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Spaniard smashing season
  |  First Published: August 2012



The winter pattern is now in full swing and, at times, associated with days of strong wind warnings prohibiting any form of offshore fishing.

When the winds are howling there’s not much choice but to either chance your arm up the local creeks or head west to some freshwater river systems. However, it can’t stay windy forever and when the weather has been calm the fishing has been red hot on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Spanish mackerel have turned up in their droves along the entire coast. They have been a bit fussy preferring lures one day and then live baits or a simple pilchard the next. Be prepared to try all methods to see what they will take.

There’s also been pockets where the different varieties such as grey, school and spotted mackerel have been thick as well. Unlike the Spaniards, these species are quite partial to lure and garfish presentations and, the greys in particular, are only interested in silver spoon lures.

It’s been fantastic to see the grey mackerel population returned to the region as they were severely threatened by the impact of large commercial netting of couple of years ago. It’s not rocket science to realise that once the nets have gone the fish will begin to flourish once again. It’s down-right scary to witness what large scale netting can do and we are so lucky not to have lost an entire fishing sector in this case.

Further good news is that the small black marlin population have appeared again on the wide grounds, having gone amiss for a couple of years. The water conditions are perfect for them to thrive at the moment and it all stems back to the massive wet season we had a couple of years ago. According to those in the know, we tend to experience our best small black marlin seasons a year and a half after a super big wet, which is exactly what is transpiring at the moment.

There’s been instances where certain charter operators are seeing up to 8-10 takes of marlin on a good day. When using the stand up light tackle gear it is superb fishing.

The reef fishing has also been red hot during the calm weather spells, which expected at this time of the year. All your prized targeted species are responding well at various times, including red emperor, large mouth nannygai, coral trout, reef mangrove jack, spangled emperor and certain trevally species like golden, gold spot and tea-leaf. There’s other top quality eating fish eager to jump onto a hook as well, albeit a bit smaller in size, and there’s nothing to sneeze at the eating qualities of stripeys, Moses perch and sweetlip.

On those glassed-out days during winter there’s no better place in the world than out on the GBR – it’s magical.

Closer to shore, there’s been reasonable activity along our coastal river and creek systems. The Daintree River has been fishing well for golden trevally at the mouth and fingermark in the deeper sections of the channel.

Dickson Inlet estuary and Muddy Creek have been good for mangrove jacks, big juicy bream and medium-sized GT and queenfish on the incoming tides.

The mud crabbing in all systems has been excellent and a well worthwhile pursuit when the fishing is tough.

Line Burner

Line Burner is a brand new national TV show due to air on August 13 at 8.30pm on Channel 183 Foxtel/Austar. It is my own 10 part series that focuses on the magnificent fishing we have to offer in Far North Queensland.

The series covers a variety of areas including game fishing for black and blue marlin, heli fishing the Far North Coast, venturing to quintessential outback Queensland for a spot of freshwater fishing, mud crabbing by hand, fly fishing the ancient rainforests and heaps and heaps more.

It promises to stand apart from your normal style of fishing program and I’d love you to tune in. It will be the very first national TV series to be fully produced from within the region and it is something we are very proud of achieving.

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