Let the rain begin!
  |  First Published: December 2010

If last month is any indication of what the 2010/2011 wet season is going to be like, then we had better batten down the hatches as it looks like we’re going to be in for a wild one!

Unseasonable rain has not only confused cane farmers but also anglers who have welcomed a small taste of run off fishing before the closed barra season of 1 November. With the land already saturated by the recent rain it wont take much now for the major rivers and creeks to be in full swing completing another cycle spawning by many fish species.

Not only did the barra season come to an end but it coincided with one of the two Coral Reef Fin Fish Closures with the last one ending on the 7 November.

On the brighter side the fishing has been fantastic with the cloudy, humid conditions boosting the mangrove jack tally through the roof. It’s been unbelievable the amount of jacks holding in creeks at the moment with reports of up to 20 jacks caught in a day’s fishing!

The pick of the creeks that has produced good fish has been Cattle Creek just north on Townsville. You can only access Cattle Creek by boat and it’s only a 15 minute journey from Crystal Creek by sea to the mouth of Cattle Creek. Once you’re in the creek there’s plenty of deep water access and plenty of fishy snags that usually only see attention on the weekend. These guys should continue to bite well right up until the torrential downpour and of course expect to see these guys lined up in popular run-off locations.

Another species that’s made an appearance in the creeks of late has been the grunter. Some excellent reports of grunter in the 60cm size bracket have finally turned up in the Haughton and Bohle, and it’s always better late than never I say! Once again Cape Cleveland and Halifax Bay have seen many grunter around 70cm caught on the big tides around the moon. This should continue right through summer.

Don’t forget to try your luck at a big fingermark, as this is prime time for these prized sport fish. Grunter and fingermark respond best to live baits with live squid the number one choice! Always try and secure some mullet or herring from the creek before you head out just in case the squid don’t want to play the game.

There’s something fishy going on with the night time red fishing off Townsville. It seems there’s a new fish out numbering the small mouth nannygai and it’s welcomed with open arms! There’s been a massive surge in numbers of big reef jacks caught at night, which interestingly has coincided with the boost in mangrove jack numbers also seen in the creeks. Perhaps it has something to do with their annual spawn, or perhaps it has something to do with early wet? Whatever it is, there’s plenty of reef jacks on offer as well as ahost of other species.

December also entices many boats to pepper Myrmidon Reef in hope to hook a black marlin or sailfish. But with the limited success of our bluewater gamefishing this year, there’s been a recent trend to try some deepwater jigging around the deep ledges and drop-offs off the Shelf in search for XOS fish. With some big names in tow like the dogtooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, amberjacks, massive coral trout and mahi mahi to name a few, it’s no wonder why this style of fishing has become so addictive.

In recent trips there has been some monster amberjacks caught stretching scales to 18kg, and the brutal dogtooth tuna, which for its size pulls harder than a debut skydiver with his hand on the ripcord!

Fishing deep water with heavy jigs is not easy, especially when some of the depths are around 150m. It’s also not for the faint-hearted, it can make or break ones patience and confidence battling not only big fish but also the sharks that can make short work of your hard effort. Only the best should venture here with the likes of the Shimano Stella match with a PE8 jigging rod spooled with 80lb braid just enough to see you through. Jigs between 200-400g will get you to the bottom but can be expensive if the dogtooth comes out to play with all guns blazing! It’s a lucky dip – you never know what your next fish is going to be, or how big either, and that’s the exciting part!

Summer brings the bait schools and with it the gamefish that feed close on our reefs. It’s a style that’s not applied much up here in North Queensland but we are now finding applications for it in areas like this. We have a superb game fishery right off our front door if you’re willing to explore and put in the time!

Do it ‘cos ya love it!

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