It looks like the monsoonal weather has arrived, which will reduce the opportunity for time out on the water.
The previous month has seen its fair share of inclement weather but some good breaks in it has provided many opportunities for anglers.
We have seen some excellent barra captures up the channel and around in Missionary Bay. I’m told the areas around Benjamin Flats have been fishing well for lure anglers. This is a huge area and does see its fair share of traffic but if you persist you will find a few gutters with some good fish lurking nearby.
It’s very important to be in stealth mode when approaching these gutters so a good electric motor is the way to go. There is only one problem when there are a number of boats working a certain area and that is not knowing when the gutter was last worked by someone else – someone could have already hit the gutters only minutes or an hour before without you even knowing. These little gutters and drains are spooked easily and normally only produce a couple of fish before the rest scatter.
When you do have days of heavy traffic in the gutters then it might pay to think outside the square for a change. Go and try somewhere completely new to you or venture out along the expansive flats looking for any isolated structure. The only way to learn is to try different things and not do as others would, and that little piece of advice has served me well over the years.
Other estuary species that have fished well in the past month are blue salmon and fingermark. The blues have been taking lures around the gutters as well as live herring and strip baits meant for other species. Sometimes when they come inshore they really do come in plague proportions. Blues are still a very good table fish but unlike their bigger threadfin cousins they don’t freeze that well. Anymore than a couple of weeks in the freezer will see their quality drop, but fresh they are outstanding.
Fingermark have mainly been taken in the deeper parts of the channel at the moment probably due to the amount of fresh on top of the salt water. Try fishing the deeper holes with some live herring or poddy mullet on both running and dropper rigs.
Offshore reports are a little scattered but I do know that both northern bluefin and mac tuna have been around in good numbers and are providing some great light tackle entertainment. Pretty much anywhere wide of Hinchinbrook is a good place to start looking for these little beauties. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few big marlin hanging with them as we have encountered them at this time of year on the tuna schools before.
March should see similar results on all fishing fronts but once again will depend on weather. Barra will be the number one target as per usual however all the usual species will be available providing we don’t get severe flooding. Towards the end of March I would expect to see the reef fishing scene to pick up again with some good trout and sweetlip ready to feed again.
March should also be a top month for mud crabs so those of you who like a feed should get your pots ready. The best bait for them is chicken frames and big oily mullet as well as most estuary fish frames.
When crabbing one trick is to vary your depths. If you’re not having much luck in the shallows then move your pots out to around 5-6m of water. In Hinchinbrook don’t be afraid to stick your pots around the rocky headlands – the results will sometimes be outstanding.
If you want to come up for a charter and catch your first metre plus barra in either Hinchinbrook or Townsville contact me on our website at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com .Reads: 1242