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Game on for big blacks
  |  First Published: November 2012



Big game fishing is the main focus with the local marlin grounds due to reach fever pitch in the coming month. It’s all about the big black marlin!

Leading into our prime time, the small black marlin season completed its best since the mid 1990s with a population explosion of juveniles on the grounds closer to land. Hundreds of small black marlin around the 12-20kg were tagged and released over a two month period.

Attention turned to the Continental Shelf for the bigger quarry late September and early October, proceedings started moderately with quite a few 200lb models showing up at first. Following a big blow of weather along the coast and the approach of the new moon, the bigger fish started appearing more consistently.

The top of the Ribbon Reefs are normally the first hunting grounds to explore. As we come into the November period the marlin population tends to be more productive along our local grounds of Opal Ridge, Linden Bank and Jenny Louise Shoals.

The heavy tackle marlin season got off to a bit of a late start this time around, but as the days go by and with more boats in the region ploughing the waters, tag and release rates are on a rapid increase. A late start to the season generally transpires into a later finish, maybe around the second week of December and these fish will be on our back doorstep.

The Port Douglas Marlin Challenge in the second week of November will truly indicate what sort of season we have on our hands. These fish are here to breed and hopefully they can reproduce like last year, which set up a great light tackle season this year.

As is the case with fishing, things tend to go in cycles and there are many varied points of view. The final results later this month will unveil the whole story.

On a more passive level, the reef fishing scene has been sporadically indifferent at times. Some days the fishing is red hot, with mediocre results following the next.

When the fishing is well and truly on it has been the coral trout and the large mouth nannygai leading the procession. The trout have been quite ravenous following the new moons (and following the reef closure) and the large mouth are more productive leading into the full moons.

The other factor that has had considerable bearing on results is if the shark population decide to hone in on catches or not. Some days they are non-existent, the next they are as thick as thieves and heavily populated ruining a good days fishing. If anyone suggests that the reef shark populations are in decline we have many a skipper in our region that can blow this theory out of the water.

November should remain productive and your focus should be fishing the deepest waters possible as the water temperature rises.

In the rivers and creeks, barramundi are officially off the radar with closures over the next three months. Accidental catches will occur but they must be released, no question. For a feed on the table, mangrove jack and fingermark are the next target and preferred by many.

Night and low light periods with a change in the tide will be prime times as the days get warmer. Fresh live baits such as mullet, sardines, herring and squid will account for your bigger fish.

Enjoy the anticipated good boating conditions ahead and keep the water fluids up. The days will get simmering.

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