Life comes with late wet
  |  First Published: March 2013

With the bulk of north Queensland still a little damp following rain associated with Cyclone Oswald and a late but active monsoon trough, March is a month where life is literally breathing into the estuaries and bays of Cape York.

A thousand shades of grey is how I would describe this time of year. Insects of every imaginable size and shape will be thriving in the steamy, moist conditions. As is so often the case, food webs thriving on land will be mirrored underneath the surface of every imaginable body of water.

The wet season will be sure to put all but the most adventurous anglers off the scent during March, however those based in the more northerly reaches of Queensland will be welcoming the opening of the barramundi season and appreciating the relatively few anglers on the water.

Past experience says that when fish are found in some of the larger estuaries feeding in current lines and at the mouth of out flowing creeks, efforts should be concentrated on these spots. So rather than having a leisurely drift past those good looking spots, throw the anchor in and give it a good 15 minutes, casting firstly shallow divers and then deeper diving lures.

March and April are months that account for more than their fair share of larger barramundi captures. The Northern Territory is famous for its run-off fishing and synonymous with flood plains and feeder creeks producing world class fishing this time of year. Cape York holds similar opportunities and it is only the restrictive minds of many of us fisherman preventing us from unlocking similar scenarios.

Remember the floodplains and wetlands on the western coast of Cape York stretching from Mapoon all the way south past Kowanyama present one of the most isolated, pristine and fish filled wetland areas anywhere and definitely rival areas such as Kakadu in terms of size. Walking your favourite stretch of river or skirting that picturesque lagoon may be quite treacherous and a little bogy this time of year. Snakes, crocs and long grass will make venturing out that little more dangerous, so fishing by boat is highly recommended.

Quite often bays and gulf areas will be quite turbid during March. The bulk of the baitfish and prawn schools will have moved offshore and with them, many of the pelagic fish and inshore reef dwellers will have followed farther offshore. Depending on the severity of wet season downpours, March may be a month where food chains start to reassemble closer in shore but timing of his will change year in year out. April and May tend to be much more settled months and with that brings travellers, tourists and fishing guides back into the fishing realm. March is often snubbed by recreational fishos up in these parts, but take a look at when the pros are concentrating their efforts and you will soon realise how productive March can be.

Even though humidity levels will quite often spike near 100%, this time of year an often be quite pleasant with a gentle breeze and cloudy skies bringing ambient temperatures down. I have lost count how many time I have had my arms and neck burnt this time of year without ever actually seeing the sun. But each and every time has usually come about after losing time casting lure after lure to fired up and extremely hungry barramundi!

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