Line burn warms anglers
  |  First Published: July 2012

After what we can only call a terrible month of weather in June, most fishos will be hoping for some kind of relief from the persistent winds.

It can get rather depressing when the forecast seems to read the same day after day. The main reason it gets you down is because the fish are out there and they will be hungry. Winter is here and what better way to warm up then doing battle with some drag melting fish.

Hinchinbrook Channel

The channel has been very quiet over the last month due to a lack of baitfish and some dirty water caused by some days of constant rain. There have been a few reports of some nice grunter being caught up in the Benjamin Flats area on the rising tide. Finding a suitable spot and anchoring in the sun as the tide starts to flow is probably the best way to bring home a feed.

When chasing grunter it’s a really good idea to allow them a little slack line when they bite as they will normally mouth the bait and swim off while eating it. If you strike too early you will feel the weight of the fish but won’t set the hook. The same can be said if using rod holders where just a little slack line can make a difference.

Bait feeder type reels are worth their weight in gold in this type of fishing and if you are serious about chasing grunter they make a great investment, and can improve your hook up rate.

Flathead have dominated catches for those out throwing lures and plastics around. They really seem to come out of nowhere during winter; I can go the entire warmer months rarely catching any to seeing several in one day. They really do resemble lizards when they reach that 80cm plus range, and a recent trip saw two monster flathead smash our barra lures in the shallows – great fun.

Chasing flathead is very similar to fishing for barra on the sand and mud flats. Ideally you want your flathead lure or plastic bumping along the bottom stirring up mud and sand. Flathead are great sport fish especially on light line and in the shallows can make long runs and big head shakes that will really get the blood pumping. Flatties are also top tucker on the dinner plate and have superb white flesh, however it’s always best to return larger fish back to the water as they are the breeders.

Palm Islands and reef

There isn’t much to report from last month as the weather didn’t allow many to get out wide and have a go. Some big boats that snuck out did pretty well with some trout and sweetlip up in the shallower water. As the water temperatures drop it is now time to chase trout in 10-30m of water.

There are still nannygai to be caught but sharks are still causing havoc and heartbreak stealing these highly sought after fish. On the few occasions I was able to get over to the Palms there was a distinct lack of baitfish, which meant the mackerel are probably still patchy at best.

Hopefully as the next few months roll by this is all going to change and the speedsters are going to turn up and play the game. The many various bays on Hinchinbrook are also lacking in solid bait schools and I’m still yet to hear of consistent reports of mackerel captures.

July should be an amazing time to be heading out wide for some action if the weather allows with a great mix of pelagics and hungry bottom dwellers.

It is still great being out on the water and the last month was really tough in terms of consistent fishing, but if it was easy everyone would be doing it! When the weather won’t allow it and the fishing is quiet there is never a better time to try new things and fish new places. Everyone can still learn something and that is what is great about fishing.

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