Fishing Trip FAQ’s
What to bring?
On longer trips your main meals. Bottled water supplied. Beer etc. is on a bring your own basis. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and a camera to record your memorable catch. It would be worth having an ice box or similar in your car to transport your catch home once we get back in.
Is there a toilet?
Yes there is a built in macerating electric toilet in the nose of the offshore boat. In the small boat we would never be more than a few minutes away from a public toilet.
Do you provide fishing gear?
Yes we provide all the fishing gear required or bring some of your own.
Do you provide bait?
Yes we provide only top quality bait we either purchase or catch ourselves.
Do I need any experience?
No experience is required. Turn up prepared to learn and we will have you fishing in no time.
How many people can we take?
The offshore boat is in survey for 8 people including the skipper but we realise that would be too crowded. We prefer a maximum of 4-5 anglers along with the skipper. The inshore boat is in survey for 4 people including the skipper so 3 customers only.
Where can we go in the small boat?
Typically that is the Noosa River, Maroochy River, Twin Waters canals, Mooloolah River, Bribie Passage including Bells Creek, Coochin Creek, Elimbah Creek, Glasshouse Mountains Creek, etc., from Caloundra, Golden Beach, Bribie Island or Donnybrook, Caboolture River, Burpengary Creek, Brisbane River and Borumba Dam, Somerset Dam, Bjelke-Petersen Dam and Boondooma Dams. Trips further afield can be arranged to Monduran Dam at Gin Gin, Awoonga Dam & the Boyne and Calliope Rivers for instance at Gladstone.
What to Bring:
- Food & drink – only bottled water is provided.
- Food can be organised for an additional cost.
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, camera, towel, etc.
- Big icebox in boot of your car to take home your catch.
- Wet weather clothing if rain predicted, warm clothing in cooler months.
- We provide all the equipment required, however if you have a favourite rod or lures you are welcome to bring them along.
- If you are partial to motion sickness or have concerns please consult a GP or chemist prior to the charter as we are not permitted to administer drugs.
- The offshore boat has a macerating electric toilet in a lock up cabin for use when more than 2Nm offshore so females have somewhere to go. The small estuary/freshwater boat will usually be within a few minutes of a public toilet.
- For the offshore boat, assemble at the folding gate on the board walk side of the Kawana Waters Hotel or at the top of gate to pontoon. Park in the hotel carpark. It can be found at the corner of Nicklin Way and Pt Cartwright Drive, immediately after 21 Nicklin Way when heading south. If you miss the pub turn off you can also come in at the Red Rooster access or around the back of Red Rooster and Dan Murphy’s off Pt Cartwright Drive. If you are travelling from the south, Jessica Blvd allows U turns at the lights or turn into Pt Cartwright Drive.
- With the Estuary / Freshwater boat we can opt for whatever you want, salt or fresh and anywhere from Noosa to Pumicestone Passage and local impoundments. My car travel time is in the times above. I can pick you up from motel rooms or meet you at boat ramps.
Payment & Contact Details:
- I bank NAB in the name of Robert L Smith, Acct. No. 41 563 5788, BSB No. 084 763.
- Cheques and money orders can be sent to PO Box 1720, Buddina 4575.
- Those with credit cards can provide their full name as it appears on the card, credit card number, expiry date and the last three digits on the back of the card and I can charge the deposit or full amount that way. I can provide full tax invoices if required for work trips etc.
Species Chart (Offshore)
Typical Species Encountered
Snapper, Pearl Perch, Parrot/Venus Tusk Fish, Grass Emperor/Sweetlip, Red Throat
Emperor/Sweetlip, Spangled Emperor/Yellow Sweetlip, Black Spot Pigfish/Wrasse, Morwong,
Gold Spot Estuary Cod, Brown Maori Cod, Hussar, Red Emperor, Rosy Jobfish/King Snapper,
Gold Band Jobfish, Green Jobfish, Jewfish/Mulloway, Teraglin/Trag Jew.
Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Shortbill Spearfish, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi/Dolphinfish
/Dorado, Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel, Spotty Mackerel, School Mackerel, Amberjack,
Almaco Jack/High Fin Amberjack, Samsonfish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Yellowfin Tuna,
Longtail Tuna, Mack Tuna, Skipjack/Striped Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna.
