September in the Whitsundays is an excellent month to get into some fishing. With the weather warming up there should be plenty of options available from the shores of the mainland all the way out to the outer islands with lots of different species prevalent.
Anglers have been reporting plenty of mackerel catches around the Whitsunday islands last month. This should be a good sign for September as most of these fish should still be available for some late season mackerel fishing.
Most of these mackerel have been around the 10-15kg size where they can be commonly found in large schools. They can be an exciting fish to catch as they have great speed and can sometimes be a challenging fish to hook. Trolling high speed diving hardbody lures and rigged fish baits, like garfish and wolf herring, are top ways to tempt them. Another great technique, while stationary, is to drift out gang-hook rigged pilchards under a float. Jigging is another good method while fishing at anchor or while drift fishing.
These techniques are obviously best used where you find the fish. Some proven spots include the entrance to Nara Inlet, Leeper Shoal and the Double Cones island group.
Your local tackle shop will have all the inside information on what’s been working best at the time and they should be able to point you in the right direction. We’d recommend Proserpine Bait and Tackle in Proserpine and Whitsunday Fishing World in Cannonvale.
Mangrove jack, bream, flathead, salmon and barramundi should all be available in the surrounding creeks and rivers this month and the warmer weather should heat up the fishing for these species.
One fish that seems to show up more frequently in the warmer months is the mangrove jack. This powerful red coloured fish can be quite rare to catch but now is a top time to target them. These fish love lurking near structure and shade, such as a submerged tree or rock bar or even a man-made structure like jetty pylons.
When targeting jacks with lures or baits be sure to present your offering as tight as you can to the structure you’re fishing while trying to avoid getting snagged up. A great method if using lures is to try a weed-less rigged soft plastic. It will allow the lure to sit in the strike zone longer.
Jacks fight very hard when hooked so you need to be prepared to reel them in fast.
Good areas to start are the shallow sandy mangrove-lined bays such as to the west of Pigeon Island and near Shute Harbour. The structure the mangrove roots and rocks provide in these areas around high tide are ideal for any hungry mangrove jack to ambush bait.
Peter Faust Dam lies 20km west of Proserpine and should be another hotspot in September. The activity level and feeding of the stocked barramundi in this lake will increase as the weather gradually warms.
A lot of the bigger classes of fish from around 90cm and upwards should be starting to frequent the deeper waters of the open basin where they can gorge on schools of baitfish, like bony bream. This means trolling should be a productive option and land a metre-plus fish from the lake.
Remember to try a range of lures to find what the fish want. For example have two rods out at once – one rigged with a silent, shallow diving lure and the other rod rigged up with a deep-diving lure with lots of rattle.
If you have a sounder be on the lookout for schools of bait and barramundi showings while trolling. Areas with spikes of activity are good spots to try more thoroughly by turning around and trolling over again.Reads: 1106