Cracking April Catches
  |  First Published: April 2011

April is a cracking month for fishing around the Whitsundays with plenty of options for whatever style of fishing you’re into; whether it is pelagics in the bluewater, reef species, estuary targets, impoundment barra or inshore sportfish.

Excellent Estuaries

The Proserpine River and nearby estuaries should hold some quality fishing during April. The most consistent way to catch fish in this river is to use fresh dead or live baits. Lure fishing can be productive but you’ll often catch more and bigger fish on baits.

Mullet would have to be the best bait for targets such as barramundi, mangrove jack, fingermark and salmon. Prawns are also excellent baits if you can find them.

When throwing a cast net to catch bait, it’s often a idea to target the shallows where the current flow is obstructed. Prawns and mullet usually hold in these areas out of the current.

Once you’ve got your bait, try to target any fishy features such as a drop-off, patch of oyster rocks, timber snags, mangrove roots and rubble or rocky bottoms. Make sure you check your bait every 20 minutes or so in case it’s fallen off the hook or nibbled apart by smaller species.

Larger fish seem to prefer holding in areas where there is cover and deep water nearby. Combine this with a lot of baitfish in the vicinity and you should have a productive estuary spot.

Peter Faust Dam

There have been some good catches in the dam recently, mainly by casting lures such as Rapala X-Raps, TT jighead rigged Squidgy Fish and Squidgy Slick Rigs. Most reports are from anglers casting around the timbered section amongst flooded bushes in the shallows. There have also been a few reports of fish caught trolling in main basin using 3m+ divers during the night.

The lake is currently at 100% capacity making for a lot more ground to fish and the main river channel now extends well up the dam. If you’re planning on fishing Peter Faust Dam during April, make sure you bring a lot of different lures – from top waters such as Rapala X-Rap Walks, soft plastics such as Squidgy Slick Rigs and Z-Mann Swimmerz, and a range of deep and shallow hardbody divers. Give each of these a try and see which works the best as one lure sometimes seems to outfish others at times.

When finding spots and using a depth sounder to locate fish, a side scan unit is very helpful. We use the Lowrance Structure Scan and it’s an amazing piece of equipment. To actually know that a barramundi is nearby, what side of the boat it’s on and where it’s heading is a great advantage when fishing.

You can often see groups of fish moving through the sonar and the picture quality is very good. It has improved our fishing and made us realise just how many fish are actually there sometimes. One evening at Peter Faust Dam we saw about 35 big barramundi move through the sonar in about 40 minutes!

No boat? No problems

If you don’t have access to a boat, there are still plenty of options around Cannonvale and Shute Harbour.

The rock walls and edges near the VMR in Cannonvale can be excellent spots at times. Mangrove jack, barramundi, grunter, GT and queenfish are common encounters around here. It’s often best to use live baits from these areas such as garfish, herring or mullet.

At Shute Harbour the fishing jetty, rock walls and jetty pylons can be fun spots to fish, especially when the sun is low. The best times to fish around these areas is without a doubt first light or during the sunset/night period. These are normally peak feeding times for a range of predator fish.

Conway and Wilsons Beach also have some excellent estuary fishing from the shore. The oyster rocks on the right side point of Wilsons beach is a good spot for barra, jacks, salmon, fingermark and bream. Some very big fish have been caught from here including many big barra and threadfin salmon over 1m.

These big fish usually go for larger baits such as large mullet and prawns. If you catch any big bait in the cast net, make sure you put it out on a fairly heavy line and leader as it could be engulfed by a truly big fish.

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