Top Fishing Despite Murky Water
  |  First Published: May 2011

It might take a while for the water to clear up and bring back the crystal clear water that we are used to over the winter period, but the fishing so far in Townsville is nothing short of amazing! The amount of anglers reporting that this year has been the best barra season to date is a sign of good years of fishing ahead.

Let’s start with the amazing fishing that’s been gracing our foreshore over the past month. Early morning big tides and Townsville’s headlands and beaches is the perfect recipe for a feed of barramundi. Live baits will more often than not come back scaled or better converted into a jumping barra when fishing the run-out tide.

Areas such as Rowes Bay, Pallarenda, Saunders Beach, Toolakea Beach, Toomulla Beach and Balgal Beach can easily adopt the label of ‘hotspots’, and many have brought home a good feed.

May will also see the jelly prawn run start and force predators along these areas. Barramundi, threadfin and blue salmon, queenfish and golden trevally are all for the taking if you’re at the right place at the right time. Try small buck tail jigs and small Gulp soft plastics to match the hatch of the jelly prawn, as presentation is vital when fishing amongst jelly prawns.

It also pays to have a big popper at hand while fishing among the jelly prawns as sometimes monster queenfish can show up, the size of which can dwarf a metre-plus barra. A quick prospect cast out the back with a popper will find a hungry queenfish within the first or second cast, as they can’t resist a bit of action.

May should see the skies start to clear up and begin to settle down before the dominance of the southwesterly winds set in for the winter, where we usually see calmer, cooler days along with crystal clear water.

It’s this time of year that the Magnetic Island shoals notoriously fire as the red fish move in closer with the cooler water temperature. But as recent trips show, the fishing is already on fire and large-mouth nannygai up to 8kg can be regularly encountered in relatively shallow water. Once again the reports of horse red emperor in the same location have taken the shine off the nanny’s with these fish also stretching the scales to 8kg.

Maggie shoals in May is also home to big congregations of Spanish mackerel in the cooler months and it’s in May that we usually find out how early the season will kick off. Early on, the mackerel will start off thick but only around the 6kg mark, but later in the season they average 12kg.

Usually we hear of anglers catching bucket loads of wolf herring a good month before the mackerel season actually starts, then the mackerel move in. It would be wise that you start to find your baits suitable for a chin guard rig and prepare them perfectly for the upcoming season. We all know how hard it is to get wolf herring at the shops when the mackerel are chewing their heads off!

Recently Northern Conquest Charters embarked on a research trip with GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) to assess the damage left from Cyclone Yasi on our fragile reefs. Over the two days the crew documented the damage on 12 of our local reefs with very positive results finding that branching corals suffered the most along with plate corals that were snapped into deeper water. Big bommies were shifted or tipped on their side but the foundations of a healthy reef system still remain. While snorkelling around the affected reefs they did note that they had never seen so many coral trout before, that has to be a positive in my books.

Previous months have proven some of the best fishing we have seen for such a long time, so it leaves us with what winter will bring us in the year 2011? Let’s pray for a bumper mackerel season, oversized red fish and that Mother Nature blesses us with fantastic weather ahead!

Do it ‘cos ya love it!

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