There were several opportunities over last weekend and during the week to head out to sea and do some fishing. The reports received from the few boats that managed to travel out to the edge of the shelf or outer reefs have been great, with good numbers of Silver Nannygai and some Red Emperor. Surprisingly, there have also been reports of good numbers of Wahoo and the odd Mahi Mahi. However, at this stage, Billfish sightings have been rare.

The fishing on the main reefs was a little tough, with boats having to do many shifts to come home with 6 or 8 Coral Trout. This was probably due to a combination of small tides and the time of year. The Trout numbers will improve as we move into spring. Most of the Spearos also mentioned a scarcity of Trout, however the Crayfish were plentiful.

The Spanish Mackerel have been around in good numbers, especially along the reef drop offs.

The deep-water rubble patches and wrecks around the main reefs have started to fish well, with good numbers of both Large and Small Mouth Nannygai being caught. Add to this a few Spangled Emperor and the odd Cobia and you have had a great trip!

The shipping channel shoals have not been so productive, with the Spanish and School Mackerel being hit and miss, with some having a great trip, whilst others have missed out.

I have just received a call from a mate on the grounds just wide of the northern end of Dunk. He was using high speed metal jigs, such as the Arma Mettallik and had managed to hook up Spanish, Schoolies, and Spotties, on virtually every drop. Some of the Macks were undersize, but he quickly caught enough quality fish. He had struggled at a previous hot spot and moved in closer to Dunk.

At this stage, I have not heard of large numbers of fish being caught off the Barnard Islands. However, we all know how quickly the Mackerel can arrive and come on the bite.

Bottom fishing around the islands has been reasonable, with plenty of Grass Sweet Lip and the odd Coral Trout. The Hinchinbrook area has also been producing some excellent Fingermark and Grunter.

The big Spanish Mackerel have moved in around the islands and headlands and have been taking lures, Wolf Herring, and live baits. The problem has been the sharks, with anglers having to move away from their favourite grounds and look for fish elsewhere. Hopefully, as we get closer to the full moon, the shark numbers will drop away. Keep your fingers crossed.

Those who have been fishing for Mangrove Jacks and Barra in the estuaries, found the fishing tough. However, despite the cooler conditions, there were some great fish caught. My manager, Derek, caught a Barra in the high 80`s and there were also some nice Jacks caught.

Last weekend, the tides were too small to suit Grunter, however there were still reasonable numbers of both Grunter and Bream caught. The small run in the tides also affected the crabbing, with most boats only managing a feed, but numbers should improve through the week.

At this early stage of the week, the various weather sites are expecting great conditions on Friday. However, the wind will begin to rise to 10 to 15 knots during Saturday afternoon, and even higher on Sunday. The other handicap is the extremely low tide mid-afternoon, which will create access problems at some ramps and river mouths.

I like the early morning run-in tide for Barra and Jacks and either side of morning high tide for Grunter in the creeks and along the Hinchinbrook flats. Either side of this same morning high tide will also suit fishing around the islands or chasing a Mackerel. This will allow boats to get out for a fish and get home before the tide gets too low after lunch.

Don`t forget the crab pots, as there should be some crabs around.

Good Fishing

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