Dry arrives and winter fish are on
  |  First Published: July 2013

The dry season has arrived and will be here to stay for a few months. The first few weeks of strong southeasterlies have been met with groans from those working on or near the water.

These southeasterly trade winds are just another element fishers are faced with on Cape York during the middle part of the year and dealing with them can be easier said than done.

Care needs to be taken around the mouths of any major rivers and creeks when the wind is up; a run-in tide against 30 knots of stiff breeze can make for some pretty ordinary conditions, and if you’re in a small boat take a good look at what you are about to head out into.

Smaller creeks and the top of the rivers are your best option during those strong wind warning days; Weipa has a plethora of ‘out of the wind’ options when needed. Andoom Creek and the Mission River are a good choice for anyone in a smaller craft as the boat ramps and launching options are quite sheltered. A few fish or a feed of crabs can generally be found without having to travel too far.

On the fishing front, barra have slowed a little in the creeks but other species have certainly picked up. Golden snapper and jacks are roaming the snags, rock bars and deeper holes during the more neap tides while queenfish, blue salmon, and threadfin keep the action going during the spring tides when the barra seem to be having a day off.

Mud or greenback herring have been the pick of the baits but finding them on different tides can be a challenge. A bit of patience will go a long way to catching quality fish over the windy winter months with time spent throwing the cast net to collect the right bait as important as choosing your fishing location.

Lure fishers need to keep their retrieves ultra slow and lure sizes down, a spare rod rigged with a small soft plastic or prawn imitation is a handy addition for a barra or jack that only wants to ‘roll’ on the lure.

One of Weipa’s real bonuses is that offshore fishing can still be accessed in any amount of wind; southeasterlies are an offshore wind in the Gulf and, provided you hug the coast, travelling and fishing can be done in relative comfort.

Bait schools move in close to the coast this time of year and the hordes of longtail tuna, mackerel and trevally will usually follow. While this sought of action did take longer than usual to arrive, the pelagic action is back in full swing to the north and south of Weipa’s coastline.

Longtail tuna have been ravenous working the herring schools right into almost the shoreline. On the deeper shoals Spaniards and grey mackerel have been feeding together making for some crazy sessions and tasty evening meals.

The weekend of the 7-9 June marks the annual Weipa Fishing Classic and there is always some cracking fish caught, I will give a full report on how the comp and fishing went in next month’s report. This year’s event looks to be bigger and better than ever.

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