Coast.
For the purists they would be the places I would be trying, along with the bait schools off the Sunshine Coast for a sailfish or Spot X off the Gold Coast for a black marlin or striped marlin anywhere from 50-100kg.
The Gold Coast did experience a mini bite on when a good school of slimy mackerel came in. But Five Star and Addixion were two of only a couple of boats to get in on that action. As quick as they were there they were gone.
Along the front of Moreton Island a couple of blacks were hooked by bottom bashers but one was hooked and played for quite a while by a jig fisherman. They captured some good video of it in amongst a pack of boats before it wore through the line.
Gav Hancox from the Sunshine Coast gamefish Club has had a couple of bites in recent weeks from his cat Slack Attack but he is yet to get a pin into anything.
Anyone going heavy tackle is going zeros at the moment. Off Moreton Island, Dream Catcher did end up with three large longtail tuna in the teen kilogram range trolling. The amberjack and yellowtail kingfish seem very quiet on the troll at the moment compared to this time last year.
If you still wanted to target gamefish, and not necessarily billfish, cobia would have to be one of the best options this time of year. Anywhere from the border to off Noosa will be worth try and nothing will a live bait if you are seriously chasing them. Cape Moreton and Moreton Bay itself come into contention for a good cobia come September.
Off the Sunshine Coast most bait schools will have a tuna in attendance. I usually get a few mack tuna and get smoked by the odd bigger longtail tuna on soft plastics meant for snapper when fished around bait schools at this time of year.
The tuna are always around in winter, just feeding deeper and not visible on the surface like they are in summer and autumn. The mackerel have hung in late and people are still getting Spanish and spotted mackerel off the Sunshine Coast.
Townsville’s Cape Bowling Green grounds have yet to fish well but reports show there are juvenile black marlin all over the Cairns and Whitsunday inshore grounds. Let’s hope they turn up for Townsville as it is a good sign for our marlin season down here.
Many boats this time of year are heading north to get ready for the Cairns giant black marlin season. This stretches from September through to Christmas. If you have never fished up here you should shout yourself a trip one time as it is essential on the bucket list.
As this edition hits the stands most clubs will have had all their trophy presentation dinners. I know once again things are going to be very successful for my club, the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club, and we stand to win a host of QGFA and GFAA awards. Next month I should be able to report on all the winners if my memory isn’t too blurred by the night’s proceedings!
On the local fishing front I have cracked onto a great reliable parrot spot and I am getting a legal red emperor every second trip.
I finally cracked my first bag out of snapper on soft plastics this season this past week. The inshore snapper have been very late. I did have one hit of seven small fish one morning during June with about 12 throw backs but the quality I got the other day was excellent. Three of the fish were over 70cm and most were 50-60cm. I hope this is a good sign for the next couple of months. I’ve had good September and December soft plastic bites in the past.
Come late November and I will be back into marlin and mackerel trips. Short of good bait turning up in the next couple of months, sailfish and mahi mahi will be legitimate targets from October on.
Cobia, kingfish and amberjack will be my main species the next couple of months on bottom bashing trips too.
Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.sqcs.com.au) to get onto some of this soft plastic snapper action.Reads: 5032