Blue water bonanza
  |  First Published: June 2012

The cooler temperatures and more predictable winter weather are fast approaching allowing anglers to get out offshore into some blue water and reef fishing.

Heading out in the boat into the deeper water is addictive fishing with the chances of landing many different species a certain drawcard for anglers.

A favourite species that many boats target this time of year is the mackerel, both the larger Spanish mackerel and the smaller spotted and school varieties. School doggie mackerel can be caught fairly close inshore with anglers even having great fishing at the end of the main Casino break wall.

The shipping channel straight out from the harbour is by far the most popular area and for good reason with top catches being reported every year. Spanish mackerel grow much larger than doggies and are a real challenge as they have been caught locally in excess of 35kg!

Reports of the bigger Spanish mackerel have been healthy with Cape Cleveland producing some awesome captures caught by trolling larger lures and wolf herring. Trolling around Cape Cleveland itself and at Salamander Rocks, which are a little further out has been the best spots with the deeper water and strong currents attracting these fish. Lures such as the larger Bolt divers are ideal and wolf herring rigged on a 7/0 gang hook set up is used with a lead chin guard on the front of the rig.

You don’t necessarily need a heavy line for mackerel with 15-24kg breaking strain fine, but having a decent size reel with a smooth drag and good line capacity is a must. A big Spaniard can make a blistering run easily stripping 100m of line off your reel so be prepared, as it is an awesome thrill.

Reef fishing

Just about every angler I know enjoys a good reef trip and when the weather is calm it can be like a pilgrimage with boats being towed down to the boat ramp all day then driving out to sea hoping for some great fishing. If you are fortunate enough to get out to the reef for the day then fishing for coral trout is a must.

Coral trout generally prefer the shallower water below 35m and are best targeted on 50lb tackle with fresh slab baits. They respond very well to jigs and lures as well which are a great option to use when the bait fishing is a little slow. The enticing jigging motion of a soft plastic will often trigger a strike from a coral trout as it can just be too hard to resist for an easy meal.

You will generally come across a few red throat emperor in the same areas as coral trout and these are a wicked fish as they fight like the clappers and taste sensational on the plate.

The creeks

June is also a prime month for creek fishing as bread and butter species like bream, grunter, flathead and whiting all become more active. Bait fishing for these fish is productive and are a great way of getting the family out into some basic fishing. All these species can be caught on lures also, having a light spin rod with some braid line casting around sinking blades and soft plastics can give you hours of fun.

Koolabung blades are dynamite on the bream, grunter and flathead in the smaller 6g size and one tip when using these is to not go to heavy a leader as this can affect how the lure swims. Creek systems like Morrisseys are consistent and try fishing in areas with sandy bottom towards the mouth.

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