Learn about Lucinda
  |  First Published: April 2012

The wet season we were all hoping for finally hit the tropics last month, which meant saying goodbye to the near perfect sunny 5-10 knot days that made boating such a pleasure. March was wet and windy and, given the weather patterns so far this year, it would be a brave person to throw out a prediction for April.

Lucinda offers some massive expanses of water and it is very easy to feel lost and spend your time burning fuel trying to find a good fishing spot. After talking with visitors at the boat ramp and receiving lots of emails, this article will be a fact sheet with hints and advice on fishing Lucinda water.

Weather and Tides

First step in any fishing trip is to check the weather. The technology today is amazing and it is now so easy to receive weather reports for the next week, or even two, at the click of a button.

Wind speed will play a big role in where you can go depending on your boat size (in this instance size does matter). For the tinny brigade anything up to 10 knots can see you over around the Palm islands or fishing the exposed (ocean) side of Hinchinbrook Island. Bramble reef (closest 40km) is also on the cards but experience and care must be taken as this trip is very open and exposed. Those in bigger boats can go where they please but once winds get up around and over the 15 knot mark it all becomes very messy and it’s best to stay close.

Tide charts are one of the most useful bits of fishing equipment, so make sure you use them! You can go fishing at anytime and catch fish but learning to read the tides and targeting certain species and areas at specific times will pay off in the end.

‘No run, no fun’, you hear it over and over again because it’s true. No matter if heading wide to the reefs or heading up the channel, good variance between high and low tide will make the fish more aggressive and willing to bite.

Where to fish

Where to fish? This is the most commonly asked question and unfortunately the hardest to answer. I have about a dozen spots that I am confident of fishing successfully. There’s nothing particularly special about them, it’s just that I have fished them a lot and know when, where, what and how to target them.

Nevertheless, all of my ‘go to’ spots do have three things in common: structure, bait and current. As you head up the channel or any of its hundreds of creeks you are going to see plenty of great locations to fish.

For visitors on a time limit, I recommend selecting a likely looking creek (or two) and fish it from high tide to low tide, all day if you can including the hours of darkness. In two to three days you should be able to work out a successful pattern and start pulling fish consistently.

This is also applicable for out wider. Choose an island or a reef system and work it exclusively for the duration of your trip. There is a lot of lifeless/fishless water out there and burning fuel while searching for that ‘miracle’ mountain in 80m is a waste of time.

Try buying a local angler a beer, or several, and getting a starting mark off them, or at least an area to start trying.

A good tip for those new to the ‘tropical’ game is to research beforehand the desired fish species. There is a wealth of knowledge from TV programmes, books, magazines and on-line on different fish species and techniques to catch them. Whether learning a new technique or finding out what is the best bait for grunter, a little knowledge can count in a big way.

Be Prepared

One of the first fishing magazines I read when I was around 14yo had an article titled ‘More fish are caught in the lounge room than in the water’. In other words, be prepared before hitting the water.

For those visiting from down south, take a look at the fishing gear you are planning on bringing. There is a place for that light and whippy whiting and bream gear but in the long run it is going to get destroyed, and quickly. As a rule, fish in the tropics bite harder, fight longer, run harder and faster and are just mean strong fish. I have caught bream all over Australia and believe southern bream would make good live baits for their northern brothers.

Rods and reels need to be ‘tropical tough’ and have a few different setups. It may mean a few expensive trips to the tackle shop but if you come up here without the right gear you are going to struggle to present baits and lures properly and not stand a chance in landing hooked fish. Remember you are spending the money on the trip so in the end it’s best not to skimp on the small things, like leader line, strong hooks, extra braid (being spooled is common in the north), and lures (when you think you have enough, double that amount).

Next month i will give a run down on rods and reels and terminal tackle to bring on your trip north.

It is very hard to put all the bits and pieces into one article, so until next month please keep the emails coming in and most importantly stay keen – mad keen.

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