Past wet wins now
  |  First Published: April 2013

April will normally see an end to the wet season and the southerly trade winds will slowly start kicking in.

We’ve had a near non-existent wet season in comparison to the last few years. This could mean that our local population of barra may not have had many chances to do their thing and bless us with plenty more. Luckily we have had a few good wet seasons previously; meaning there are plenty of barra out there ready to play ball.

Nevertheless, as I am living in FNQ I presume that we will most probably get plenty more rain during the month of March.

Hinchinbrook Channel

A smorgasbord of fishy delights will greet you up the channel. Obviously the barra are about and best catches have been around the bottom of the tide coinciding with a storm brewing, add some humidity and you should be hooked up big time.

I have been using the new prawn/shrimp imitation from the various companies and am very pleased with their fish catching ability. They really are the closest thing I have seen to a real prawn and you can fish them anyway you like. Just casting them into your favourite drain and slow rolling them out should see something interested, or finding some snags and letting the lure just slowly sink to the bottom will see you get smashed up very quickly. In this situation it is very important to be on the ball – watch your slack line very closely and at the slightest movement strike. There has been plenty written about these lure’s bad hook-up rate and I have to agree, but the extra bites you get means more fish hooked up in the end.

I must add that anybody that has access to a decent night fishing location with some lights on the water will have plenty of fun with these lures. I have a location in Lucinda that currently is firing, with tarpon and barra competing to smash my prawn imitation as it floats down the river in clear view. It’s very hard for the heart to take the sight of a barra appearing from no-where and engulfing your lure from the surface!

Silver grunter have been the fish that most people are bringing home at the end of a day’s fishing the channel. They have been around in good numbers and fish in the 60-70cm range are common, which is great to see. Grunter fight hard and on lighter line classes will give a great account for themselves. They also taste great, which is just another added bonus as they normally hang in packs so securing a feed is not too hard.

Look for ledges in the main channel and holes in the larger creeks on the run-in tide for your best chance at grunter. The many ledges and holes around the popular Bluff area is the pick of the spots and only a 5 minute boat ride from the ramp.

Golden snapper are a hard fish to master but have really been on the chew if you can find them. April will see their numbers diminishing but they are always on the cards. Bait fishos should be using live squid or live herring for the best chance and fishing them at night around the build up to the full moon should see you hooked up to these trains of the north. These fish are also suckers for plastics and it is no secret that the Z-Man 5” scented Jerk Shadz is hands down my favourite plastic for their undoing.

Reef and Islands

Mixed results are coming in from the reef. It seems the quality red fish have moved into deeper water and further out. Some of the well known nannygai spots closer in have produced the odd fish but the quantity has not been there.

My 2013 New Year’s resolution (that I have kept so far) was to spend at least an hour every reef trip trying to find new fishing spots. It is very easy to keep hitting the same marks every trip, but in the short time that I have been fishing wider I have realised you can NEVER have enough marks. The last trip for February saw me slapping myself on the back (I was fishing solo) as I discovered some new ground that produced some cracker nannygai. Fish or no fish finding a new mark is very rewarding and will produce the goods for you at some stage.

Those chasing trout should be fishing in the 25-40m range and, as always, fishing locations that have good current hitting structure and stacked with bait fish. As well as the usual baits of pilchard, tuna or fish flesh it is always worthwhile dropping a plastic or jig down as trout will smash it, as well as a host of other fish.

There are trout to be caught around the Palm Islands it is just a little more difficult to find the legal ones. The best idea is to use fresh bait or live baits and fish them on the edge of the drop-off – the islands are fringed with coral areas and on the edge of these the bottom drops away.

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