Bream, Flathead, Whiting, Trevally, Mangrove Jack, Jewfish/Mulloway, Threadfin Salmon,
Golden Perch, Silver Perch, Spangled Perch, Australian Bass, Eeltail Catfish/Jewfish, Saratoga,
Possession limit of 4 per person of which only one may exceed 70cm. Minimum size of 35cm.
The most common way to target snapper locally is on floatlines. This involves floating unweighted or lightly weighted baits down depending on the current and drift which snapper find irresistible. This can be done at anchor or on the drift. At anchor it is best to berley/chunk or chum to bring the fish to you. Snapper are also caught on bottom bashers/paternoster rigs and live bait. Bait wise on paternosters snapper are not fussy and will hit anything. I mostly use left over live bait like yakkas (yellowtail scad) and slimey mackerel either butterflied, filleted or cut in half. Squid and pillies are fine as is cut bait but one of the best baits around is fillets of mack tuna or skipjack tuna or similar. I prefer my sinker straight on top of gangs or snells/snoods to minimise tangles on the drop on my floater. I will often have a swivel above the sinker to minimise line twist. Snapper are more inclined to take a live bait compared to sweetlip. Soft plastics are the other main way I target snapper. Mostly on the drift with the sea anchor/drogue out. On the drift you cast downwind and as the jighead sinks you drift onto the bait and anywhere from 5-10 seconds into the cast to straight up and down is the main place you will get a strike. Use the lightest jighead you can get away with such that with a big cast it takes you until you are straight up and down over the jighead before you hit the bottom. At anchor you can get away with a much lighter jighead than on the drift except when the surface current is racing. Think of your soft plastic as an artificial bait rather than a lure. The other way to target snapper is using small metal jigs and octopus style jigs. I find soft plastics more effective though and with a better hookup rate or a hookup to fish in the esky rate. Snapper are a perfect species for iki jimi or brain spiking. When you hit the right spot the fish will flinch a few times and all the blue spots will come out. I then lift a gill plate and cut a gill raker or two with my stainless steel scissors.
Possession limit of 5 per person. Minimum size of 35cm.
Pearlies are mostly targeted in deeper water with paternoster rigs. Big pearlies don’t mind hitting live bait either when I am targeting amberjack and kingfish. The other way to target big pearlies is with soft plastics as per the snapper techniques above. On bait on a paternoster rig to avoid small pearlies I will drop to the bottom then slow wind up sitting out all the small nibbles and waiting for the weight to come on then not striking but winding a little bit faster for the hookup. Bigger pearlies are higher up. On the wind up it is better to winch a pearly up rather than pumping and winding. Too many times I see customers lose pearlies half way up from pumping and winding as they have a soft mouth when hooked in certain spots and it wears a bigger whole in their mouth and the hooks fall out when they drop the rod down. You will find that the first few pearlies will often be your best ones as they seem more aggressive and after you have extracted all the good ones off a spot you will only pull small ones so it is best to move on.
Seriolas (Amberjack/Kingfish/Samsonfish) & Cobia
Possession limit of 2 per person per species but Amberjack and Samson combined. Minimum size of 50cm for Amberjack, 60cm for Kingfish & 75cm for Cobia.
All of these fish cannot resist a live bait. They will hit dead bait as well but livies are definitely the go. These are the main species we target with metal jigs as well. Soft plastics work well and are easier to work for long periods of time compared to the physical metal jigging styles.
There are three main ways to target billfish, livebaiting, trolling dead bait and trolling lures. Livebaiting with live slimey mackerel is the most effective technique. Live yakkas are next best if that is all that is available. I like one unweighted bait and one weighted bait as a minimum. Leader wise I use 80-150lb for the inshore fish. On charter I fish 15kg breaking strain line but I do have a set of competition 8kg outfits for smaller runs of fish or light gear enthusiasts. Deadbaiting we mostly troll garfish. Usually skipping garfish off the outriggers and swimming gar off the downrigger and flatlines. Gar will give you a better conversion rate than lures which they seem to flick off a lot easier when jumping. On lures I usually run one swim bait off the downrigger, a minnow on the flatline and pushers off the outriggers to cover all bases. Marlin don’t mind hitting minnows so I rerig with single hooks for a better conversion rate. Doing this we get a lot of bycatch in the form of wahoo, mahi mahi and tuna.
