Another year in Paradise
  |  First Published: December 2012

Summer months can run like clockwork at times with the wind dropping out early mornings and increasing before lunch. The early bird will really get some great windows to get well and truly stretched out by some of our fishy friends.

I always look forward to the first fishing trip of a new year – as a self-confessed fishing nut, that will probably mean I will be seeing in the new year with a rod in my hand. It is hot and dry but hopefully January will see some much needed rainfall and humidity.

Hinchinbrook Channel

There has been a steady increase in grunter captures and this will continue for another month or two. They are being caught throughout the entire channel but the sugar loader and around the bluff have been the most consistent spots. Fishing the creek mouths with fresh bait and light line on an incoming tide is a sure fire way to get a couple for a feed.

Areas in the creeks that have a defined channel and some sand banks are a good place to start, as the tide pushes your baits on the edge of the channel/sand bar. It is important to give the fish a little line when they run, as grunter have a tendency to mouth the bait and swim away with it. Not only are they a great fighting fish they also taste delicious; but as always only keep what you need. Grunter can also be caught on smaller plastics such as the Z-Man scented Shrimpz or small scented fish profiles – light line and light leader is a must.

The mangrove jack will be out and about making its presence felt. What a tough life it is being a baitfish here in the tropics? Those hot, humid and still nights are perfect for keeping the heart racing as you work small poppers around the creek edges.

A good tip for those wanting to give this type of fishing a try is to map an area out in daylight before your night trip. In my local waterway I have several areas that I know very well. When fishing at night it is daunting as you can’t always see where your offering has landed or if you just cast over a tree, or boat. But having that knowledge of key fish attracting areas committed to memory will prove very valuable, also using the mark button on your GPS in the creeks is a good idea! I prefer small/med poppers and stickbaits (5-7cm) or any plastics with a good paddle-tail.

One last thing, lay off the caffeine as you won’t need it after your first night jack encounter on a popper. Smash!

Palm Islands/Reef

Although they will be starting to disappear at a quicker rate, we have had some great mackerel fishing during the last few months. All the common mackerel grounds off the reef points held great numbers of Spaniards and it was as simple as following the birds and baitfish and trolling or throwing metal slugs and jigs into the frenzy.

On a recent trip I got to really enjoy my wife being towed around the boat by speedy Spaniards, trolling a lure while enjoying a picnic lunch in paradise. As she found out, mackerel are quick and anyone new to the game should stay on the ball. A mackerel run near the boat can be disastrous if careful and quick rod work isn’t used.

The summer months should also mean that our reefy friends are now mooching around in the deeper water, for those after serious trout you should be concentrating efforts around the 40m mark for better results.

Nannygai have been a little hit and miss, which is not uncommon at this time of year. Finding them on the sounder is only half the battle as sometimes they are reluctant to eat. It is always a good idea to take a range of baits out with you so you can mix it up and see what is producing more action. It is very common to have a certain bait out-fish another and many times boats will miss out on the action as they were using the wrong one.

Until next month I hope everyone gets out amongst them.

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