April is one of my favourite months to fish in North Queensland. The rain eases and the water clarity starts to return back into the creeks and river systems.
It’s when we can finally say that the new snags of 2011 will most likely stay put for the remainder of the year, affording anglers ‘new secret hotspots’. It’s also one of the most prosperous times to fish as there are massive changes and cycles that occur, which in turn dictates the fishing.
Big tides this time of year do their best to draw out any remnants of brackish/dirty water and with it get fish and crustaceans on the move. Like a flick of a switch, loads of bait return into the creeks after a short stint out at sea in search for salt water.
With the arrival of the bait, comes the congregation of predators and the number one fish on everyone’s mind – the barramundi. The run off fishing this year has been phenomenal and with so much consistent rain over the past few months, its duration will still flow into this month. Areas such as Haughton and Aplins weir have produced some monster fish, with a swag of rats to go with them. Keep in mind that the two weirs above Aplins (Gleesons and Black) rarely produce undersize barra, although their eating quality is questionable and releasing fish here is encouraged.
Soft plastics have by far out fished all other types of lures including the ever popular Gold Bomber, and I reckon it’s because of its ability to be fished at any depth. The old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ should be applied, and this will put your lure in the face of a hungry barra anywhere in the water column.
If action and excitement is your kind of game, then try using fizzers at first light and dusk. There no better buzz than a big barra boofing at a surface lure, and 9 times out of 10 it’s right at your feet! My favourite lure of choice is definitely the Koolabung Herring Fizzer, and if left to sit for long periods between bloops you will catch more fish!
If you haven’t found any of the big prawns that run this time of year by now, then April is definitely the time to work the moons. Areas such as Ross Creek, Ross River and the northern beaches should start to show these trademark prawns. I have heard of the jelly prawns working these areas so I would imagine the big fellas won’t be far away!
Although the water colour has resembled Gloria Jeans’ favourite brew, the inshore red fishing has been surprisingly good. Those not keen to venture out past the Island and Cape Cleveland have found good fingermark from isolated hot spots close to the mainland. April and May will see this species slowly drop off with the change in temperature which in turn will mean a change in target species.
The shoals come alive during the cooler months and although April is far from winter it will still hold a lot of baitfish because of the late wet. I remember one year of a really early start to the Spanish mackerel season, simply because of the amount of bait holding on the dirty water colour change out near the shoals. So defrost the garfish and rig up the wogheads!
Another change that will occur is the gradual increase in size and numbers of nannygai and red emperor. The change will see better numbers and bigger fish move into the shallower water along with Spanish mackerel and longtail tuna. Night will see even bigger fish move in on the shoals and can showcase what the shoals are famous for.
We should also see some changes occur out at the reefs as well, with certain species starting to show up in good numbers once again. One of my favourite fish, the red throat emperor, usually begins to surface from April onwards and should be regular fished until late in the year. Those thinking about a deep water jig for dogtooth should take advantage of any good weather coming up in the near future as the sport fishing out wide really starts to slow down. But who’s to know when the cool change will approach us?
In the meantime keep fishing and enjoy every glorious minute of good weather that Townsville is famous for!Reads: 868