Fishing Firing Right Up
  |  First Published: October 2012

Coming into the warmer months, Cape York residents and visitors alike will be welcoming October with mixed feelings. Gone will be those uniform winter days where a cool south-east breeze keeps the weather at a very acceptable 20-28°C and arriving will be those stagnant, still, stifling hot October days where every fly tests your patience.

But the fishing coming out of September and into October will make the heat worthwhile. Barramundi should be well and truly out of their winter slumber by now and a little easier to catch. Up in most parts of Cape York, water temperatures usually remain high enough to catch reasonable numbers of barra throughout winter. However to those fishing regularly, the feeding switch will be very noticeable when water temp rises up around the 28-32°C.

The same applies to some other estuarine dwellers with mangrove jack, fingermark and threadfin salmon all beginning to fire up and attack lures with gusto. October is a month of fairly mild tides and for the most part, the more extreme lows occur during night hours. An outgoing tide change late in the afternoon can be a fantastic time to chase fish up on top of the shallow flats. That first hour of the run out tide can produce a hot bite on barramundi around shallow timber and mangrove fringes as the bait begins rushing out from cover.

The more settled tides throughout the day will be great for those casting lures and looking to troll through deep stretches and structure. With the tide usually running in during the afternoon, expect an onshore breeze to pick up and increase as the tide continues to pour in. Long trips on either the east or west coasts of the Cape can be particularly uncomfortable late in the afternoon. Senses acquired over many occasions of being hammered in aluminium punts sees many anglers pick up on the moment breeze drops out, then moments later it returns from the opposite direction and with far more vigour!

Out wider with currents beginning to carry some serious baitfish and feeding frenzy activity, bigger boats will be out looking for billfish, wahoo, mackerel, tuna and trevally. Some champagne weather out on the Barrier Reef can also be expected. Right up until Christmas will be some of the best months for chasing marlin and sailfish around the many shoals, reefs and towards the deeper continental shelf. Some huge back marlin were landed last year out of Cairns so the game boats will be anticipating more good things to come this year.

Fingers crossed October is the month which can deal out some of the best all round fishing the year has to offer. Spring seems to be shared both above and below water and many species underwater will either be blooming with life or preparing to breed. A hot bit triggered by tide and moon phase is only an excursion away so be ready to use little pockets of perfect weather to get out there and amongst it.

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