August Gold in Paradise
  |  First Published: August 2011

August is here and this is the last of our cooler months and Mackay has had some days down to 4ºC, which for us is damn cold, but I guess we can put up with a couple of nights like that here is paradise.

At least we are fortunate to have good fishing available despite the cold weather and during the winter we do get those beautiful days when the seas are calm, there is little wind and the sky is cloudless.

Last month queenies and snapper were the big news and this month is more of the same with a few extras thrown in. The golden trevally which seem to be around in numbers whenever the snapper are here, have put in a very welcome appearance and quality fish are being caught at the mouth of the Pioneer, and all the close inshore islands including those around Seaforth.

Goldens are often mixed in with queenies and provide just as much fun although they don’t get airborne during the tussle. They are tough fish though and in deeper water a decent golden will give a good account of itself with its bulldogging runs and solid side on profile giving tremendous resistance against the angler and his efforts. Just like queenfish, goldens are not that fussy when it comes to baits, lures or flies.

Many are caught around here on pilchards, yabbies or prawns, while strips of mullet or garfish have been popular baits for years. Small live fish like whiting are also top baits for these mighty hustlers.

For the lure angler, goldens can be caught trolling minnows or shinies or by casting almost any type of lure. I like using shinies as they cast really well and allow you to cover plenty of ground and any depth of water. Heavy jigs, big plastics and even high speed bibless minnows have all taken goldens around Mackay. The big soft plastic “baits” on strong jigheads, will in my opinion, eventually become the No 1 method of chasing goldens. Like shinies these can be worked along the bottom, midwater or scooted along just under the surface.

There are heaps of plastics around so get into your local tackle shop and have a browse. Remember goldens eat small fish, prawns yabbies etc so a plastic that imitates this type of food will obviously get hammered if you put it in the right placePlastic worms 15mm or longer will also get the best results.

Years ago when I used to do an annual trip to the reef on the Whylaway I often used big worms fished on the bottom and caught plenty of top fish on them. They are very versatile and will work just as well on inshore goldens.

For the fly angler, the biggest hassle is the wind, and as long as you are a passable caster (which is all I am) goldens are very achievable and will take a wide range of flies such as pink things, deceivers and prawn imitations. When you think about it they will hit almost any fly and sometimes the most sparsely tied Clouser or similar will get the right results. A slow sink line is the best for goldens, with a 20kg flourocarbon leader and a moderate speed retrieve.

Goldens of course are not the only trevally we catch around Mackay. There are plenty of GTs and diamond trevally around at the moment too. Again these fish are likely to be tangled up with goldens or not very far away at all.

So I guess the best way to score a golden or two is to get out there now and work likely places and well known hotspots such as those around Flat and Round Top islands, the mouths of estuaries and any bait located in deeper water. It really can be as simple as finding the bait and the predators are there too.

Of course you could miss out on goldens and end up with queenies, snapper, cobia or a mackerel or two. It sure is hard to live here in paradise.

Crabs have surprisingly continued to turn up in the pots all through winter, and this year has to be the best crabbing for ages. So whenever you are down in the mangroves chuck in a pot or two with some fresh bait, but don’t wander too far away as there are regrettably plenty of pot lifters about.

The estuaries and creeks continue to fish well with whiting, flathead and bream the mainstays during August and moving into the warmer months. As the water warms a bit, start looking out for barra, jacks and fingermark all through the estuary systems.

Up in the freshwater, the barra are stirring out of their cold weather hibernation and are ready to put on a show throughout spring and summer.

Kinchant Dam is still THE place for really big barra here and good numbers have turned up right through the cooler months. My spies tell me the water in Teemburra has ‘turned’ and that usually means things are pretty quiet for a couple of weeks, so by the time this issue hits the stands, it should be firing up big time.

The later part of August will see warmer weather and an increase in action in the dams.

So no matter what your preference in angling, Mackay offers plenty of opportunities year round. It sure is tough living here in paradise, so why not come visit and see for yourself? See you at the ramp.

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