Gone Fishing Report


Sea conditions have been far from ideal for those wishing to fish the edge of the continental shelf and deep-water rubble patches. However, from the few reports that I have received, it seems that the Nannygai, Red Emperor, and other deep-water fish have been around in numbers.

I have only heard a few reports from the deep-water rubble patches around the main reefs, and these are that the fishing is hit and miss, with some doing well and others missing out.

The good news is that there is a healthy population of Coral Trout around at present, with most boats reporting excellent fishing. This is a little early, as normally we do not see these numbers until spring and early summer. The spearos are also reporting good numbers of both Coral Trout and Blue Tuskers in the 7 to 15 metre mark. The Crays have also been abundant with the spearfisherman finding multiples under many bommies.

Spanish Mackerel have also been around in good numbers, mainly around the reef drop offs and the various rubble patches in the shipping channel. I did hear of a monster Spanish being caught down around the north Barnards, however no one has been able to tell me what it weighed or show me a photo.

The wrecks and rubble patches inside the main reefs have been alive, with small Nannygai mainly around the 38cm mark. I found it extremely frustrating continually moving to try and find some legal fish. I really think that the minimum size of Small Mouth Nannygai should be lowered, even if the bag limit drops.

Those fishing the various rubble patches outside the islands have been managing reasonable numbers of Spanish, School, and Spotty Mackerel. They have not been there in droves, but certainly enough for anglers to target them. They have been spread out and not really biting well, (try the ground east of Dunk Island), however, once on the bite, bag limits (if needed) can be caught quite quickly. In these tough conditions keep the pilchard moving or try high speed spinning with metal lures such as the Arma Mettalik.

Those fishing the islands and coastal reefs have been managing mixed bags of Grass Sweet Lip, and the odd Coral Trout, and Fingermark. There has also been some nice School Mackerel being caught close in around the headlands and virtually any bottom structure that can be found. I like to slow troll a pilchard in these circumstances, as it allows me to move around looking for schooling fish or bait. The added bonus is that the Schoolies like a moving bait.

The estuaries are fishing quite well, with both Barra and Mangrove Jacks around in decent numbers. My manager, Derek, caught a lovely 83cm Barra, along with 6 Jacks to 46cm, in a recent trip to Hinchinbrook. This is great fishing for this time of year and probably the result of the mild winter we are having.

Switched-on anglers are also managing some nice Fingermark and Grunter, both in the coastal creeks and in the Hinchinbrook area. Family angler will find plenty of Bream, Flathead, and Whiting, along the edge of the sand bars. This will keep the kids happy and allow you to bring home a feed of fish.

There has been no news on the freshwater front, with the weather being good enough for most boats to travel out to the islands or estuaries. The stocked impoundments are not impossible, but the better Barra fishing will not start in the dams until late August.

At this early stage of the week, the various weather sites are predicting ideal boating conditions for this weekend. It looks like it could come up to 10 to 15 knots on Sunday, but hopefully this will not stop boats from travelling out wide. Those Mackerel will have to come on the bite on the grounds east of the Barnard Islands during the next two weeks.

The smaller run in the tides will be ideal for those wishing to lure fish for Barra and Jacks in the creeks. I like either side of the mid-morning tide. Either side of the evening high-tide will suit those fishing for Fingermark along the drop offs in the Hinchinbrook area or around deeper structure around the islands.

Good Fishing

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