Report 20/3/18

Mal McKinlay
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Nicole Penfold
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:08 pm

Report 20/3/18

Post by Nicole Penfold » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:03 pm

I quite often hear people say derogatory things about the fishing qualities of the Maroochy River. I hear things like, ‘There’s no bloody fish in that river,’ or ‘I fished that river all day and didn’t catch one keeper.’ I just have a quiet chuckle to myself, knowing that some days the river does seem like this. However, if you target your species, apply a little common sense, a bit of local knowledge, and an ounce of luck you will nearly always come home with a good feed of nice fresh fish fillets.

After a couple of weeks of squally shower days and strong winds it was nice to get a couple of good fishing days around the March new moon. On March 19, two days after the new moon I fished the run back tide for whiting. The river in the lower reaches is still suffering the effects of another 75mls of follow up rain in March. The water clarity is quite clear from half run in to the top of the tide but is very dirty from half run out to the bottom. This is just the type of water I am looking for when seeking out big whiting.

I pumped the usual 30 yabbies while the water was still covering the sand banks using my floating bait sieve and fished the surrounding banks as the tide receded into the channels. I tried several of my usual places where I have had success before but did not lose one bait. After a fruitless hour or so I could hear those words echoing in my mind, ‘There’s no bloody fish in that river.’ I moved on to spot Y where finally, I had some interest from smaller whiting and bream. I kept 4 keeper whiting to 27cm when I noticed the soldier crabs had come out. I can tell you from experience that there is a world of difference in using soldier crabs versus yabbies for big whiting. At the same spot where I had been catching rat sized fish only minutes before I locked into my first good fish of the day on crabs, a beautiful 37cm whiting that fought all the way, till I lifted it’s nose out of the water. I then caught another 3 whiting between 33cm and 35cm. All of a sudden, I had 8 whiting and a proverbial feast fit for a King. I also landed 2 good sized flathead to 47cm which I returned to the water (all on soldier crabs). I can’t say that it was a hot bite, but I just love it when people say to me, ‘I’ll never fish that bloody river again, it’s fished out.’

While I was on the water I noticed the birds were working over schools of pelagic in many different parts of the river, possibly silver trevally. I would think there would be plenty of action for lure fishos right now. With the extremely hot summer we have sweltered through, all but finished, we are about to move into the crossover period from summer species to winter and in my next report I’ll discuss some of the winter species potential, that we can look forward to, in the river, ‘that has no fish in it’.

Those quality whiting should be there for the next month or so particularly while the river still holds its dirty colour from the fresh runoff. Just work your trips around the new and full moon phases and you won’t go wrong. Feel free to email me on

Good Luck, Mal McKinlay

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