As I sit here writing this we have just had our first decent drop off rain, nowhere near enough to over flow the weirs or new dam wall but just the same it’s always good to get some rain.
Fingers-crossed, the wet season arrives this year, then we can expect some sensational fishing around town. As mentioned, the weirs and the dam wall are always an exciting spectacle for fisherman. This is normally a good sign of the fishing to come for the year. But it also kicks off the prawn and crabbing by flushing them out of the creeks and into the bay. Most crabbers will set their pots on the flats from Sandfly to roughly cocoa creek.
Be aware of the tides as some of the shallower flats can drain quickly and leave you and your pots stuck out in the hot sun. By all means leave your pots in overnight as there is next to no heat for the crabs to dry out in but if you are crabbing during the day don’t leave them in shallow areas that will dry out on the low tide. It is a waste of your time and energy if you kill the crabs by leaving the pot in the sun. As far as prawns go most people chase them in the gutters around low tides, but a couple of months every year big banana prawns migrate into Ross creek around the major moons and it is possible to catch quite a good feed in a short amount of time just cast netting off the coast guard boat ramps.
If the creeks around town are flowing hard with freshwater expect the fishing to be a little slow, as most of our northern species don’t like full fresh water. Head outside the creek mouth and look for rocks headlands reefs and wrecks. These types of structures should be out of the main freshwater flow and have a good mix of saltwater around them and you should find plenty of creek species holed up here until the flow of water subsides. For example, the rock walls around the Townsville harbour and also the west point over on Magnetic Island are areas that tend to provide good cover for creek fish during heavy flooding.
Further offshore, the island groups north of town will also fish well providing you can find clean water. Coral trout and Spanish mackerel will still be feeding in these areas but both prefer the cleaner water. Clean water can be hard to find on inshore islands like Rattle Snake so you may need to be over fishing the Palm group on smaller tides.
The reefs further out again will hold the best fishing for the month. Lodestone and Keeper reefs are as always well fished and as a result may not fish as well as the Slashers, Hopkinsons or even the Kelso reefs. At this time of year bag limits are easily reached on a variety of reef species.
If the rains have not really started yet the fishing should still be worth the effort. Big jacks and fingermark will be holding on the snags in most creeks and grunter will cover the rubble pads and shell grit areas during the tops of the tides. Crabs will be well up in the mangroves waiting for the flush. Outside squid will be easy to find with the use of artificial light and a fine mesh scoop, remember wherever there is squid, big fingermark will not be far behind.
My tip for the land based fisherman is Aplins weir. This is the final weir before the saltwater on Ross River. When the weir is flowing over with fresh water the fishing up here can be nothing short of amazing. But as a general rule when the only flow around here is tidal, fish the tops of the big tides, as the salt will push up to the weir wall bringing with it some big jacks and bream. You will find the smaller tides only seem to fish well for barra and we still have another month to wait before the season opens up on them.Reads: 704