Possession limit of 3 per person for Spanish mackerel. Minimum size of 75cm. Possession limit of 5 per person for Spotty mackerel. Minimum size of 60cm. Possession limit of 10 per person for School mackerel. Minimum size of 50cm.
Mackerel are another species that can’t resist a live bait. Early in the season I may troll dead pillies or minnows for them but late in the season as they become more educated and have seen a lot of minnows trolling past so then I am pretty much 100% live bait for them. Spotties at times are better on pillies for a better hookup rate as they maul the livies but don’t get hooked. Downrigging is very important with mackerel as sometime it accounts for 50% of my bites even running two surface lines. I troll wire rigs with a tow hook through the nose and a stinger treble in the back of the bait. Wahoo and tuna are the main bycatch trolling minnows and at times I will be targeting those species with minnows and pushers.
A whole industry has sprung up around bream and bream fishing on lures. The main technique is small jigheads with soft plastics and throwing around likely looking structure like pontoons/bridges etc. Following on from this are the prawn imitation lures, metal blades and small minnows. Bream are also great targets for surface poppers. Working around likely structure with the electric motor throwing poppers is a great way to go.
Whiting are a great target with small poppers. The popper imitate small prawns skipping across the surface and really get the whiting fired up. Whiting also love soldier crabs fished in Bribie Passage and the lower Maroochy rivers.
Flathead are actually aggressive predators. They lay buried in the sand waiting for prey to pass overhead then they shoot out and try and run it down. Over short distances they are lighting fast. Trolling is one way to target them, small shallow diving minnows up on top of the sand flats and weed beds and deep divers in the main channels. Throwing soft plastics has been the hot technique the last few years. They also respond well to live baits and incidentally they are also caught on dead bait, mostly on the drift.
Jacks are the star fish of the estuary scene. They are mostly caught on live bait, usually small fish but plenty of guys I know favour dead bait. They are also great lure targets. Trolling for them with deep divers was the go to technique once upon a time but now casting all manner of things is the stand out. Mostly soft plastics and prawn imitations but also medium size minnows. Mangrove Jack are mostly associated with structure (bridges/snags/rock bars etc.) but they also roam around chasing bait or in holes at low tide. In their hole environment they are bycatch for the guys targeting threadfin and jewfish.
Like the Bream, a whole industry has sprung up around casting lures for Bass. Typical lures used include spinnerbaits either worked across flats, weed edges or submerged trees, icejigs for vertial jigging, vibration minnows, blades etc. on the flats or edges and soft plastics worked vertically or horizontally. Trolling with minnows is the old standard but spinnerbaits and vibration minnows also work as well. Golden Perch are the main bycatch and both species cannot resist a live shrimp. Bass don’t mind a live shrimp floated down unweighted whereas Golden Perch prefer it very close to the bottom with a sinker above the hook and not moving or bobbed up and down.
Typical Reefs Visited
Teewah Coffee Rock
I really only go here during mackerel season. The mackerel get on the numerous bait schools in the region. Noosa locals go well here on reefies and some spots hold good jewies.
Normally fished by the Noosa charter boats, I sometimes end up here during cobia season on a couple of the wrecks in this region. If does fish well for all sorts of species but it is a well known snapper spot. The Noosa boats also seem to get a fair few pelagics whilst at anchor here.
This is a sneaky little reef south of North Reef, a bit inside Chardons Reef and a bit outside Misery Reef. It is named after the Massoud family who also have a park named after them in Noosaville. It is a snapper/pearl perch reef that is also home to the other usual suspects like sweetlip, parrot and cod. At times it also holds good bait.
Sunshine is pretty heavily hit by the Noosa tinny brigade and the Noosa charter boats. I mostly go here in mackerel season. I have had the odd soft plastics session here for some grass emperor and squire. The bonus in mackerel season is the odd coral trout off the downrigger on livies. If I am fishing here a bit I usually get a few a season.
