Estuaries and bays produce for cape anglers
  |  First Published: March 2012

March can often be the most productive month of the year as long as the tropical monsoon has started to clear. If you need proof look at the myriad of prawn boats working the bays and barramundi anglers plying the western rivers of Cape York.

Barramundi will be a major target at times this month. One of my preferred methods of catching barra this time of year is casting surface lures during the early evening or the first few hours after sun-up. A colour change as a drain pours out under some overhanging mangroves will be a great place to begin with a few poppers. Seeing the tell tale signs of barra boofs or threadfin salmon chasing jelly prawns will signal the time to begin casting.

Many creeks and rivers will have a colour change somewhere near their mouths and again at the front of feeder creeks close by. Casting your lures slightly up or across current and popping or blooping them downstream across the colour change is a sure fire way of attracting surface strikes.

This type of fishing is so addictive and keeps many of us slapping swarms of mozzies from our face looking at a darkening mangrove line into the evening waiting for that next big surface strike.

Accounting for experience and luck, I prefer to use mostly fizzers on the east coast estuaries and poppers or dog walkers on the west coast saltwater estuaries.

Getting up into the fresh water reaches and lagoons this time of year can also be extremely productive. Surface lures can now take many different forms and all will work during certain scenarios, but on the whole, try and keep your size to a minimum and have very good hooks to secure strikes.

There is no denying the frustrations that come with watching barramundi and saratoga missing your offerings as they try and engulf them from below. Anglers never fail to be surprised when the strike comes and often react by whipping the lure away from the hungry fish below. Try your best to leave the lure floating on the surface for a split second and then slowly start the retrieve again. Both fish can often be coaxed into a second and third strike if given the opportunity.

Heading north from the creeks and bays of the Cape and into the turquoise waters of the Torres Strait will see anglers anxiously awaiting the disappearance of the monsoon trough, strong winds and rain. Quite often the winds will have shifted from the strong northwesterlies into the more predictable trade winds that blow in varying consistency at 5-30knots from the south and southeast. This period begins February/March and goes most of the way to Christmas.

That being said calm mornings will be available in March as cray divers, reef anglers and adventurous souls of all sorts start criss-crossing the Torres Strait. This truly remote country the island people seem to traverse so easily is a blue-water paradise. Harsh and brooding volcanic islands all the way through to gentle palm-fringed sand bays – you can see it all. When the weather glasses out and a moderate tide is running, the fishing can be epic.

Over the next few months I will try and give a little run down on different fishing options in the far Northern Cape and Torres Strait. Hopefully a few pictures kicked in from friends like these couple from Tom Lloyd and others who have lived and travelled up in these parts will help paint the picture of just how amazing this part of Australia is.

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