No excuses this month - change of tactics required.
  |  First Published: June 2012

The cooler currents are here and it’s an entirely different world out on the water. June is the month to start changing tactics both in the estuaries and out wider. I’m still new to the offshore scene but what I do know is drag should be tearing off our reels at a quick rate. Bring it on.

The days lobbing lures to aggressive barra are all but done for year. Picking times, tides and location correctly will still see you with good results, but in general you have to work harder for them.

Your best chance of hooking up to a barra is to gather live bait and soak them near structure and wait. Find a nice hole or rock bar and set up some running sinker rigs.

At this time of year I prefer to fish in the afternoon because it is when the water is at its warmest. Fishing around the last few hours of the dropping tide and the first couple of the making tide is the most productive.

My favourite fish to chase in the cooler months is the blue salmon. On an incoming tide it’s possible to encounter massive schools of these fish swimming upstream actively hunting. Look for creeks that have good sand bars instead of mud as these fish seem to love feeding over sand.

On a still day you can clearly see packs of salmon all honing in on your lure or plastic. These fish show aggression that you would normally associate with pelagics such as mackerel or tuna. It’s very easy to reach your bag limit when they are feeding so aggressively, so practice catch and release and enjoy the fun. Blue salmon are delicious eaten fresh.

Silver grunter will be in better numbers and fishing the creek holes at night can see some nice fish in the boat. Fresh or live prawns are the best bait but a butter-flied herring or sardine will certainly do. Grunter always move in to a creek with the tide so they should be targeted as the tide rises.

Islands and reef

Spending a few hours trolling around the Palm Islands is a great way to find a few mackerel. Note that the Palm Islands are affected by green zones so check out the zoning map and watch the GPS carefully.

A great way to fish and explore the many islands is to troll a spread of lures and keep a good eye on the sounder for any structure. When good structure or bait is found simply mark it on the GPS, get the troll rods in and have a drift over the area using baits, plastics or jigs. This technique allows you to cover plenty of ground and helps you discover new fishing spots.

Places that are subject to stronger currents such as points on the islands are the best place to target mackerel. Strong current means current lines, eddies and bait, which leads to congregations of predatory fish. The same areas will also see you hooking up to longtail tuna and cobia.

Trolling these areas will get you fish but for more fun locate the bait and mackerel on the sounder and use poppers and jigs to entice them to the surface. In low light mackerel feed much higher in the water column meaning they are a sucker for a well-worked popper or slug. This is adrenalin pumping fishing.

Dropping bait into a bommie around the islands can have you hooked up to many different reefies. The most common are stripeys, red throat, sweetlip and spangled emperor. The odd coral trout and red emperor are boated occasionally as well as thug GT that love to punish you by stealing braid and burying you into the unforgiving bottom.

Chasing trout becomes easier during winter as they move up in the shallows to rest and feed. Working plastics on the shallow bommies on an outgoing tide can be so much fun it should be banned. You can watch your plastic drop down the side of a bommie only to see it get smashed by anything and everything. You normally only pull one or two fish off each bommie in the shallow stuff so it best to move on once a fish has been landed.

There are plenty of great options at the moment and they are all fishy! Add the perfect weather and it will be an anglers’s paradise.

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