Chardons I hit a bit. I have had good snapper bites here in August and it is a great live bait reef for marlin and other pelagic species. It has mackerel on it at times as well as wahoo quite often. If the bait is in I have had good sessions here on cobia and the odd longtail tuna. It turns up all sorts of surprises like cracker pearl perch, legal red emperor, a few gold spot estuary cod, the odd legal brown maori cod and I have had some ripper sessions here on reef flathead. Chardons does not look like much on the sounder but if it has bait on it has fish with the bait. It is mostly small ledges with wire weed.
Castaways Reef/Victor Bailey Reef
I have had some great snapper sessions here. A long way from Mooloolaba and the Noosa boats have to go past a lot of good country at Sunshine Reef to get here so not many people bother. Nice little bommies in flat ground I am pretty sure there are trout here but have been unable to land one. Some good bustoffs seem like trout. In summer I have heard it gets mackerel on it but I have certainly caught quite a few cobia here on the bait schools at times. Victor Baileys is a great little reef in close to get out of the wind. It is a good place to get a few mixed reefies. I have even got a legal red emperor here at night and another good session on school mackerel.
Coolum Reef/Arkwright Shoal
The Coolum area also takes in Hancocks Shoal and the area around it and off Stumers Creek. In summer this is a good reef for spotty mackerel and in winter snapper. Early winter it is also good for grey mackerel and Spanish mackerel and the freedivers even get them here shore diving. Some springs see the school mackerel thick here. Mixed in with the snapper are a few good grass emperor. A new wreck exists here and it will be interesting to see how it fishes with the wreck of the ex HMAS Brisbane not too far away.
The Gneering shoals out from Mooloolaba are very rocky reef reefs. I mostly fish here for mackerel in summer and snapper in spring. Being so close to Mooloolaba they are very heavily hit. They are very shallow and dived on by lots of freedivers who see a fair few mangrove jack and coral trout down there yet as anglers we don’t tend to get them. I do have one friend who has the trout wired and does well in autumn for them. Many of the tinny brigade also get the Gneerings wired for snapper and other species like parrot and moses perch that call this place home. I tend to do better off the big reef structures and fish the gravel with bait schools for mixed reefies like brown maori cod, gold spot estuary cod and grass emperor.
Murphies is also another favourite of the tinny brigade. At time good bait moves in here and with it are good schools of big ajs and kingfish. Mixed in with them are cod, trout and jewies feeding on the bait. Murphies has its momemts with the snapper and mixed reefies but I tend to fish away from the main area. A bit south is a bait area we get marlin and cod. To the east and west are some big structures that hold jewifish, amberjack and yellowtail kingfish.
Raper Shoal/Currimundi Reef
Raper Shoal is not far off the beach and virtually joins up with the coffee rock at the Wurtulla surf tower one side and all the reef off Moffat Headland the other side. Our from Rapers is Currimundi Reef and out from it is the Currimundi 8mile/9mile area. All of these areas are snapper/grassy/mackerel spots. Mostly school mackerel in August/September and spottie and Spanish mackerel from November to May. At times I have caught big snapper up to 82cm in very ripe condition here and they move right in close to try and spawn. My biggest grass emperor have also come from this area. The close in area is hit hard by the Mooloolaba and Caloundra tinny brigades as well as kayakers from the beach at Moffat Beach.
Caloundra Coffee Rock/The Corks/Brays Rock/The Peg/The Peg Reef/Hamilton Patches/Spoil Grounds
All of these close in reefs off Caloundra are hit by the Caloundra tinny and yak brigade, either through the bar or from the Kings Beach boat ramp. The peg reef is a great mackerel reef in summer and snapper reef in winter. I also get a few snapper off the corks as they usually hold bait. That is why the peg reef if good, all of the bait. To fish it conventionally with bait on the bottom you would think it only holds rubbish but on soft plastics you only get the good snapper and grassies. This whole area also has bait schools at any time, great for jigging or the mackerel and tuna get on them as well. My biggest mackerel of 24.8kg came from the peg reef.
Caloundra 5mile Reef
The 5mile is one of my favourite reefs. Mackerel in summer and snapper in winter. It holds good bait at times and that is why the fish are there. It has thrown up some great fish for me over the years including an 18kg amberjack and a 93cm snapper. The snapper here at times mark up like text-book sounder shots of big fish mixed in with the bait. The sharks can be a pain though when they hone in on the mackerel schools.
