Warm weather wonderland
  |  First Published: October 2012

The warm waters are starting to show their benefits to our tropical fisheries with good early captures of many summer species.

Golden grunter have showed up a little earlier this year and these are the bigger models we catch around the outer islands during winter. We have been catching them on plastics meant for other species, as well as live greenbacks up in the main channel. Most rubble patches and sand pinnacle areas in 5-8m seem to be holding good fish. I have also heard some rumours of really large grunter coming from waters between South Mission Beach and Dunk Island.

With the waters warming on cue, we have also tangled with some good-sized threadfin salmon. Jigging has been the preferred technique but we have picked up a few trolling lures as well. The next few months are a good time to tangle with threadfin in most of the tropical coast estuaries, including those around Townsville. Berley Jerkshads are a favourite of mine when chasing threadies with light jigheads, especially on the change of tide.

Fingermark have been firing with some great captures from the deeper waters and they will become even better in the next month or two as many larger fish wander in off the headlands. Warmer waters will mean there should be some good squid showing up for those who like to fish the evening. Neap tides around Haycock Island at night should be good for squidding as well as fingermark and the odd black jewfish.

There has been some great billfish action with most boats getting amongst little blacks and some good sailfish around the inner reef entrances. No doubt some of the commercial mackerel boats will see interaction with a few more billfish during October.

October is the month when most Spanish mackerel head offshore away from the inner islands. They will start their spawning aggregations around the reefs off the Palm Island group. They can also start a spawn on just about any reef in the region. It is very impressive when they start a continuous shower out of the water as part of their spawning rituals.

Spaniards are easily caught this time of year and trolled gar is one of the most common methods. Also remember that they have a bag limit of three per angler and steer clear of the really big specimens as some can be riddled with ciguatera – that is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

October is also the favoured month for many barra fishers and I would expect to see most gutter and drain banks being peppered by hundreds of anglers over the coming month. The barra will need some crash helmets by the end of October. Try using shallow minnows and soft plastics around dirty water lines too as it can be rather rewarding; sometimes it is possible to hand cast bigger fish.

Most barra fishing is done in shallow water when the waters are warm. The same applies to most of North Queensland’s estuaries. Deep water jigging is more of a winter time practice, along with deep trolling. You can still troll this time of year but look to get your lures a lot higher in the water column where the fish are holding.

If you would like to come up for a fishing charter contact us at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com. We are now taking bookings for next year’s season and threadfin salmon on plastics in November, December.

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