Nannygai kickstart cooler months
  |  First Published: May 2012

The tropical far north got away with quite a moderate wet season this year and now we are back into a more neutral weather pattern with some pretty handy fishing on the go.

Boating conditions have been mostly good which has allowed vessels of all sizes to spread out across the region and take advantage of the many places to wet a line both inshore and offshore.

The rivers, creeks, beaches and headlands have had a steady flow of activity so far with a variety of species on the burst.

The very upper reaches of rainforest rivers have seen the archerfish, sooty grunter, small jack and barra keen to smash small surface lures. Casting surface lures in and under the river bank growth has tempted many frisky fish to follow and catching and releasing up to 30-40 fish per session has been common.

Further downstream where the saltwater influences the system we’ve seen plenty of bigger barra come un-stuck amongst the snags with mangrove jack being a quality substitute. The river and estuary mouths have also seen some really big specimens landed mainly after dark on an incoming tide.

Good sized queenfish and trevally have been busy following the deeper channels and moving across the flats on the high tide. Javelin fish have also been caught across the flats and have been partial to live sardines.

There’s been a solid run of quality fingermark being pulled out from the deeper structures of the river and the grand sized models around the 6-7kg mark have been quite active around our coastal headlands. Amongst these bigger fish have been a mixture of quality island trout and gold spot cod to add variety.

There’s also been some good sportfishing along the beaches with schools of fish marauding the hatches of jelly prawns hugged right in along the water’s edge. The break of dawn on an incoming tide has seen tarpon, queenfish, trevally, dart and the occasional barra smash these minute delicacies. Tiny soft plastic lures or tiny saltwater flies have been the most effective way to replicate this food source and snag a few of these fish as they busily gorge themselves.

This type of fishing is very visually stimulating and it all unfolds right in front of you along the foreshore. The tell tales signs of fish activity are easy to spot with tarpon swimming around with their tails exposed and the water erupts into a boiling frenzy when any of these species are on the attack.

The fishing inshore has been good outside of any heavy rain periods and once the water clarity returned so have the fish. May should see less and less rain and should be a productive month until the chilly nights return, normally towards the end of the month.

When these cold weather snaps arrive it also often coincides with the arrival of the mud crabs in significant numbers and is well worth the effort to track a few of these down.

Offshore the fishing on the reefs have improved steadily after the poor results during March. There has been a considerable spike in captures in recent times on the reef including coral trout, small and large mouth nannygai, reef mangrove jack, Spanish mackerel to around 6kg, Moses perch and cobia.

There have been other species rallying in better numbers but the fish mentioned have shown a considerable improvement. The month of May can be a corker on the reef particularly on the nannygai who really kick start their winter campaign in full force. Bag limits of big fish can be acquired really quickly in the right conditions and the days leading into full and new moons can be super productive.

While reef fishing be sure to have a floating rig out the back with a live bait attached. The Spanish mackerel and the highly aggressive reef mangrove jack will be prominent this coming month. All in all the reef fishing goes to into overdrive at this time of year setting a trend for the months ahead.

Here’s hoping that the southeasterly trade winds can behave this coming month because all the signs are indicating for a positive period ahead whether you like to motor around the creeks or explore the vast blue yonder.

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