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TROPICAL DELIGHT
  |  First Published: December 2010



There will be a wide range of fish to target in the Whitsundays in December.

Mangrove Jack

Mangrove jack can be found inshore around the rivers, coastal creeks and inlets of the Whitsundays in December. These aggressive, red coloured fish with large eyes and sharp teeth readily take lures or baits and are great fun to target.

There are three things we look for when searching for mangrove jack in the estuaries and around the coastal shores: mangroves or snags, rocks and shade. When we find these three features in an area we give the area a thorough fish to check if there are any jacks in the vicinity.

Another important thing to have is a bit of current flow in the area. This seems to put the jacks in more of a feeding mode and makes them easier to catch. Lures that we’ve found success with when fishing for jacks are the Rapala floating X-Rap and the Squidgy Fish rigged on a lightly weighted TT jighead.

If you’re bait fishing, try using mullet as they are an excellent bait for mangrove jack.

GT and Queenfish

Trevally and queenfish are both a popular and common fish that can be caught in December. They are found around reefs, deep island headlands and inshore around sand flats. Smaller sizes of these species are usually encountered in shallow water with the bigger fish liking the deeper areas.

A great way to target them is by casting lures like metal slices, large soft plastics or surface lures. Rocky headlands with deep water and tidal flow moving past are a good spot to start. Stay well away from the area you’re fishing as these fish will usually rise up from out of the deep water to take your lure.

Finding bait schools on the sounder around these areas is a sure sign of hungry GT and queenfish close by. We like to use quite heavy gear to be prepared for any larger fish that might decide to take the lure. We use a Shimano Stella 18000 reel matched to a Shimano GT Special rod with 80lb braid and 150lb leader and usually upgrade any light hooks on the lures that we’re using to stronger models.

Coral Trout

Coral trout are an icon when it comes to tropical reef fishing. These popular fish are usually targeted with handlines and bait over deeper reefs.

A different way of doing it that usually provides just as good results is by casting lures in the shallow water close to islands. It’s a fun style of fishing as it’s very visual. You can see the reef and rocks in the clear water and even the fish will come out from the structure to eat your lure.

Coral trout are usually caught around small bommies out from the distinct reef edge or any large rocks near the shore. The best lure style is a soft plastic for these types of areas. This is because you can sink them in close around bommies and gaps in the reef edge where the fish like to be around.

An electric motor is very helpful with this style of fishing as you can slowly cover new areas without spooking the fish. We’ve found the new I-Pilot from Minn Kota to be very useful as you can fish along an edge and retrace it automatically with the playback feature.

Spot-Lock is another cool feature that acts as an electronic anchor holding you in position against tide and wind with GPS accuracy. We’ve found it to be a great new product that ultimately results in helping you catch more fish.

Overall, Whitsundays fishing in December should be excellent so get out there and give it a try.

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