Amazing first half – bring on the second!
  |  First Published: June 2013

What an awesome start to the year it has been here in Weipa, with pretty much all the local estuaries firing at some time or other in the past month.

Barra have been on the chew right up until about a week ago when we received our first strong wind warning from the south east. This is usually the case at sometime during May as the barra can be a bit harder to find as the transition from summer to winter takes place. After a week or two however they realize the wind is here to stay and usually turn back on for a solid month or at least until those first (cold for Cape York mornings) turn up.

Some monumental sessions have taken place including a two week stint where hardly a day went past without catching numerous barra over 80cm. Most were taken on live baits fished hard into the creek mouths and mangrove edges the barra were holding on. Some cracking meter-plus fish were taken while others just completely blew us away on searing runs into the snags.

Most other estuary species have shown up as well with blue salmon at times in plague proportions and some real quality jacks pulled from the snags when they let you. King threadfin salmon along with fingermark have been a little quiet but will begin to fire as the water clarity clears in the middle reaches of the creeks and rivers.

Offshore hasn’t been quite so eventful with even Weipa’s most reliable speedster, the longtail tuna, only showing on rare days down the coast. Huge bait schools have been present in all the right areas, but not much has been smashing them. While there is no doubt there are some quality fish to be had, working hard for them has been the order of the day. Having said that sessions on metre-long queenies close to the harbour have kept us busy while the reef continues to give up some nice fish for those willing to put the time in with either soft plastics or baits.

June should mark the time that the offshore starts to fire as the water cools, clears and the pelagics get active. Large schools of longtail tuna should start the ball rolling as they move in closer to the coast south of Weipa in search of the large bait schools that call the area home. Surface action with diving birds usually gives their location away while a jig or soft plastic dropped underneath can be hammered by anything from a fingermark to a cobia.

In the rivers during June there will be no shortage of fish on the chew. Fingermark will move into the deeper holes and rubble banks in all the estuaries with live mud herring the go to bait for a session on these tasty little beauties. Big drop out tides in June will see the gutters fire in all of Weipa’s major river systems. Shallow divers and topwater lures will be the first choice artificials, while small paddle-tail plastics and prawn imitations should also be given a run particularly if there are plenty of boofs without many bites. This can be a frustrating occurrence around the gutters with even a beautifully presented livie ignored. Try to work out what the barra are boofing and imitate it as best you can. Persistence will usually pay off.

Care needs to be taken during the spring tides in June and July as they are the lowest tides of the year and hitting a mudbank at speed can end in a long wait for the tide to come back in if you get stuck. Keep a good eye on you sounder and avoid roaring around in areas you aren’t familiar with particularly in low light. Low tide is a great time however to get to know a river, exploring at low tide will make locating channels a lot easier, rock bars and snags can be left uncovered and low tide will show which creeks and tributaries dry on low tide and a unplanned stranding can be avoided.

Get into the fishing in June, it’s a great month to warm up the drags offshore.

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