Caloundra 9mile Reef
This reef goes by a few different names but usually the 7-8-9 mile. It comes out of 35m all around and is a football field size plateau of 30m depth on top. Like all of the Caloundra reefs it is a mackerel spot in summer and a snapper spot in winter. It is not as consistent as some of the other spots and really needs bait on it. When the bait is there, the fish are there.
Caloundra 12mile Reef
The 12mile is a massive area meeting up with the Currimundi 9mile in the north and stretching all of the way down to the Wild Banks in the south off Bribie Island. The 12mile has a very specific mackerel area on the western side though. It could turn up any species of fish and is one of the main reefs I fish on half days. It also has numerous bait reefs scattered amongst it.
Caloundra Wide is another massive reef system virtually starting at the Barwon Banks and stretching to Cape Moreton. It takes in a couple of wrecks straight out the front of Mooloolaba which are great for cobia. Teraglin or trag jew are the second most common fish from these wrecks but they turn up all sorts of fish from nannygai to snapper to cod. Caloundra Wide proper is mostly ledges running N-S with wire weed on top of them. All of the usual reef species call it home.
I get down to Cape Moreton a bit, usually chasing pelagic fish at Hutchison Shoal but also at “The Trench”. Lately I have even been venturing down the front of the Cape to Shallow Tempest, Brennan’s Shoal, Roberts Shoal, Smiths Rock and all of the ledge country through here. It holds good bait and has great natural reef, just that it is close to Brisbane, a city of nearly 1.5million people so this area gets hard hit. I have also done well here on livies on AJs and kingfish with cod and cobia getting in on the act. It also has its moments as a snapper spot and throws up surprises like great GTs but the sharks can be a problem at times. From October/November on, it is a bit of a special for wahoo and mahi mahi with many marlin getting in on the act as well.
The Barwon Banks is a massive reef structure about 20Nm due east of Mooloolaba up to in line with Noosa. It has many areas from the shallows, the gravel on the west side, the wire weed ledges to the south and numerous drop offs and bommies. You can do worse than just drifting the shallows out here picking up a mixed bag of fusiliers, tusk fish and tropical fish like hussar and red throat emperor. In the day it was covered in red emperor and snapper. They are a bit harder to temp these days. A few of the big ledges are also home to wahoo and spanish mackerel in the summer and amberjack and kingfish in the winter time with random fish like jobfish and dogtooth tuna thrown in.
The 85m Ledge
The 85m ledge in front of the Barwon Banks is the traditional home of snapper fishing on the Sunshine Coast. Mixed in with the snapper are a few pearl perch and fish like splendid perch and black spot pigfish. The odd amberjack also gets in on the action and random fish like jewfish.
Kicking out to the NE from the Barwons are the Hards. They run out to about 40Nm NE of Mooloolaba. The southern Hards gets up to about 53m and is great snapper and amberjack country. The northern Hards can produce anything from tusk fish to snapper and pearl perch and the odd hussar and red emperor. It can be well worth the run out here in favour of the Barwons.
East of the main ridge of the Hards is an area people call the Mud. Scattered through here are numerous little bumps and ledges off the main reef complexes. There is also a sunken trawler wreck in this area.
The 97m Ledge
Out in front of the Hards and running down and joining up with the 85m ledge is the 97m ledge. At times this is where all the professional line fishermen fish for the snapper and pearl perch. It is deep but can be rewarding.
The Deep Wrecks
Out where the trawlers work there is a line of wrecks where they have snagged the bottom and toppled over and sunk. These are great spots for amberjack, kingfish, snapper and pearl perch. At times they also hold jewfish and the odd comet cod and bar cod comes off them. Go out here armed with live bait and jigs and you will see some action more times than not.
The Lauren G.
One of the latest wrecks out there. A local Mooloolaba boat that went down out at the Hards in 97m of water. A long way from home so fishes well but more and more people are getting the waypoint. I believe the skipper went down with the boat and is known by a few of the guys I know. Amberjack, kingfish, jewfish, pearl perch, snapper and bar cod have all come off this wreck. Was commercially smashed of all the pearl perch off it at one stage and does not fish anywhere near as well for snapper or pearlys since.
The Tiger Kelly.
