I wasn’t ready to give up on the South East Queensland light tackle season until after May, but unfortunately with no May bite it has officially been a very quiet end. The only highlight was the Little Ships Ground bite off the Sunshine Coast.
Our next hope on the light tackle front will be an August/September bite on big blacks and stripers at the 18 or 21 miles off the Sunshine Coast; a sailfish bite at any time, most likely in August, September or October at the 8 or 18 miles and Chardons Reef; or stripers and blacks off the Gold Coast at NE50s, or Deep Tempest off Cape Moreton.
Bait could turn up at any time and with it is the chance of micro blacks and sailfish.
The good news is the bite in North Queensland means we could be in for a cracker of a season in the south. If things go to plan and this crop of juvenile black marlin head south, then start fishing 1770 in August or September and the top of Fraser Island in October or November. They should hit our local Sunshine Coast grounds in November, if past seasons are anything to go by, and then the Gold Coast will get them the week before Christmas.
If you can get to Townsville or similar spots then it will be well worth the effort in August, especially for the Townsville Tournament that is very well run with lots of prize money.
For those that can’t travel north, through winter I would be gearing up for the onslaught – making rigs, stripping and re-spooling reels with fresh line and getting ready for the Hervey Bay and Mooloolaba Tournaments, which are perfectly timed for this run of fish.
If the bait turn up on the local Sunshine Coast grounds don’t discount the upcoming Spring Shootout Tournament – three years ago there were 80 sailfish tagged in the Spring Shootout Tournament and the club tagged 100 for the whole of October, and that’s just on the light tackle. If the bait don’t turn up then break out the heavy tackle.
The pioneers of the blue marlin grounds in the 1980s mostly fished it in winter. SCGFC President Brent Higgins summed it up perfectly recently calling it ‘ugg boot’ fishing. All season, heavy tackle was reasonably consistent with most boats seeing fish.
There was no big bite but the peak seemed to line up with SCGFC February tournament where Kamikaze saw a stack of fish. November was pretty consistent too for the boats fishing the dogleg straight out the front of the banks.
The last couple of months have seen a bit of action with Mistress fishing off Point Lookout going 7-4-3 the one day, seeing about a dozen for the day and at one stage had a triple bite of blues. Big Business out of Redcliffe got three for the day around the same time. Mistress backed it up with a couple of striped marlin and a spearfish in subsequent weeks. As Darryl Summers used to say, “you’ll never, never know, if you never, never go!” That pretty much sums up heavy tackle. You’ve just got to get out there and give it a try.
Good luck to any boats travelling away to do tournaments over the next few months or anyone going north to do the Cairns season. I know there are a few boats talking about doing Port Stephens again next year and many South East Queensland boats do Cairns. It would be well worthwhile this year to take in a North Queensland light tackle tournament as well the other comps, such as Townsville, Innisfail, Hinchinbrook, etc.
Some boats will be looking at doing Fraser trips and Double Island Point trips taking in a bit of marlin fishing with reef fishing. Certainly going back a few years there was a red hot bite of micro blacks on Breaksea Spit in August that got caught in an eddy and stayed there for a few months and a couple of SCGFC club boats got into them. Certainly a lot of Cairns boats going north have great heavy tackle fishing at times straight-lining past Fraser.
I say it every winter but get out on the 80-150m line or the Barwon Banks/Hards, Deep Tempest, Gold Coast NE50s, Gold Coast Spot X and target the return run of bigger blacks and a few stripes. Recently Galaxy II, a Mooloolaba boat fishing out of Bribie, went 3-2-1 on solid blacks using good bait east of Moreton. Quite a few snapper fishers this time of year hook blacks while floating a pilly.
The Banks should be good with the amount of berley getting around and the general life in the area with fusiliers, bananafish, surgeonfish and other small species adding to the food chain. The deep wrecks also have a high up show at times and billfish are seen on them quite regularly. Any bit of bait will be gold this time of year and don’t forget any fish smaller than them is prey for a marlin. They are very opportunistic feeders and plenty are hooked bringing in a variety of species.
Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, (www.smithysfishing.com.au) to get into the winter snapper run. So far I have had a couple of bagged out sessions on 3kg average fish and this should continue into September.Reads: 2134