May is a great month with calm weather, clear skies and cooling nights – it's one of my favourites. The weather really has turned it on lately with some much-needed rain finally coming down the coast. Most of our rivers and creeks received a good flush and this has moved the prawns, crabs and fish around.
Most of our estuaries were fishing very well before the flush of fresh and as there really hasn't been too much follow up as yet, they won't take long to return to good fishing. May is really the start of the change of seasons and as the days get shorter and the nights get cooler we should see a few changes in our target species.
This time of year we will still have some mangrove jack, barramundi and king threadfin salmon biting but just not as much as the last few months.
Grunter seem to have really been on the chew, along with salmon and barra.
If you’re looking to get on the water during May to chase the warmer water species, I would pick those hot days as the little spikes in the water temp gets the fish fired up. In May the nights will cool down lowering the water temp and this has a big effect on the different species of bait. There will be a bit of a change with more temperate species making their way up the coast as the water cools.
The smaller estuaries tend to cool down first as there isn't as much deep water to hold the water temp. As the tides push up over the mud flats on the cool nights the water cools then drops back into the creek.
As this is usually the start of the calmer weather the smaller boats tend to get their chance to mess with a few larger fish around the mouths of our rivers and along the inshore reefs.
In the Burnett there has been mackerel, tuna and some big trevally hunting the schools of baitfish moving up and down the coast. These speedsters are great fun but aren't high on the list of great fish to eat. If you’re up for a feed of reef dwelling fish then get hold of the GPS marks book that has a few of our local spots in it, you can get them from tackle shops. When you get this book there are a number of spots that are very popular but this doesn't mean that there are no fish on them.
I watch some boats get to a spot by watching their GPS and dropping their anchor. This works some of the time, especially if the spot is the only one in that area, but if there is rubble or weed bottom around the best fish may not be right there. The best thing to do is have a sound around as time spent looking for better shows of fish can result in a much better catch.
In smaller boats I also like to drift as the better quality fish tend to roam around weedy or rocky bottoms. By moving around and drifting you have a better chance of finding the more quality fish. I also like to fish pretty light on these more pressured areas as most big boats seem to fish big heavy outfits with 60-80lb line and big hooks and sinkers. This is great if you are fishing less pressured areas with lots of big fish on them, but us smaller boaters have to fish a bit smarter on the closer reefs. I like to fish 20-30lb braid and use a 40-50lb leader with just enough weight to get the bait to the bottom; rather than drop massive leads down that don't let the bait waft around to entice the bigger fish.
I also prefer to use nice fresh bait even small live bait collected around the river mouths prior to getting out to the spot, they are fantastic dead baits as well.
Make sure to put in a bit of effort in May and get out on the water where there will be less crowds, glorious days and hopefully some nice feeds of fish.Reads: 560