Another local trawler that went down east of the Barwon Banks. 127m of water and fishes well at times. Does cop a hammering though. It has probably had it’s glory years. It does turn up things out of the box at times like 76cm pearl perch another charter boat caught off it.
Near the Tiger Kelly. Don’t know much about this wreck. Very hard to find.
The Plane Wrecks
I have a few marks for plane wrecks out here. One day I did mark something but have been unable to find it again. Trawlers most likely move the parts around with their nets. Suppossedly at the end of WWII planes were dumped off the aircraft carriers in this area. Bits of aircraft have definately been trawled up by the local trawlers in their nets.
The Anna Jay
The AJ/MJ/Angela Jane is in 135m off Caloundra Wide. Not much left of it on the sounder and is a very hit and miss place. Sometimes the fish are here and other times they aren’t. Depends on what you see on your sounder.
The Kosi or Wendy Joy
This wreck in about 110m always has a great show. Also seen Has been hit hard. Doesn’t yield much considering the show. Lots of small pearlies.
The Kerry Anne
About the deepest one I will fish. 145m. Not much show and not much go most of the time considering how deep it is and a lot less hit than the others.
In 135m and certainly has its day. Hit hard by boats out of Brisbane/Bribie/Redcliffe. Similar wreck species to the rest.
The Jennifer K
This trawler lies in about 82m NE of Hutchison Shoal. It shows up good on the sounder but is plagued by small pearl perch and hit super hard. It has had its day unfortunately.
Also known as the Centaur but it has been proven that the Centaur is in ultra deep water off North Stradbroke. The Kyogle is in 180m and not really worth the effort considering the depth. I’ve only ever pulled rat kings off it.
The shipping containers that fell off the ship the Pacific Adventurer lie in about 130m off Cape Moreton. They fish well for pearlies in the early part of the season but later on after they have been hit it is frustrating to pull up undersize snapper and pearl perch from that sort of depth. One trip we got owned by big kingies and AJs here too. Sharks can be a problem at times like all of these deep spots eating your fish half way up or hooking the livies themselves.
The 50m Wrecks
On the 50m line there is another line of shallower wrecks. These are bait spots holding yellowtail and slimey mackerel. Attracted to the bait are very often cobia in cobia season.
The Tall Ship
I have also heard it called the Missi or Mississippi. It is about 9Nm SE of Double Island Point in 50-60m of water. I think between the pros out of Rainbow Beach and the Noosa Charter boats it has been flogged but like all wrecks, on any given day they can go off. Grinners have also made these sorts of places home and can give you a flogging. I believe it used to have quite a few red fish on it (nannygai and red emperor).
The Sunken Cruiser
The sunken Cruiser lies in about 60m of water outside of North Reef off Noosa. If you can get past the grinners it holds cobia at times as well as jewfish. Nannygai, snapper and pearl perch can also be caught off it like all the wrecks on this line.
The Barges/American Warship
I have quite a few barge marks in this North Reef area but I have yet to find anything conclusive. Maybe some of the locals know some of the spots but so far all of my searching has turned up nothing.
I have also got this mark as Tippy Toe. Lies in 50-60m inside of the Hards. A good cobia spot in season if you can get past the grinners. Also had some good sessions here on the trag jew.
Early on I used to fish this mark a bit and it held good Cale Cale Trevally. It has been flogged by the Noosa charter and rec boats and doesn’t fish anywhere near as well. I have pulled the odd snapper off it as well. It lies in 50m of water at North Reef.
The Bermagui Star
Lies in about 29m of water inside of North Reef. Can hold good bait at times. Marlin and mackerel come off it but it has been fleeced of its reefies.
The Landing Barge
Sunk filming the Kylie Minogue movie the Delinquents, this wreck lies in about 50m of water east of Mooloolaba. It has had its best days but still turns up the odd cobia if you are the first boat there after two weeks of poor weather. I know of jewfish, cod, snapper, nannygai and pearl perch to have come off it.
The FV Jodie
The Jodie lies SE of the Cobia Barge and has its day if you can get past the grinners. It also gets good Trag Jew on it at times.
Various Cape Moreton Wrecks
Wrecks are a dime a dozen down off Cape Moreton. Some are productive and some have had their day.