Welcome to the new year and hope you are enjoying your holiday break. In the Port Douglas region it is all systems go as we have an influx of visitors enjoying what we have to offer during the festive season including our fishing opportunities.
The rivers and creeks have been firing consistently with an array of species on the move. Mangrove jack, in particular, has been very aggressive and have been registered up to 50cm and more. At this size they will test any angler and their impact is explosive.
Whether luring or baiting you need to lock up drag systems and apply as much pressure as possible before they take you into the bricks. Non-stretch braided line is recommended when targeting jacks and it is best to use around 30lb in breaking strain.
Jacks can be found in many different areas but they are more concentrated around fallen timber, small run-off creeks, harbour pylons and under the bases of big mangrove roots. For fresh bait, garfish slabs, sliced sardines or the good old pilchard are all very effective.
Medium to deep diving lures work best and reputable brands include Flatzrat, Shad Rap, C-Lure and Mad Mullet. If luring, keep your lure in the zone for as long as possible. Work the lure within the first couple of feet of your target.
There are plenty of other quality fish on the chew at the moment, including fingermark. They can be found in the deeper holes on the slackest part of the tide and they are very partial to a live sardine fluttered in front of their noses.
Numerous incidental barra have been reported in brackish water upstream and there is always a good supply of estuary cod, grunter and bream to keep you entertained in between.
Sweeping tides have seen swarms of smaller queenfish and trevally enter our systems charging down the abundance of small bait. There are a few bigger species amongst them and they will engulf a lure or live bait as well. They concentrate in small patches causing considerable disturbance on the surface. Even though they are not monster fish, they'll provide pure entertainment on light gear including fly.
Our beaches have also produced some very nice fish of late including blue salmon, incidental barra and turbo charged queenfish and trevally. Sourcing live bait from the same spot will give you the best rewards and it is a matter of casting out and waiting for the moment to happen.
If the fishing is quiet the scenery will certainly make up for this. Incoming tides during low light periods are prime time for beach fishing.
Offshore, the reef fishing has been hot and cold. Some days the fish are chomping readily and then the next you find yourself scratching around for any action. If you do strike it lucky, you are likely come across coral trout, bludger trevally, sweetlip and the occasional haul of small and large mouth nannygai.
There are a few monster rogue Spanish mackerel about and it is as simple as having a floating pilchard or live bait at the back of the boat to put you in the hunt.
If you find the bottom fishing a tad too quiet, there are plenty of tuna packs gorging themselves on the small bait schools. Trolling these schools or casting metal slices into them can turn a quiet day on the water into something worthwhile.
Gamefishing operators continue to plug away after a very successful marlin season. Even though it was a late start some are saying that they have never seen so many consistently big fish pushing well over the 1000lb mark.
Since Christmas they are now converting back to light tackle picking off the remains of yellowfin, wahoo and dolphin fish on the shelf. There is still the possibility of a stray marlin lingering in the area, which would top off anyone's day.
At the end of the day we will be dictated to by the weather and with an anticipated wetter season ahead, take your chances when the sun is shining.Reads: 706