Waiting on the weather
  |  First Published: December 2010

Welcome to Lucinda, the southern gateway to the breathtaking Hinchinbrook Island. Lucinda offers countless mangrove-lined creeks, the Palm Group islands, close proximity to the reef and the iconic 5.76km long sugar loader jetty.

It is a fishing and boating paradise and is the kind of place that gets the casting arms trembling. Lucinda offers the opportunity to throw lures for barra and jacks in the morning, throw poppers for GT and queenfish after lunch, and soak baits for fingermark, grunter or trout as the sun sets.

January in the tropics can be very hit and miss as we are in the hands of what Mother Nature throws at us.

Hinchinbrook Channel

January will see lots of fresh coming from the rivers, turning the channel brown. This means throwing lures is out of the question and the best opportunity to boat some fish is to use fresh baits.

When the water is carrying lots of fresh two fish spring to mind: grunter and fingermark. Find yourself a nice hole in a creek or fish one of the many rocky headlands, such as the Bluff or around Haycock Island.

The best bait for fingermark is squid, however it is very hard to come by this time of year. The next best thing is greenback herring that should be fished live with two or three on the hook.

Grunter prefer cut baits such as herring, mullet fillets or squid but will eat live baits as well. It pays to leave a little slack line as grunter will normally pick the bait up and swim away while swallowing it. The last few hours of the run-out tide normally offer the best bite.

Jacks will be around and hungry but you will want to head right up the channel to Benjamin Flats in search of clearer water.

The Jetty

This time of year can see some crazy action along the jetty, with all the water flooding out of the channel flushing out bait and predators. Look for the line where the dirty water meets the clear and start throwing poppers/plastics or slugs around for GT and queenfish.

Last month we had a day where queenfish were herding baitfish like tuna and every cast was followed or smashed. It was seriously adrenalin pumping fishing. This went on nearly all day and we were the only boat out there.

A good tip when hooked up to queenfish is to get more lures into the water. Hooked fish will normally be followed by many others that get excited and it’s possible to get everyone hooked up at the same time, which is quite chaotic but great fun.

Rule number one when chasing queenfish is to wind fast; if fish are chasing and not hitting wind faster.

The fresh water also brings out the fingermark and the end of the jetty is the place to target these freight trains. The neap tides allow you to fish all night without the need for huge weights. Use live squid or herring on a paternoster rig and hang on.

Reef and Islands

Depending on what weather is thrown at us will determine if we can get out to the reef or islands to chase some reef dwellers and pelagics. If the wind is down, then there will be some great fishing on offer.

As last year offered very few days to get out to the reef the amount of fish taken was minimal. Although it was frustrating to see 20 knot+ winds week after week, it means that there are more fish still out there to be caught.

Mackerel will still be hanging around the islands. Trolling lures such as Halco Lasers or X-Raps around current lines and reef drop-offs can see you hooked up to many different species.

Let’s all hope we have a great year ahead of us; rain, rain and more rain is on top of my wish list as the wetter it is the better the fishing when it’s all over. I have some scores to settle with those amazing silver saltwater barra come next month…

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