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Fever pitch soars in September
  |  First Published: September 2013



It’s always an exciting time of year when September comes around as the crossroads of the seasons meet in the tropics. All our winter species are still peppering away and now the spring-summer species are joining the party. It makes for an action packed time on the water, and the weather is generally fantastic.

On the reef we’ve seen some very impressive results over the cooler months with all of our prime red species turning up in solid numbers. Large mouth nannygai, red emperor and coral trout have all been well presented at times and the average sizes have been well above par.

September will see these prized fish continue on their merry way with the exception of the trout, which may be a bit timid as they approach a potential spawning period at the beginning of October. Once spawned, they’ll become foolishly ravenous making them easy pickings.

All depths of the reef will produce numbers of fish at this time of the year and it can be a bit of a lottery as to what you’ll catch with all the reef species in a positive frame of mind. Turns of the tide are an important ingredient and often produce the hottest bite.

On the game fishing scene, momentum shifts upwards from this point on with the approach of the big black marlin not too far away. There’s already been some really positive action on the small black marlin population on our wide grounds and it won’t be too long before the bigger models start showing up on the edges of the Continental Shelf.

The pelagic fishing for Spanish mackerel has been consistently good this year particularly on the reef systems north of Port Douglas. What we’ll start to see, especially on the grounds closer to the shelf, is more activity from the yellowfin tuna, northern bluefin tuna and wahoo. While trailing a spread of lures there’s every chance a big black marlin will jump on the end of the line. If the tuna turn up in numbers this normally triggers a chain reaction as the bigger predators will follow.

Closer to home our inshore reefs, headlands and surrounding islands will be active this coming month with a variety of pelagics on the move. Generally speaking, expect to come across Spanish mackerel, grey and school mackerel, northern bluefin and mac tuna, big talang queenfish and a variety of big trevally. Locals like to trail around the old-fashioned spoon lure but anything with a good flash beaming off the sunlight will come under scrutiny. Slow trolling a live sardine will also prove to be deadly.

To look for these fish, scour the surface looking for any bird activity, as this is a great starting point. Fish the cleaner sections of water that also has a bit of run with the current. On a good day you can catch a grand slam of different pelagic species, which is normally achieved using light tackle sportfishing outfits, making for a damn lot of fun.

Having endured a nasty winter period at times our rivers and creeks will start to improve dramatically with more settling conditions and water temperatures rising. Barra will come out of their winter slumber and be receptive to lure and live bait presentations, the mangrove jack will be super aggressive amongst the snags and the golden snapper will be more prevalent in the deeper holes and main parts of the channel.

Even though it hasn’t been a super year thus far, I’d expect the queenfish and trevally numbers to improve in numbers and sizes especially on those clean incoming tides around the river mouths.

Across the flats the golden trevally and javelin fish have been pretty consistent to date and will only improve as conditions get better.

It’s been a bumper year for big fat bream and they’ll be still eager amongst the pylons, rock walls and any fallen structure. They’ll be competing head to head with the mangrove jack at certain locations.

It’s a brilliant time to be up in the tropics and no matter which way you decide to fish you are pretty much assured to see some decent action.

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