Weathering The Storm
  |  First Published: March 2011

After watching the devastating floods of South East Queensland and Victoria it has put us all on high alert in the Far North as to what can transpire if Mother Nature decides to unleash its fury.

Most of us are now paying way more attention to weather warnings and have come to the realisation that we all must prepare for the worst if the cards don’t fall our way. Our most horrible case scenario would be copious amounts of rain coinciding with a strong cyclone on a king tide and the results would be monumental. Choosing to live where we do, does have its risks and we must accept these and be ready just in case.

Besides watching our backs for any nasty weather surprises we continue to wet a line in what can be very challenging times during the wet season. Reef fishing expeditions have tapered off in recent times with tourist numbers low and sometimes there’s been inclement weather preventing the locals from heading offshore.

The fishing overall has been tougher, which is expected this time of year, with a strong current running south. For the majority of the time you really need to work hard out on the water trying lots of different locations to scratch up a decent feed.

The turn of the tide can see fish become more active but this hasn’t necessarily lasted for too long. The bar cheek coral trout have been the most consistent fish of late and there has been a smattering of golden trevally, gold spot trevally, sweetlip, large mouth nannygai, stripeys and Moses perch.

Besides the tough fishing conditions, one at this time of year has to have their eyes sharply focused looking for floating debris which can be spread to 25 miles offshore. Logs, barrels and other foreign objects are planting a bit of a minefield offshore so don’t drive around at high speed aimlessly.

Our rivers and creeks are having their moments depending on the amount of rainfall received. Big tides and lots of fresh water has at times made it an inhospitable environment to snag a fish or two. Only when salinity levels return to some normality have we seen some decent results.

River entrances where salt levels are higher have seen some nice barramundi landed using live mullets, and grunter and trevally have been partial to any sort of live bait or fresh dead bait. If you can’t source live bait at this time of year, fresh dead baits can be just as effective with the word ‘fresh’ being the operative word.

Further up the systems the mangrove jack, which tend to relish in the challenging conditions, have been very consistent among fallen snags and any sort of structure. Dead baits, live baits and casting lures have all been successful techniques, especially when you can land your presentation right into the hot strike zone.

The barra have been caught along the entire length of most systems but there is a common thread to their whereabouts. Run off creeks, causeways and pressure points on river bends where bait tends to congregate is where a barra or two will be lurking not too far away.

There’s been some monster saltwater barra caught in the local Dickson Inlet using big 6” live mullet and they have been encountered mainly after dark, which does require a certain breed of angler.

In other areas there has been some quality fish caught from off our local beaches including blue salmon, trevally, mangrove jack and barramundi. These fish are there because of a lot of fresh food flushed out down along the coastline.

Breakthrough creeks are hotspots as well as the sheltered bays which tend to attract prawns and small baitfish. Catching fresh live bait from the location you are fishing is the best way to go about this business. Coincide this with a rising tide early morning or late afternoon and you are giving yourself the best chance. Of course the seas will have to be somewhat calm to see any action transpire.

In the next month or so keep your eyes peeled for jelly prawn hatches in the shallows that will attract all and sundry including queenfish, trevally, giant herring, blue salmon, barra and barracuda. Casting micro metal lures or casting a white/silver small fly will have the fish clambering all over it.

March is a challenge that’s for sure but what happens now sets us up for how good the fishing will be later in the year. Be persistent and you’ll eventually see your rod with a bend or two.

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