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Cusp of Fishing Climax
  |  First Published: August 2011



We are now on the downside of slipping out of our winter pattern and are on the cusp of the best time of year for fishing in the tropics. We’ve been dealt some really cool and windy days in recent times so now we’ll see the temperature gradually rise and all the tropical species being quite active.

From a calm water inshore perspective we’ve seen some handy fishing over the past month from winter species with queenfish, golden trevally, grunter and sometimes school mackerel making a bit of noise, especially on the neap tides that have offered clearer water conditions.

With a slight rise in water temperature on its way this will slowly awaken our prized barramundi from its slumber, the mangrove jack will be twitching and the highly sort after fingermark will make better progress.

It’s a great time to dust off those lures and soft plastics and explore as much turf as possible, casting away as water conditions improve.

Start putting back those smelly, old dead baits back into the freezer; they served their purpose in the harshest of times. Instead source the good quality live baits that are now available like mullet, sardines and herring; these will produce a higher quality catch.

Positioning yourself in front of the incoming tide initially and following it upstream is a great way to track the fish especially the nomadic variety such as trevally and queenfish. High tides will see good numbers of grunter on the flats and the deep holes further upstream holding structure will hold trevally, queenfish and hopefully a few fingermark.

As the tide is peaking it is a good time to target the barra amongst the snags using live baits. On the turn of the tide hit the pressure points on corner bends and there you’ll hopefully come across some more barra and a few frisky jacks. The outgoing tides seem to be producing more results casting lures and soft plastics hard up against the banks.

Offshore many of our coastal inshore patches and wrecks have been holding masses of bait and in tow are a variety of pelagics including mackerel and giant and golden trevally.

Drifting over these bait schools with live sardines or working the water column with jigs has come up trumps for some monster fish.

Jigging at a rapid rate up and down will not go unattended for too long and a variety of jigs have been successful including knife jigs, Bumper Bars, Raider lures, Octo-lures and big soft plastics. Jigging is tiring work but once you’ve established a good technique you’ll find this form of fishing very rewarding and a lot of these fish are big and powerful.

The Spanish mackerel are now parading in good numbers further out on our local outer reefs and once you’ve sourced them, reaching bag limits (three per angler) is becoming child’s play. If you can come across them at the right time when they are in their aggressive moods, it will be a case of bang, bang, bang, and game over.

Trailing lures gives you the best opportunity to source this prime location. Don’t be afraid to also put out a few rigged garfish or skirted lures as the small black marlin are now bobbing up and often you’ll find these beauties where the mackerel are feeding.

August over the years has traditionally been a good time to see the start of the marlin action for the season. While they are the junior stallion models, they are also awesome fun on light tackle. Landing a small marlin on 6kg line is something I’m inspiring to achieve.

Well the reef fishing continues on its merry way and a day spent reef fishing has more often than not reaped great hauls of fish including large-mouth nannygai, small-mouth nannygai, red emperor, spangled emperor, coral trout, cobia, reef mangrove jack, sweetlip and trevally varieties.

In calm conditions fish as deep as possible for your big reds and if the wind is up the deeper protected reef edges are holding plenty of coral trout, spangled emperor, stripeys and sweetlip.

We mentioned last month the huge contingency of Chinaman fish that arrived with a huge impact. From reports they have remained prolific mainly just north of Undine Reef, which is also a good place for red emperor. If you travel further north to this area don’t be surprised if the Chinaman become the main catch of the day.

It’s pretty simple from this point on, good weather and clean water are the key elements to an enjoyable day on the water whether it be up one of our lovely river systems or out on the blue highway of the Great Barrier Reef. Outside of this stay at home and just wait for those ripe conditions.

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