Gone Fishing Report


 Although the weather conditions were not suitable for trips to the reef last weekend the two days leading up to the weekend allowed boats to travel out wide. The seas were still marginal, but the odd larger boat did make it all the way out to the shelf where they reported some great catches of both Large Mouth Nannygai and Red Emperor.

The closer reefs were more doable and even so the seas came up on Friday morning with boats forced to fish in 15 knot winds. I found the fishing tough and only managed a very modest feed of reef fish before deciding to head home later in the morning. A quick stop to fish a wreck on the way home was uneventful with no Nannygai to be found.

Thursday was the better day and boats reported some good Coral Trout and good numbers of Spanish Mackerel caught by floating baits.

The various shoals in the shipping channel have also started to fish well for Spanish Mackerel with reasonable numbers of early season fish caught. Most of these fish were in the 5 to 6kg size range and responded to floating pilchards or high-speed spinning. An ideal way to fish these shoals is to put out a pilchard or a Gar as a floater and then to high-speed spin with lures like the Arma Metalik.

Closer in around the islands the Spanish Mackerel have also started to arrive in reasonable numbers with some lovely fish in the 10 to 15 kg range caught by trolling wolf herring or floating live baits. The School Mackerel also start to turn up in numbers about now, so spots such as the grounds off the Hull River and the contour line inside of Dunk are well worth a try. As yet I haven`t heard anything from the Mackerel grounds wide of the Bernard islands however I am sure the odd fish will be there as well.

The coastal reefs have been well worth fishing with several very good Coral Trout caught during the last calm patch. The ever- reliable Grass Sweetlip and the occasional Gold Spot Cod make it a very enjoyable couple of hours spent on the water.

At this stage I have not seen a lot of surface action however the Queen Fish have been around the island headlands in numbers.

The estuaries in the coastal creeks are still suffering from the recent rain, however some nice Mangrove Jacks and Barra are being caught. The bait fisherman are managing some good Bream, Flathead and Grunter.

The mud crabs are still plentiful; you just have to put in the time and find where they are concentrated.

Unfortunately I haven`t heard anything of the fishing from the Hinchinbrook area over the weekend. There were some good Jacks, Barra and Grunter caught earlier in the week.

The freshwater reaches of the coastal creeks are still producing some good Barra, however they are getting more difficult to temp to bite. Small soft plastics or live baits seem to be the answer and fishing in the afternoon when the water temperature is a little warmer.

The smaller feeder creeks are still providing some top action with Sooty Grunter and the occasional Jungle Perch. In these cooler conditions some of the better Sooty Grunter can often be found sunning themselves in the sandy shallows on the edge of the pools.

At this early stage of the week (Monday) the forecast is for 10 to 15 knots during this coming weekend. Hopefully this will allow boats to travel out around the islands and into the shipping channel. There is not very much run in the tide during the daylight hours however the larger evening tide will be perfect to target Grunter in the creeks and along the edge of the flats in the Hinchinbrook area.

Either side of the mid-morning low tide will suit those wishing to chase Barra and Mangrove Jack.

I have just heard that Fisheries are reviewing the Spanish Mackerel fishery with some feeling that it is overfished. I personally have found that they are not difficult to catch and that there are good numbers during the season. I feel that stocks have improved greatly since they were last looked at. I think that the inshore fishery for Barra, Threadfin Salmon, Grunter and even Fingermark (Golden Snapper) would be a better use of their resources and time. What do you think?

Good Fishing

Roly Newton

Tackle World Tully

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