Mary Grinstead with a Maori Sea Perch caught off Mission Beach last week during the good weather.

There have been some opportunities for the larger boats to travel out wide and fish the rubble patches between the main reefs and the shelf. The few reports that have been received were of good numbers of big Silver Nannygai and the occasional Red Emperor.

Good numbers of Coral Trout have been caught on the main reefs. Whilst not the numbers expected in October, they are still enough to definitely make the effort worthwhile. Although still early in the season, all the signs are there for a great run of Spanish Mackerel this year. Particularly good numbers are being caught both by floating live and dead baits or trolling lures around the pressure points on the main reefs.

The various shoals, rubble patches, and wrecks between the shipping channel and the main reefs have also started to fire. There have been reasonable numbers of Spanish Mackerel and the Doggy (school) Mackerel have started to turn up. The Spotty Mackerel are still scarce and will hopefully start to turn up in July. The Nannygai have also started to school up on these areas, not in big numbers as yet, but the occasional boat has been doing well.

The islands have continued to fish reasonably well with some nice Trout and Fingermark being caught. Grass Sweet Lip and Stripey are still making up the majority of the catch; however, a friend of mine, Mary Grinstead, sent me a photo of the big Maori Sea Perch that she caught on a remarkably close coastal reef. This is quite a rare fish and a real trophy for inshore.

The Spanish Mackerel have been turning up on the coastal reefs and headlands over the last few weeks; nice fish around the 12 or 13 kilo mark. The odd fish has taken a lure, however trolling ribbonfish is definitely the most productive method. The Doggy Mackerel have also finally moved inshore, and reasonable numbers are being caught both around the islands and virtually any inshore structure. The grounds wide of the Hull River and the Silver Sands of the Bernard Islands are all normal hot spots. I prefer to slow troll Pilchards rather than drift, as this allows me to legally use 3 lines in a green zone and to cover more country until I find the fish. In my opinion, if you seriously want to troll for Mackerel, a downrigger is mandatory. The rigger allows you to easily troll at any depth, as Mackerel regularly school at depths deeper than can be reached conventionally.

The estuaries continue to produce some nice Barra and Mangrove Jacks, although the transition to winter species is now almost complete. The Barra, Jacks, and Tarpon have been feeding on jelly prawn around the edge of the mangroves. These fish can be very frustrating to catch as they are focused on these extremely small prawns. Try small clear soft plastics or small surface lures, such as the Jackson Panic, Risk Bait, or R.A. Pop. Jackson makes an impressive range of clear or semi clear colours that are absolutely perfect. It will still take a lot of casts, but you will eventually get results.

There have also been good numbers of mostly school-sized Grunter and Bream around in the coastal creeks. I prefer decent quality prawns; however fresh herring is also a gun bait.

Anglers fishing the middle freshwater sections of the coastal rivers, such as the Johnstone, Tully, and Herbert are still managing to catch some nice Barra and Sooty Grunter on both lures and live baits, despite the coolish conditions. This time of year, the water temperatures can be as much as 2 or 3 degrees warmer in the afternoon, and it pays to take advantage of this, as the fish definitely bite better in the warmer conditions.

At this early stage of the week, the various weather sites are predicting light winds on Saturday but rising during Sunday. Either side of the morning tide will suit chasing a variety of fish, from Grunter in the creeks, through to the various Mackerel species around the islands.

Those wishing to chase a Barra or a Jack should look at either side of the afternoon low tide. This low tide will cause problems accessing the shallow river mouths and boat ramps, which will need to be taken into consideration.

Good Fishing

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