The intense build up to the wet season in the tropics is evident in December.
Days are typically hot and humid and very taxing on the body, and we can experience good thundering rainfalls at night as the mercury level rises throughout the day. It is also probably the last consistent month weather wise, before the wet season kicks in proper and dishes up all sorts of factors.
We are now at the trail end of the black marlin season and it has been a ripper in 2011 with plenty reports of big fish being tagged and released on a consistent basis for a couple of months now.
It all started with a cracking Lizard Island tournament in early October and was then followed up by solid reports in the Port Douglas Marlin challenge at the start of November.
In between these events many a boat on their own accord have been ploughing the waters at the edge of the Continental Shelf producing plenty of billfish as well.
The most notable sizes this year have been lots of models between 200lb-350lb and then plenty between 700lb-950lb, which is a healthy sign and shows a good balance between the smaller males and bigger breeding females.
It’s not quite all over yet as marlin should still be raised for a couple of weeks to come and even though the bites might not be as frequent, they’ll be there for those who are prepared to put in the hours.
As a by-catch to the impressive marlin fishing this season we’ve also had a great run on the light tackle sportfishing species including big wahoo to 25kg, Spanish mackerel in excess of 30kg, yellowfin tuna 20kg plus, mahi mahi and big barracuda.
The game season has lived up to expectations this year and many anglers have walked away with big trophy fish under their belt. We no doubt have one of the most vibrant and exciting fisheries in the world and over the next month or so the sailfish will likely to be the dominant billfish caught by recreational anglers and charters amongst wahoo, yellowfin and mahi mahi
On a more sedate level the reef fishing has been getting a tad harder, especially during the day. But the coral trout having completed their spawning process have been a real shining light and the most dominant prized catch.
For those in the know they do tend to congregate in certain areas more so than others to spawn and achieving bag limits has been definitely on the cards once the spawning process has been completed.
As the days get warmer the turns of the tide are paramount to secure your fish and low light periods tend to produce more quantities of fish.
The night time fishing can be exceptional and this is when you’ll come across your big schools of red such as the nannygai and emperor.
When they arrive in numbers at night time it is arm wrestling stuff at a furious pace. As already mentioned though, night time can be notorious for big electrical storms in December, and they can arise out of nowhere, particularly west from the land, packing some incredible power. Do your weather homework meticulously before deciding on a night trip to the reef.
The local rivers and creeks have been very consistent in recent times but also very hot work particularly in our sheltered mangrove systems. December is traditionally a great month for this calm water fishing before we cop copious amount of rain turning our creeks rivers and our rivers into turmoil.
Our bigger rivers systems have been excellent for fingermark, queenfish and also grunter across the shallower flats. In the upper reaches there have been barra, jacks and trevally pushing right upstream with the flow of the saltwater on those big tides.
Our estuaries and smaller creeks have fired more so for mangrove jack, barra (caught and released) and mid-sized giant trevally. River and creek mouths have seen blue salmon, flathead, tarpon, queenfish and trevally all quite active on the incoming tides and ideally during early morning or late afternoon periods.
A change of the tide during the low light periods is prime time now and the night time fishing can be extremely productive as well. The middle of the day can more often than not be lifeless as any living creature seeks solace to escape the heat of the day. It’s time to fish smarter and not harder in December.
With Christmas at the end of the month, if you are travelling up this way and would like to join a charter, book now. There are already only a handful of spots left with certain operators. Enjoy the festive period in see you in the New Year.Reads: 1942