Magic May Happen
  |  First Published: May 2011

It’s very hard to predict what the weather is going be like this year. Hopefully by May the wet season should be over and nice, clear blue skies should be greeting us every day.

Life is back to normal here in paradise again after what can only be described as the worst few months we have had in a long time. Flood after flood has kept me locked in at Lucinda and all I can do is go fishing...ah life is tough in the tropics.

Now to the fishing, put simply it has been going off! May normally means cooler water currents are starting to push up from down south, but I feel this year may stay warmer for longer. Not that it matters as cooler water currents bring the pelagics and as the run off period will be extended this year the estuaries will still be firing.

Hinchinbrook Channel

Prepare yourself for a smorgasbord of fishing options. At this time of year you have a great chance of hooking up to pretty much every fish that swims. Because of this reason I choose to do much more bait fishing, with live and dead. Most fish will eat lures and plastics but fishing a variety of live and dead baits will have you guessing what kind of fish you are hooked up to next.

The channel has countless creeks and rivers and finding a good place to fish bait is as simple as finding a nice deep hole with some structure. Finding some fresh and live bait such as mullet, prawns and gar is your first task. This isn’t hard if you keep your eye out for bait swimming and flicking in the shallows, a dropping tide about half way down also makes things much easier with less water for bait to hide in. Normally half an hour with the cast net will fill the bucket. Don’t let excess bait go to waste, freeze it down for next time.

If you are going to buy bait then squid, mullet or prawns are the way to go. It is always a good option to bring some ‘emergency’ bait with you just in case fresh bait is hard to come by. A running sinker rig, as small weight as possible and 3/0-4/0 hooks are all you need. An aerator to keep bait alive is very handy and with regular water changes will have your bait alive for most of the day.

The Jetty

May is when you hope to wake early in the morning to breathless conditions. Grab the popper/plastic gear and zip out the jetty for some line tearing mayhem. After Yasi you must stay 100m from the jetty but you will still find fish attacking bait schools all over the place, especially near the sand bars.

Do yourself a favour and pack a light spin outfit and on the rising tide drift over the sand flats in search of big golden trevally feeding on the nipper bed. Long casts and finesse will see your hook up rate soar. I have been using Gulp Worms and Shrimp imitation and they are achieving more bites than lures. You will also catch barra, salmon, whiting and flathead using this technique.

Experiment with light fluorocarbon leader and using light jigheads. The sand flats are also a great land-based option and with some stockings for stinger protection a back pack and a light spin stick you can have a ball.

Reef and Islands

After Yasi much had changed out wider, I know many locals that say they have lost up to half of their spots. Rocks and shoals are demolished or have been moved and spots that were productive are fishing slowly. But not all is lost, we have fished areas we have not fished for years and have been blown away by the fish we have encountered. It seems there are plenty of homeless fish out there that are willing to feed at any opportunity. These fish if you stumble upon them are schooled up and results will amaze you. The nannygai last month were thick and some monsters were boated and bigger fish lost.

This fishing should only improve over the next few months plus the cooler currents will have the pelagics running so remember that mackerel are on the cards so pack the wire just in case.

North Queensland is open for business, come and share our piece of paradise and the amazing fishing it offers. I suggest a routine of casting and knot tying practise followed by push-ups and jogging; if you’re not ready the fish will know. Trust me!

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