The Whitsunday area will be a prime place to fish in November – not just the many islands but the creeks, estuaries and Peter Faust Dam will all produce quality fishing.
One style of fishing that is fun and productive is high speed spinning with metal chrome lures. Metal slices, as they are otherwise known, are basic lures that use reflection and speed to trigger bites from aggressive fish.
The flashes of these lures combined with the enticing wobble at high speed are enough to tempt most pelagic fish around the Whitsundays, with GT, queenfish, tuna and mackerel the most likely customers.
These slices often work the best with a fast retrieve either casting or trolling. They are great for casting as they travel a long way through the air and cover water fast when trying to find fish.
We were recently fishing around the islands on a beautiful day; the water surface was almost glassy calm. We drifted with the current while casting metal slices to the edges of some broken rocks. Suddenly a mackerel of about 15kg launched out of the water while feeding, and then some big GT started chasing fish on the surface as well! It was a feeding frenzy of big pelagics – some of the GT were solid fish, around the 25-30kg mark!
We made a cast in with a large Raider slice and cranked it through the strike zone. Half way back through the churning white water the speeding slice was taken by what we first thought was a nice mackerel. The 20lb Fins braid peeled from the 2500 sized Shimano Stradic Ci4 reel at a fast pace. After the first few runs, the thumping feeling through the rod gave it away as a GT. After a bit of work getting the fish in, it was boat side and turned out to be a nice size fish, estimated at around 26kg.
Spinning metal slices works in the shallows as well as the deep water, wherever there are pelagic fish. By letting the slice sink and flutter down through the water, you can target fish that are deeper in the water column. Vertical jigging these slices can also be a good technique and will pick up reef fish on bottom structure.
Getting a strike from a barramundi on a surface lure is very exciting and November is a great time to try it. This style of fishing is available all year round at Peter Faust Dam but can work very well around the warmer months, especially from October to March.
Walk-the-dog type lures, poppers, fizzers and soft plastics surface lures like frogs will all catch big fish. The Rapala X-Rap Walk, Skitter Walk and Squidgy Boof Frog are proven surface lures and work well for casting around shallow weeds and timber.
We were recently fishing Peter Faust Dam on a calm morning. As we came out of a large bay, we spotted an amazing sight – a metre-plus barramundi chasing baitfish on the surface. It broke the surface several times and quickly darted around, creating a large bow wave. It looked more like a saltwater pelagic than an impoundment barra.
It was amazing to watch what is considered to be a generally slow moving type of fish to shoot along and change direction as fast as a GT or queenfish.
We approached slowly using our electric motor so as to not spook the fish. We had a weedless rigged soft plastic surface frog rigged on the same 2500 Stradic Ci4 reel that the 26kg GT was landed on. We made a cast to the water, which was still swirling from the fish’s amazing feeding display and cranked the frog back on the surface with a fast retrieve.
After a couple of casts, a big bow wave appeared right behind the frogs kicking legs. The fast retrieve was continued and the frog was then struck hard causing an explosion of white water. The frog however, continued to swim as the hook didn’t connect with the fish.
In the following half hour, we had about eight or nine follows and strikes from fish around 90-100cm. But getting a good hook-up was tricky and we only landed one around 92cm. The visual action was incredible though and the fish were awesome to watch as they honed in on the fast moving frogs.Reads: 3325