Line-burners on fire!
  |  First Published: December 2012

Throughout December, the Whitsundays will be a top place to target quality estuary, blue water and freshwater fish.

The mid to high temperatures will have a big impact on the fishing. Many fish species will become more active in the warm waters, meaning they will feed more often and more aggressively. This makes some species much easier to catch, and provides a better opportunity for success.

Pelagic Fishery

The Whitsunday islands, with their multitude of deep rock and coral structures, are a pelagic haven. The giant and golden trevally are the most common pelagic around and this month should see good catches as they will be feeding hard in the warm tropical waters.

Giant trevally prefer to hang around deep structure with plenty of bait nearby. They will eat a range of large baits such as squid, herring, garfish, sea mullet, fusiliers, wolf herring, all types of reef fish and even tuna and small mackerel species. They are a bit of a garbage-guts!

The golden trevally on the other hand will mainly eat smaller food items. It’s generally considered to be more of a bottom feeder, using its big, tough mouth to sift through the sand for crabs and other crustaceans. However, they will also chase baitfish at high speeds, similar to how a mackerel will shoot after a fleeing garfish at lightening pace.

On a recent fishing trip, we were targeting grey and school mackerel surface feeding on small schools of baitfish in a deep channel. After catching a couple of mackerel, we hooked what we thought was yet another grey. However, it turned out to be a solid golden trevally, which nailed the metal Raider at ultra high speed. It goes to show that these fish aren’t just a gentle bottom feeder - they can turn up the speed when required!

Other pelagics to look out for are mac and longtail tuna. It can be hard to predict whether these fish will be around or not as it depends on ocean currents, water temperatures and baitfish supply. One good thing though is that you’ll usually know when they’re here. Diving sea birds are always a great sign and can lead you straight to the fish.

Recently there have been a huge amount of mac tuna about, with the occasional longtail here and there. This is due to the incredible amount of baitfish around. If these baitfish stay around for a while, the tuna will too!

Peter Faust Mayhem

There have been plenty of quality impoundment barramundi caught at Peter Faust Dam, inland from the town of Proserpine. December is always a great month for targeting these fish as they feed aggressively with the warm water temperatures.

Night fishing is usually very productive throughout the month as big fish go on the hunt for bony bream, barred grunter and redclaw crayfish in the dark, moonlight lit waters.

Big fish over 110cm are the ultimate capture and Faust sure have plenty of these fish on offer. These fish are experts at detecting vibration and movement through the water and can be caught on all types of lures. If you happen to get some calm weather and are fishing around the twilight period, remember to try a couple of surface lures. They are without a doubt the most exciting way of catching a monster barramundi.

A walk-the-dog type lure, a fizzer or a more conventional cone-shaped popper often attract big fish. The weedless soft plastic frog with a fast-retrieve can also be dynamite and some of the strikes you’ll see will leave you with a wide mouth indeed!

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