May is a great time to be an angler in Lucinda with the waters offshore mixing with the cooler currents from down south. This means a transition period which sees the pelagics begin to turn up in better numbers. Let’s get ready to rumble!
What’s most important is these fish are getting hungry and are about to terrorise the bait schools that we hope will show up in huge numbers.
At this time of the year the estuaries begin to fish slower for fish such as barra and jacks, but the clean blue water out wider really fires up with all sorts of finned speedsters.
Mackerel are now on top of most hit lists and the many islands and reefs should hold quite a few. As always fish areas with strong current lines and bait schools – you can bet the mackerel won’t be far away.
This month I will give a short run down on the gear you should be bringing along on your trip.
Not many of us are lucky enough to be sponsored or own our own tackle store, but here is a minimum list of rod/reel combos that you need Obviously if you’re only going to fish the creeks then only bring that gear, this is enough gear to allow you to target anything and anywhere.
In the estuary I would have a 6-10kg baitcast or spin combo for casting lures and plastics. You need these heavier rods in case encounter one of those monster barra North Queensland is known for. A 6-10kg combo is also ideal for live and dead baits. Something lighter like a 4-6kg combo is ideal for having fun on the flats chasing smaller fish.
Offshore essentials would start with a 10kg spin set up to throw poppers, plastics and slugs at the vast array for pelagics on offer. If the pelagics aren’t on then you need a 24kg combo is ideal for bottom bashing and trolling. If big fish is your plan, go for a 24-37kg combo to do some heavy jigging or heavy trolling.
With the above combos and a little bit of rig adjustment you can pretty much target all that the tropics has to offer.
The most important thing is buy the best gear you can afford. Cheap gear will not last and in the long run will cost you more replacing it. I’m not saying rush out and by a Shimano Stella, options like the Saragosa is a third the price and performs very well.
Research into certain rods and reels will save you money so just pop down to the local tackle store and ask questions. Spend more on the reel than the rod if it comes to a choice.
For the sake of a few dollars buy the best quality gear that offers strength and dependability. One lost fish to a failed hook or swivel will remain in your memory for a very long time. Trust me, I’ve been there and I still toss and turn at night because of it.
It is a good idea to bring a range of terminal tackle from swivels, sinkers and hooks. For out wider the use of snapper leads is very handy but you can go through quite a few due to strong fish and an unforgiving bottom. Strong and sharp hooks are mandatory in all sizes but most commonly you will be using 3/0 in the estuary and creeks and 6/0-7/0 for the reef.
Leader line for the creeks should be in the 40-50lb range and for out wide 80-100lb will do the job. It is good to bring a spool of lighter leader and wire trace. Make sure you also have fluorocarbon handy if things get tough or stealth is needed.
When it comes to lures and plastics then you want to be able to cover all the bases. You need a range of lures to fish the surface down to the bottom.
Although not a rule, lures for the estuaries are normally around the 6-12cm mark and for out wider lures in the 14-24cm range with the ability to be trolled at a faster speed. A box of metal slugs and jigs in a variety of sizes and a bag full of plastics will mean you have pretty much everything covered. Throw in a skirted lure or two just in case you want to tangle with those pointy-nosed beasts.
The majority of lures will need their hooks and split rings replaced as they are not up to the job. There are a few Aussie lures out there that are built ‘tropical tough’, but not many. So bring spare trebles and rings.
Well that pretty much covers the basics. I won’t scare you about how quickly your full tackle box can be depleted thanks to GT, mackerel, barra and anything with teeth, but that shoudn’t deter you, it should spur you on!
The ability to tie a good knot quickly with the shaky hands you will get from the beast that wiped you is a great asset. You’ve got to love tropical fishing!!
On a parting note, bring a camera and a spare memory card as Lucinda not only offers amazing fishing but breathtaking scenery.
Remember to release unwanted fish carefully to keep our fishery improving – we can all do our bit to help.Reads: 1011