I see Red, Red, Red
  |  First Published: May 2011

Hopefully the thought of the record wet season gone by is fading from our memories and we can now reap the rewards of the ‘big wet’. As it often occurs, a ‘big wet’ transfers into a good year of fishing ahead.

We well and truly have some amazing fishing following this period. All aspects of the sport, whether inshore or offshore, have seen some incredible fishing action over the last month or so. Fresh schools of bait, prawns and crustaceans are in healthy supply and the fish species are taking full advantage.

On the reef, the warmer months can be difficult but the tail end of the wet season has seen results comparable to the cooler months when the fishing is at its optimum for the year. With the southerly current kicking in earlier this year it has sparked a more active attitude from our reef species and importantly the red models we all love best. I haven’t seen such a good supply of reds being caught over the wet season.

Big red emperor and large mouth nannygai in impressive numbers have been the order of the day for some time now and it makes the mind boggle as to how good this will get as we enter the cooler months. I suspect it will be a bumper year and a pleasing sign is we are also seeing the small mouth nannygai returning in numbers, which for some unknown reason fell off the radar last year. The mackerel species did disappear over the tail end of the wet season but are now picking up their game and turning up in better numbers.

You add these great species to the highly sort after coral trout that will only grow in stature in the next month or so, and what you have is a very exciting prospect ahead. I always have May pencilled in as a must-fish month for the reef because it is when the reef fin species really kick into gear as the water temperatures fall.

What we’ve seen in more recent times is a shift in focus from the outer reef to the coastal reefs for some pelagic action. With all the freshwater we received over the months the coast line is inundated with masses of bait schools and there’s been some big predators taking up the offer.

Northern bluefin tuna in excess of 15kg and hordes of big giant trevally over the 20kg mark have been smashing their way through these schools on a regular basis. Even the dolphin population has moved in and taken advantage of the abundance of food on offer.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in the coming month, but if you get a nice calm day it could be still worth exploring these coastal waters armed with trolling lures, poppers and metal slices in a variety of sizes. I suspect the initial saturation of bait from March will last for some time, and while it is still there so will the fish.

As the rains eased off the rivers, creeks and beaches started to produce handsomely for our targeted species of barramundi, mangrove jack and fingermark. We’ve also seen some handy sized queenfish starting to visit the bigger river systems, and there’s been the usual haunt of trevally as well.

Along the beaches we’ve experienced some fantastic barra action particularly on dark, feeding adjacent to the break through creeks that flow after a good rain. There’s also been some monster dusky flathead lying in wait and there’s been plenty of reports of 70cm+ size fish being sighted in the shallows.

The tarpon schools have been busy early morning feeding on the jelly prawn hatches and it has been a hive of activity on day break. Will this wonderful trend continue for our inshore fishery in the coming month? My sources tell me quite possibly considering the mega burst of new life created after the ‘big wet’. If the southeasterly trade winds can hold back another month it will go a long way to ensuring an exciting period again.

All the signs are there to suggest the fishing will continue to fire on all fronts. If planning a fishing holiday in 2011, I would not be looking any further than the Far North, the fishing will be awesome!

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