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Fishing with kids on the Sunshine Coast

Want to take your family fishing on the piscatorially perfect Sunshine Coast? Some junior sized tips will go a long way!

Fishing with kids on the Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast resident and Fishing Australia television host Rob Paxevanos had his ‘arm twisted’ by eight-year-old daughter, Hailey, who wanted to create a kids' book on how to fish our stunning waterways.  The book has struck a sweet chord with families. It's ideal for those who've never fished before and are keen to introduce their children to this wonderful past time.  

My family and I are out and about fishing and enjoying the waterways on the Sunshine Coast whatever chance we get ... it’s also a favourite spot of ours to film the Fishing Australia series. Even in this fishing paradise, we often come across newcomers that don't know the basics and are about to go home with an empty bucket.  So how do you go from zero to hero in the family fishing stakes? It’s quite literally child’s play!

Target ‘the big three' fish  

Flathead, bream and whiting are the ‘big three’ target species for families as they are abundant in number, easy to catch (once you know how), and you don’t need a boat!  
Furthermore, these three species prefer to reside in easily accessible estuaries - and we have scores of just such waterways on the Sunshine Coast.  Golden Beach, Caloundra, Currimundi Lake, Maroochy River and Mooloolaba are just a few that spring to mind - but there are many more.

By specifically targeting the 'big three' rather than wandering out to see 'what's biting' you will be more likely to go home with a full bucket.

Saltwater fish

Your local tackle shop can show you the rigs for your area, but here are some of the basics for the 'big three'.


Bream like lots of different types of bait. Burley works very well. We walk around throwing a little into the water and look for bream coming out to eat. It's always fun once you spot them! I then use a size 1 hook without a sinker (unweighted bait). In some cases we also use a running sinker rig. Stripey tuna is my favourite bait because the bream really love it, and it stays on the line well. 

Bream love the balmy waters of the Sunshine Coast.


Flathead like lots of different types of bait but especially whitebait, anchovies, pieces of bluebait and small strips of striped tuna or squid. They're also known to be fond of moving bait so if there are no snags around try a few rounds of casting to see if they bite. Use an unweighted, running sinker or paternotster rig with a size 4 to size 2/0 hook. TIP: Flathead have very sharp spikes so children may need an adult's help with this fish. 

Sand whiting 

Sand whiting are fast and fun when you hook them. These fish like bait such as pippies, shrimp, bloodworms and sandworms. Use a running skiner with a size 8 long shank hook. 

Tip: If in doubt let it back out! Many fish species make their home in the waters of the Sunshine Coast. If you or your child pulls in something they don't recognise, don't touch the fish as it could be dangerous. Cut the line, or keep it in the water until you can confirm it's a safe catch, but if in doubt, let it go. 

So, that's your introduction to targeting the 'big three' fish that you'll find in the balmy waters of the Sunshine Coast. Stay tuned for Rob and Hayley's next article on the three basic rigs you'll need for fishing our waterways.

If you'd like to find out more about fishing with kids or are looking for a great gift idea check out Kids' fishing  - a guide for kids by kids.