It’s that time of year again – smack bang in the middle of winter and the coldest we have had for some time.
I’m kind of lucky as I don’t feel the cold too much, thanks to a severe bout of ciguatera poisoning 14 years ago that ruined my temperature sensation for life, and it seems our winter barra are not feeling it much either. There have been some top captures gracing photo albums and many rec fishers are having a bunch of fun on the smaller school-sized barra in the gutters and drains.
We are right in the middle of our Spanish mackerel season with excellent captures coming from wide of Hinchinbrook and Mission Beach. The inshore islands have been producing the larger specimens and offshore the school size fish, around the 7-10kg mark.
Golden trevally are also about in good numbers, even way up in the channel, with a few taking deep diving lures meant for barra. Goldens are traditionally an offshore fish but like many other species that you expect to find out wider, they do visit our wonderful maze of waterways that make up the 30 mile long channel. Schools of grey mackerel and northern blue fin tuna are also commonly seen up in the mangrove channels too.
On the reef the coral trout have been firing well and on a recent trip with mates we bagged out after an hour and then went snorkelling all day. Many other groups have also reported great fishing on the reef and the deeper waters have been kind to those chasing reds. Some emperor have been taken between Otter and Yamacutta reefs with some reaching the magic 10kg mark. Octopus or large whole squid are a very popular bait for emperor, and a live pinky or yakka is my go-to prime tempter.
August should be filled with many of the same opportunities. The reef will fish well on the making tides for all species and our run of winter barra will continue. With the abundance of barra around the shallow drains, it would be a good opportunity for those into flyfishing to nail a few decent fish. A well presented fly will not last long in the gutters at the moment.
The best thing about August is the annual run of small marlin in the waters between the mainland and the reef. Trolled skip baits and swimming mullet and yakkas are a great skill to learn if you are chasing these fish. First look for the bait schools that are usually given away by ganets diving around them. Then, troll around the edges of these schools rather than straight through them.
Another technique is to catch some live yakkas on bait jigs and then bridle them through the nose with a size 3 ball sinker right down on a short-shanked live bait hook, or even circle hooks are working a treat these days. Then, try to get over the top of the bait schools and let your livies drift down amongst the baitfish and drift away slowly. Any baitfish that wander from the rest of the crowd are usually snapped up, if not by a billfish it is quite often taken by another tropical speedster. Sailfish are also caught in this manner during the August/September period too.
If you would like to come up for a charter our new boat is now in the water and you can reach us on 0418 538 170 or --e-mail address hidden-- .Reads: 1538