Billfish make up the bulk
  |  First Published: December 2013

It may sound like I have been repeating myself in the last few months by raving about the new light tackle bill-fishery here in Weipa. But it has been incredible, and has seen some amazing fishing mostly within one-hour run of the boat ramp.

The new moon earlier in November really seemed to kick the billies into action. Coupled with beautiful weather, it is no surprise a handful of boats from the local Billfish Club tagged in excess of 30 for the weekend.

Out between the 20m and 30m contour lines, packs of marauding sailfish had bait schools balled up on the surface and picked them off at will. Just a frigate bird or two would give away their location.

Once arriving at the location all hell would break lose with up to eight sails on a baitball.

Mixed in with the sailfish were small blacks that have invaded the offshore from Weipa this year. Some boats managed to tag in excess of 10 fish for the day with countless raised and seen free jumping in the area. Most have been taken switch baiting, which involves teasing the fish up then feeding back either a rigged dead bait or bridled livie to a ‘lit up’ and hungry fish. Plenty however have also been taken on the always popular skipping gar. This action will hopefully continue through to the end of the year and some festive season sailfish and marlin will be had.

Offshore the Spaniards have been pretty consistent, although generally some distances need to be travelled to find them in any numbers. There have been some nice schools out wide alongside the sailfish, which can be a pain on your nicely rigged baits. However, in the evening around the barbeque when the fillets are seared up, there are few complaints.

The water in close to shore around Boyd Bay and Pera has been generally green and lifeless with the majority of good bottom fish taken around Duyfken Point or on the rubble beyond.

I have been finding some top reef fish on the shallower reefs in and around the Pine Bay area. The key has been to find some lovely live herring, find some nice reef patches in 10-20ft of water, then drop them down and hang on.

Beautiful golden snapper and gold spot cod have made up the bulk of the catches, along with some decent queenfish and trevally to add some variety. It makes for a fun afternoon after bashing the snags in the steamy creeks all morning.

Other close spots to try with a live bait this month will be any of the beacons in the shipping channel and the southern end of the Mission Bridge.

November hasn’t seen too much storm action as yet but expect that to amp up throughout December. Early starts are the go this time of year, as being caught in a big Cape York storm is not high on the list of fun things to do. An eye needs to be kept on the weather, particularly in the afternoon. Make sure your bilge pump is in good working order as a big build up storm can fill the bottom of medium-sized dinghy in no time.

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