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Reef Fishing Off The Sunny Coast Part One

This article will be running for a couple of months, each month we will be talking about reefs that can be reached off the Sunshine Coast. We will be talking about how to get there, what to take and what to expect. All destinations will require you to take an EPIRB (See us to get professional advice on EPIRB units). All of the distances are calculated from Point Cartwright, an area just outside of Mooloolaba Harbour that offers plenty of boat launching and fish cleaning facilities.

Inner Gneerings: 

Location: S26º38’610” – E151º10’250”

Depth: 6-15m

The Inner Gneerings is a shallow reef system commencing only 3km out from Mooloolaba. It is pinnacles and drop-offs that hold fish like sweetlip, cobia, pearl perch, tuskfish, small snapper and pelagics such as spotty and Spanish mackerel. The reef is best fished on an early morning tide change or evening high tide on dusk during full or new moon phases. It’s also a great area for squid fishing.

Outer Gneerings

Location: S26º39’035” – E153º11’872”

Depth: 15-20m

Distance: 5-7km

The Outer Gneerings is within 5km of Mooloolaba and situated on the northern eastern side of the blinker. This is great country and will often hold plenty of bait schools enticing many large pelagics like amberjack, mackerel and kingfish around. All sorts of reef species dwell around this system and by sounding around and finding the areas that are holding bait you will enhance your chances greatly. Great spot to fish in winter particularly at dawn or dusk.

Old Womans or Mudjimba Island

Location: S26º37’008” – E153º07’102”

Depth: 5-18m

Distance: 7.4km

Old Womens Island can be the only place you can fish during bad weather because there is always a sheltered side. The eastern ledge is known for the many rat kings that come on in October and remain around through the summer months.

Tuna schools smash bait schools around the entire area so look for the working birds. Reef species like tuskfish, Moses perch and snapper are caught during the winter months. Great area to catch squid! Can get very busy during holidays and on the weekends.

Murphys Reef

Location: S26º40’050” – E153º14’310”

Depth: 20-40m

Distances: 7-11km

Murphys is a complex reef system that extends from inside the Mooloolaba 9km blinker to well outside its boundaries. Parts of the system are sheltered during the strong southwesterly winds we experience through winter. There are many spots on the inner side that hold a lot of smaller species but fishing into the night any sort of monster can brick you around here.

Plenty of snapper, mowong, Moses perch, parrot, pearlies, cod, sweetlip and emperor can be taken here and in the summer months trolling or float lining for mackerel. Pinnacles and hard bottom country is spread across this reef area so take your time and explore it carefully.

Currimundi Reef

Location: S26º44’000” – E153º10’300”

Depth: Breaks in bad weather on low tide 5-20m

Distance: 9.5km

Currimundi is another reef that is sheltered from southerly and westerly winds making it an ideal location to fish for pelagics like spotty and Spanish mackerel through summer. Baits schools hang around here bringing the tuna packs in during late October through to February. Night fishing is the best for all reef species. A lot of anglers use this reef to stock up on livies before heading out to the Caloundra Reefs.

Caloundra 12 Mile

Location: S26º49’520” – E153º16’710”

Depth: 35-55m

Distance: 23km

Hook up on everything from snapper, sweetlip, pearl perch, teraglin, pearl perch, parrot, cod, red throat emperor along with plenty of live yakkas. There is a fair share of pelagic like cobia, mackerel and kingfish that frequent the area during the summer periods. The 12 mile has a reputation for running hot but can be patchy the next day so pick the best times and tides to fish.

Wide Caloundra

Location: S26º48’500” – E153º18’550”

Depth: 35-50m

Distance: 26km

This area holds mahi mahi, wahoo, mackerel, cobia and amberjack as well as quality pearl perch, spangled emperor, teraglin and snapper. The diversity of this system enables anglers to target specific species and then troll for tuna or other pelagic once the tide is running.

Fishing the structure around the area is the means to success. Amberjack are plentiful during August and September but can be taken right through the summer months. This area runs right through to the southern end of the Barwon Banks.

Barwon Banks

Location: S26º32’616” – E153º31’964”

Depth: 35-120m

Distance: 43km

The ‘Banks’ is a large reef system that covers around 23km running north south. Any number of reef species and larger pelagics can be caught here, kingfish, amberjack, cobia, cod, snapper, pearl perch, tuskfish, iodine bream, hussar, emperor, jobfish and trout, just a few to mention. With all the available species there also comes plenty of sharks so take care.

Anchoring in shallow areas around 40m with berley is advisable on the changing of the tide. Deeper areas around 85m can be drifted outside of the big full and new moon tidal changes. Paternosta rigs are successful for catching parrot and other bottom dwellers. Certain areas produce different species so it is a matter of exploring.

Remember never go into open water by yourself. It is always best to plan a trip with a mate, so that if something happens when you are out a fair distance, at least someone can assist you. Please ensure that you have the correct safety equipment and radios in place before proceeding on any fishing trip and you need to be aware of the catch and take limits on all species. Read next month’s newsletter for the final instalment of Reef Fishing Off The Sunny Coast.

Look out for part two next month.

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