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Sunny Coast Offshore For Sure

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Sunny Coast

Bart MacKenzie takes you fishing.

Sunny Coast

Black Marlin

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is located approximately 80 kilometres north of Brisbane and is an amazing place for those who enjoy offshore fishing.

The Sunny Coast is smack-bang in the middle of where the sub-tropics meet the temperate and numerous reefs span from the top of Moreton Bay up to Double Island Point and reach depths of five-to-200 metres – providing habitat for an enormous range of popular target-species fish.

It’s not uncommon to catch tropical fish such as Red Throat Emperor and Coral Trout as well as more temperate species such as Kingfish and Snapper, but it’s not just all about the reef fish. This beautiful part of the world also boasts its fair share of pelagic species such as Marlin and Mackerel. Whatever type of fishing you’re into, the Sunny Coast offshore scene has something for every angler.

Sunny Coast

Longtail Tuna


Soft plastic fishing is a versatile, no mess and no fuss style of fishing that’s tried and tested on the Sunny Coast. Snapper, Sweetlip, Pearl Perch and Cobia are a few of the common fish species that love to get their laughing gear around a well-presented “placcie”. I hooked a small Black Marlin while fishing on a shallow reef off Caloundra and I’ve landed Spanish Mackerel up to 12 kilograms on small five-inch jerk shads along with Long Tail Tuna. I commonly fish plastics while on the drift in a slight breeze, or with a sea anchor if the wind is up.

The key is to cast your plastic out in front of the direction of drift and give yourself time to get to the bottom where the majority of fish are; very little action is required to entice a fish to hit a soft plastic on an offshore reef and most strikes occur when the lure is dropping.

To get the best results, you want to be using the lightest jig head possible for the conditions at hand. I fish 3/8 oz. in 20 metres; ½ oz. in 20-40 metres; 1 oz. in 40-60 metres and 2 oz. in 60-90 metres.

Bait fishing will certainly produce the goods if you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty. Pilchards, squid and flesh baits such as tuna, mullet or bonito work well on a wide variety of reef species. Once again, I recommend using the smallest sinker required for the conditions at hand. Floating baits down slowly improves your chance of catching larger fish such as big Snapper, Kingfish and Cobia and fishing a well presented bait on a reef can produce Red Emperor to tasty little reef fish such as Pearl Perch and Venus Tusk Fish.

Tuna and Mackerel species are prevalent in the warmer winter months and can often be spotted feeding on small baitfish. The best fishing method to entice surface-feeding pelagic fish is to sight-cast small metal lures in the same direction the fish are swimming, before rapidly retrieving the lure.

It’s an extremely exciting visual experience watching a big Tuna swipe at your lure as you retrieve it and small metal slices in the 20-65 gram range will do the trick.

It’s essential to have a tackle box with a few metal lures and the old saying of “match the hatch” is of utmost importance during this type of fishing; some species are sometimes so focused on the bait they’re eating that they don’t even look at a lure that’s obviously different in size from their natural prey.

SUnny Coast

Gemma MacKenzie and her catch.

Sunny Coast

The author with a Murphys Reef Cobia.


1.      The best times to be fishing are at first light in the morning before the sun pokes over the horizon and late afternoon into the early evening. Fish will bite at other times throughout the day and night. However, fish feed more actively at these times.

2.      The best way to catch fish is to fish where the fish are…

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