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Stacks of Summer Species
  |  First Published: March 2011



March in the Whitsundays is a great time to fish with lots of different options.

Read on for a rundown of what species might be worth targeting this month as well as a few tips to help improve your fishing.

Rivers and Creeks

Saltwater barra, king salmon, flathead, bream and grunter will all be on offer around the rivers of the Whitsundays in March. Proserpine River will be the most likely and popular place to target these fish as it’s such a big river system with easy access from the boat ramp situated along Conway Road near the river mouth.

O’Connell River to the south is also a large system with a good population of these fish species. Although it’s harder to access with a boat, it’s a river that can provide great fishing at times. Other systems to try are the Repulse River and Thompson Creek, which have both provided some good results in the past.

If you’re planning to use lures in the rivers and creeks and want a good chance at catching a range of species then we’d recommend using smaller hardbodies and plastics in the 80-100mm size range. These smaller baits are a great way to get more bites and generally have more fun catching a few different species as all sizes of fish eat them. Our favourites are small Rapala X-Raps, TT jighead rigged Squidgy Fish and Squidgy Wrigglers.

If you’re planning to use bait as your choice for the rivers and creeks then any fresh bait that you catch in a cast net should be fine. Try using different bait, hook and sinker sizes until you find what works best for the speed of the tide flow and what types of fish that are biting that day.

Islands

Whenever the weather is nice it is a good time to be fishing around the Whitsunday Islands, and March should be exceptionally good as it approaches winter taking a little bit of that bite out of the mid-day sun.

Coral trout will be worth targeting in the shallows of the islands if you’re a keen lure angler. They are found under shady ledges and gaps between large rocks in the shallows and can be caught by retrieving soft plastics and hardbodies up in tight to the structure.

They’ll also be on offer in the deeper waters for anglers using bait. They can be found near the edges of steep reef drop-offs and around isolated rocks or bommies in deeper water. Be sure to try bigger fish baits for the chance at catching a larger specimen. Pleasant by-catches with this technique could include reef species such as spangled emperor as well as other species like golden trevally and even cobia.

We have found low light periods such as around sunrise and sunset to be the greatest times to be targeting big GT around the Whitsundays and we’ve even tried catching these fish after dark. It’s quite challenging casting large surface lures on heavy gear at night but it can be worth the effort.

Larger sized trevally actively feed at night commonly on squid and small fish like fusiliers and herring so by fishing at night you increase your chance of catching a big one. The bigger GT usually roam along hunting for food individually rather than in a school so it pays to spend a decent amount of time thoroughly fishing an area.

Land Based

Fishing from the shore around the mainland has become quite a popular activity for locals as well as tourists visiting the area. The rock walls near the sailing club in Cannonvale, the Airlie Beach Marina and the fishing pontoon in Shute Harbour are the three most popular spots to fish from the shore.

Anglers have been catching a variety of different species including barramundi, mangrove jack, GT, queenfish and grunter. If you’re planning on giving it a go then time your trip when there’s some water moving from the tide run as the slack tide period usually isn’t as productive for most species.

The simple and effective hook and running sinker rig with fresh bait can have you hooking into quality fish and is a great way for beginners to start out in fishing. Lures can also be used to great effect from these shore spots and our favourites are the smaller-sized Spanyid Raider metal slices retrieved at high speed for the pelagics and Squidgy Slick Rigs and Squidgy Fish on heavily weighted TT jigheads for most of the other species you might encounter.

Well, there’s some of our inside information for fishing the Whitsundays in March. It should be a great month for fishing as there’s a variety of different species on offer so get outdoors and enjoy it!

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