Fun and games in the tropics.
  |  First Published: September 2013

The warm winter gear is packed away and the days are getting longer. This also means water temperatures are on the rise, which means good things in regards to fishing the channel.

The last few months have been horrible in terms of the weather with consistent strong southeasterly winds making life really difficult. As a self-confessed fishing madman, even I must admit that there were some days that I found it hard to motivate myself to hit the water (now that is rare!). Still, there were some good fish caught for those who put in the time. Let’s see what options there are for September.

Hinchinbrook Channel

For the last few months it has been common to be sitting somewhere in the channel with some live baits happily swimming around for ages. Any mullet schools seem to swim around with big smiles as nothing is chasing or trying to eat them, this is all about to change. With the water starting to warm up the predatory fish such as the barra, jacks and salmon will stat feeding and baits will start feeling nervous.

For the lure and plastic fishos, this is great news, gone are the days of throwing your offering past the nose of clearly visible fish for no results. Although the barra won’t be biting their heads off yet, if you can pick a warm day with some good run in the tides, then you should see better results than the previous few months.

Golden snapper have been consistent this year, which is a great sign of our fishery being healthy. For such a slow growing species it is vital that as much care as possible be taken with releasing unwanted fish. Not going into the ridiculous joke of our bag and size limits here in QLD, but I have a self-imposed bag limit of 2 golden snapper and personally believe the limit of 5 fish is a horrible joke.

Live herring or squid is the best bait by far and a couple of herring pinned back to back on a hook should tempt them every time. Golden snapper love deeper waters with some form of structure on the bottom such as rock bars. The Bluff area is a well known hotspot and plenty of good fish are taken here every year. Golden snapper can also be found in the creeks and rivers and will hang in the snags in the deeper sections of the creek. Trolling deep diving lures around this type of area is a productive way of pulling a fish. Make sure your lure is swimming near the bottom structure to give you a much higher chance of hooking up.

For fun and games, head to the edges of the sand bars, on the last few hours of the run out tide you can find queenfish and GT smashing the daylights out of baitfish. Look for any bait being harassed or any birds hanging around to give their location away. The best offering is a small metal slice, as it will closely match the baitfish being eaten – match the hatch!

Reef and Islands

There’s not much to report out wider, as the weather has been very unkind for months. There have been small windows of opportunity but you needed to go at the drop of a hat.

Some good trout have been taken in the shallows and provide such great fun, as you really need to be on the ball to pull them out of their nasty hidey-holes. A simple running ball sinker is all that’s needed but I would use a 60-80lb trace to help battle them in the extremely nasty ground they will brick you in. Use a 6/0-8/0 hook and a whole pilchard or fish flesh (hussar or fusilier is best) and don’t be scared to use a big bait.

Still no great reports on the small marlin this season, there have been a few captures and a few hook ups and hopefully they are just beginning to show up in good numbers. This month, Lucinda is hosting a billfish tournament so hopefully next month I can report plenty of fish being captured.

The Spanish mackerel have been consistent for the last few months with plenty of good school fish being caught in all the usual areas. Slow trolling gar on wog heads is the best way to put a few in the icebox, then swapping to plastics or jigs for some drag screaming fun. Look for bait balled up on the sounder and you’re in with a good chance of a mack attack.

Also recently the Lucinda Store has undertaken a makeover and now not only boasts delicious food and hot coffee but also their range of fishing and boating gear is awesome. Owners Brian and Louise have really done well and can cater to any fishing situation you will be faced with – and their prices are very reasonable. For visitors and locals alike, you will do yourself a favour to drop in and stock up. Brian is always hearing where the fish are being caught and is always happy to offer some advice, just don’t ask for his secret batter recipe (delicious!).

Stay keen...mad keen.

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