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 light tackle season. 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 21miles off the Sunshine Coast, a sailfish bite at any time, most likely in August, September or October at the 8 or 18miles and Chardons Reef or stripers and blacks off the Gold Coast at Spot X or the NE50s or Deep Tempest off Cape Moreton. Bait could turn up at any time and with it are the chance of micro blacks which have been caught in July before as well as sails. The good news is the bite in North Queensland. We could be in for a cracker of a season down here in the south.
If things go to plan and this crop of juvenile black marlin come south I would start hitting up 1770 in August or September and then the top of Fraser Island in October or November. They will 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. Certainly if you have contacts in Townsville or other North Queensland ports or you have a trailerboat and are keen to travel it would be well worth your while getting up there and fishing August or September or taking in the Townsville Tournament which is very well run with lots of prize money. Through winter I would be gearing up for the onslaught making rigs, stripping and respooling reels with fresh line and getting ready for the Hervey Bay and Mooloolaba Tournaments which are well timed for this run of fish. If we get bait on the local Sunshine Coast grounds don’t discount the upcoming Spring Shootout Tournament either. If it happens like three years ago there were 80 sailfish tagged in the Spring Shootout Tournament and the club tagged 100 for the whole month of October.
That is just the light tackle. Statistically October has been a good month for heavy tackle so if you are hearing no reports of bait it would be well worthwhile breaking out the heavy tackle gear to hit up the Spring Shootout. Heavy tackle you are a chance every month of the year. The pioneers of the blue marlin grounds in the ‘80s 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 having a go 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 dog leg straight out the front of the banks. The last couple of months have seen a bit of action with Mistress fishing off Pt 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 Striped marlin and a spearfish in subsequent weeks. As Darryl Summers used to say on Hey Hey it’s Saturday, “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 this 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 and quite a few anglers. It would be well worthwhile this year to take in a NQ light tackle tournament as well like Townsville, Innisfail, Pt. Hinchinbrook, etc. Other 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 it would be well worthwhile getting out on the 80-150m line or the Barwon Banks/Hards, Deep Tempest, Gold Coast NE 50s, etc. this time of year and targeting 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 on some good bait east of Moreton and how many snapper fishermen this time of year floating a pilly hook blacks? Quite a few usually! The Banks would be good with the amount of berley getting around and the general life in the area with fusiliers, bananafish, surgeonfish and other small fish etc. all 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 snapper/kingfish etc.