Wet throws up surprise after surprise
  |  First Published: April 2013

The 2013 wet season continues to throw up plenty of surprises. In mid-March the monsoon trough strengthened again and there was a likely chance of a cyclone forming in the Gulf. Due to deadlines I can’t say if we had a cyclone or not, but it should rain at the very least.

This will no doubt stir things up and hopefully give the Cape plenty of rain to finish the ‘wet’ off with a bang. Late February and early March are quite often the time of year that the wet season peaks. This year however saw some of the most beautiful weather for fishing and boating that I have seen for a long time. Light winds, clear days and very scattered afternoon storms were the norm and boy did the fish enjoy these conditions.

I fished a week long charter over this time and enjoyed top class fishing everywhere we went. The first few days were spent fishing offshore and along the beaches, both to the north and south of Weipa. Good schools of longtail tuna were the first to give away the baitfish’s location once offshore and a quick look at the sounder quickly showed they weren’t the only fish on the go. Solid brassy and tilley trevally were stacked up under the tuna schools and a quick drop of a jig resulted in instant and multiple hook-ups. After an hour or so of non-stop action, a huge bait ball erupted right beside the boat with literally hundreds of trevally, tuna and sharks gorging themselves on the hapless herring. At one stage I actually had to drive the boat away from the action as the predators hit the bait so hard, herring were getting smashed out of the water and into the boat and soaking us in the process.

Once the action died down it was time to look for anything keen to eat a popper on some of the Gulf’s isolated bommies and headlands. The queenfish were more than happy to oblige with a couple of the better fish going 109 and 111cm. After a quick cool off in a lovely freshwater stream that pours out of the sand dunes during the wet, we headed home in near perfect conditions.

This was the way things went for the next few days with fish caught everywhere we went. It really did seem like everything was getting into it and feeding up before the next bout of north-west monsoonal weather arrived, which did arrive with a bang a few days later. While we caught fish everywhere from the beaches, shallow reefs and offshore to barra and threadfin up in the mangroves, the two things that were the highlight for me were watching a lit up 200lb black marlin in 15’ of water try and eat a popper all the way to the boat that was meant for a queenfish. And watching four massive tiger sharks circle and almost play with a large green turtle that was injured by one of them. It was glassed out calm, very clear water and the sharks, all over 13’, seemed to take it in turns to slowly swim up to the turtle, almost bump it, only to turn around on a wide arc and do it again. The boat didn’t worry the sharks in the least and after watching in awe for over half and hour we left nature to take its course although our thoughts were with the poor old turtle for the next few hours.

With the unpredictable weather so far this year it is hard to foresee what fishing action April will bring and I am sure the wet is far from finished.

Generally speaking April is a top month to fish on the Cape and we will be fishing hard throughout the month. Good tides will see the estuaries fire with live baits hard to beat, lures will also be the go particularly as the water clears up and water levels settle down. Offshore, particularly towards the end of the month, should really fire with plenty of pelagics eating their way towards the coast. Early in the year time needs to be spent finding where the bait is hanging out and keeping an eye on it over the coming weeks because at some point, if the bait stays in the area, it is going to go off.

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