Sensational is the best word to sum up the start of the charter fishing season here in Weipa.
April saw the first full month of our ‘die hard’ fly-in clients fishing the area for everything and anything that would bend a rod. The river fishing for barra was the first to turn it on with good numbers and good quality fish taken throughout April. Fishing small creek mouths and the shallower snag banks has been the secret for the best lure fishing with the small gutters and muddy colour changes the best option on the bottom of the larger spring tides. Morning sessions of 50 or more barra have been the norm, while an afternoon spent soaking a live bait for the bigger fish the best way to roll out a day in one of Weipa’s massive estuaries.
While barra have been the main target, most other species have also been on the chew. Consistent catches of King salmon have made for some real variety, while in the clearer creeks the golden snapper have been ravenous. I usually have a spare rod rigged for each person with a soft vibe or small plastic when lure casting so that when I see a good snag or some fish on the sounder a quick drop deeper into the water column can be made. Lately golden snapper, with the odd jack, have been the first onto the softies, however this technique also turns up some nice salmon, barra and the often unstoppable Queensland groper.
Offshore and along the coastline has been consistent without being crazy. Large bait schools in the relatively shallow water of Albatross Bay have caught the attention of some pelagics with good numbers of grey mackerel a welcome sight. Trolling 3m and 4m Halco Scorpions around and through the bait is the best technique and has also turned up some ripping Spaniards amongst the greys.
The headlands north and south of Weipa have been holding some great queenfish, while the large river mouths have plenty of school sized queenfish. Some form of tidal movement is all that is needed to fire up these great sportfish and it does pay to have a small popper or metal slice rigged on light gear and ready to go when returning to or leaving the harbour.
I expect this type of action to continue into May, both in the rivers and offshore. Longtail tuna should start to make their presence felt out in the Gulf and as the clear currents push in we should start to see some of the bait balls that Weipa is renowned for arrive en masse. These truly are one of the best sights for a fisher and I have seen the keenest of angler just sit and watch the mayhem as all manner of fish and sharks tear into the hapless baitfish. Low frigate birds usually give away the location of these balls.
As the water clears the beaches and flats will begin to fire for those into their fly fishing, a walk along a Gulf of Carpentaria beach with a fly or light spin rod in hand is awesome and the marine life along the shoreline has to be seen to be believed. Accurate casting and a good set of sunnies is a must while anchoring your boat properly is also important particularly on a run out tide. Time can really get away from you doing this sought of fishing, so taking time to anchor your boat out will save you many long hours waiting for the tide to come back in to refloat your boat.
May is one of the best all round fishing months on the calendar so gear up and get out there.Reads: 540