Report 5/6/17

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

Report 5/6/17

Post by Nicole Penfold » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:35 am

The Maroochy River will be firing on all cylinders as we lead in to the June 9 full moon.

Get your bream gear ready because this is the week they start to fire up. Live yabbies or soldier crabs are easy to collect in the river but if you want to target big bream there are plenty of places to throw your net for herring. Herring are great used as live or cut baits and the really big bream love them.

Near the river mouth Goat Island forms a natural buffer from the oceans waves. It is a large sand and mud island quite a few hectares in size. The island is covered in mangroves and provides refuge for every type of crustacean or estuary fish that can be found in our waters. As it is surrounded by deep channels, jetties and pontoons and bold sand banks it is the perfect place to catch all species of fish. Somewhere around the island you will also find all the bait you need. There are absolute hectares of yabby and soldier crab laden sand banks with plenty of places where the herring school up.

A mate and I fished for Gar on the neap tides last week and though they were slow on the bight we still managed enough fish in a couple of hours to feed 2 families. Some of these were among the biggest gar I’ve caught. Maroochy River fishermen would kick themselves if they only knew about this Silver Bounty that they are missing out on.

Each year from the April full moon to the September full moon the river comes alive with an annual migration of spawning, silver Eastern Sea Gar. I have been catching them regularly for the past month at 30cm fork length up 35 cm fork length. Fork length is measured from their beak to the fork of their tail. These fish are prime and fat and produce a fillet similar in size and taste to a whiting. Because they are spawning they have voracious appetites and will attack floating baits with gusto. Gar fillets are also great bait for big bream and flathead.

You can catch garfish almost anywhere around Goat Island. In the Maroochy they seem to prefer the edges of deep channels and gutters. I like to select a spot where the water is coming over a sand bank on the run in tide and running into deeper water causing a ripple effect on the surface. Garfish love to congregate here. I anchor up and immediately fill my berley bucket and hang it from the side of my boat. I use a commercial berley product which contains aniseed. Sometimes it might take 20 minutes for the gar to come on the scent but once connected they’ll quite often stay schooled up till the top of the tide. There will be times however when they do their own thing and no matter what berley or bait you throw at them they will not be interested.

Quite often a school of bream will be attracted to the burley trail and they can become a bit of a nuisance.

I use a vertical float rig similar to a luderick rig. Because I use braid I have a 3 or 4 metre leader of 6lb fluoro carbon connected to a size 10 Mustad long shank hook. Gar love yabbies or prawn. A yabby will cut into 2 or 3 baits depending on their size. Start your hook down about a metre from the float then adjust it to suit the depth the gar may be at. Let your float drift away from the boat in the berley trail until you get a downer then lift the tip and hang on. I take my 2 granddaughters fishing for gar and they love it so much they never want to go home.

So you can see it will be all happening in the Maroochy leading up to the Full moon. I would target big whiting on the run in tide with soldier crabs. For those who like catching bream, try the deeper channels around Goat, the river mouth and of course the Motorway Bridge. You might like to drown a pilly this week also as the weather gets colder because there should be a few tailor starting to move into the river.

Hot off the press – a mate was travelling in his boat from the Motorway Bridge towards Chambers Island when he came upon a huge school of silver trevally working on the surface. He only had his whiting gear with him so he rigged up with some silver slugs and after a few bust ups landed some quality fish to 2 kilos.

Well there it is – so many species to target you won’t know where to start – what a dilemma.

If you’d like to ask any questions or share some photos with me please email me at

Good Luck, Mal McKinlay

My deckie cleaning gar at the cleaning table at Picnic Point overlooking the Maroochy River.

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