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Anglers smiling despite rain
  |  First Published: March 2012



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To be honest I thought this article was going to forecast a very dim outlook for fishing prospects in March. However the first stages of the official wet season in the far north have proven to be anything but doom and gloom.

In fact it has been quite the opposite with generally favourable boating conditions, great fishing and only snippets of heavy monsoonal rainfall. This isn’t to say that these trends will continue because mother nature in the tropics has an uncanny knack of knocking you on your bum in the blink of an eye.

At this point in time I can do nothing but gloat about the fishing catches that have been filtering through the files. Firstly the offshore fishing wide of the shelf has been quite exceptional. Strings of calm days have allowed bigger vessels to venture out to the yellowfin and blue marlin grounds some 90nm from the coast.

Yellowfin in excess of 50kg have been encountered in strong numbers and the blue marlin bite on stand up gear has seen a solid strike rate.

I was recently lucky enough to be part of a trip out wide where we caught two blue marlin up to 550lb and four supersized yellowfin tuna over 50kg in a morning session. This is exceptional fishing in anyone’s terms. We did catch other billfish and fish species during the trip but this particular short hot session was an absolute stand out.

Albeit a very long way to travel to catch a fish or two the rewards were suitably justified. If you ever get the chance to visit certain grounds like the Seamount and Holmes Reef and you strike the right conditions, you’ll be in for one hell of a fun time.

Closer to home the fresh cobalt currents hitting the gaps and edges to the shelf has produced some superb fishing for the light tackle scene with a mixture of yellowfin and skipjack tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, Spanish mackerel and sailfish being caught at various times.

Further down the wish list for some were droves of trevally peppering the lures providing non-stop action and fun. From reports the majority of trips to the outer edges enjoyed some success on different species. One must say that with the assistance of mostly calm seas it has been a great finish to the game fishing season, which is due to finish up at any point.

The outer reef fishing for reef fin species has also seen some productive times for the average punter. Coral trout, reef mangrove jack, red emperor, cobia, Spanish mackerel and large mouth nannygai have featured heavily at times.

Naturally there have been some terribly quiet days, normally associated with outrageous currents or shark invasions, but overall for this time of year you’d have to say it has been above par. Again the weather has given local anglers plenty of opportunity to head offshore and with more people on the water you are going to see more results.

The quality and size of fish as opposed to shear numbers has been the main highlight. One would like to think that the coming month may offer the same, but thinking with the head and not the heart, one would say maybe not this time around.

This run of good fortune has also translated to good reports in our local rivers and creeks. With no serious flash flooding in the early stages of the new year, it has meant that our systems have maintained pretty good water clarity most of the time and there has been a spurt of new life with some nice rainfalls mainly at night being recorded.

All your likely suspects have been caught at various times including barramundi, mangrove jack, fingermark, tarpon, grunter, queenfish and trevally to name a few. Turns of the tide that coincide with an early morning or late afternoon have seen the best action whether it be using live baits or artificial lures.

Those break through creeks that open up along the beaches during the wet season have also attracted a variety of sought after species. Flathead, barra, blue salmon, dart, trevally and queenfish have taken advantage of the new food source along with your big brutish fish such as black tip reef sharks and shovel nose rays.

Freshly sourced live bait or fresh slabs of fish fillet have been doing the trick. Sitting under a palm tree on a tropical balmy evening with a beer in hand and a line in the water is the one of the spoils we enjoy in the far north.

It’s hard to predict what the coming month has installed for us. Traditionally it is probably the most challenging one to wet a line, but things have not been too dire to date. Who knows, it may just be one of those wet seasons which is mild in manner and the fishing keep rolling along nicely. Hopefully the next report is as prosperous as this one.

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