Townsville has embraced the coming of winter this year, which has brought on some great fishing around our city’s waterways.
Cleveland Bay has again provided excellent reports of threadfin salmon, barramundi and jacks in its creeks. The healthy condition of these fish indicates that the late-finishing wet provided the essential nutrients to keep the food chain healthy.
Moving out of the creeks towards the headlands, the water has become clear and cool, with the bait schools balling en masse. Predators such as queenfish, GTs and school-size mackerel are showing their pleasure in the smorgasbord available. Anglers throwing slices such as Bumpa-Bars, large flick baits and the like have been hooking up with ease. This is a perfect opportunity to get the kids out and have a ball on a weekend as it is likely to continue through the winter.
The reefs have also been producing some great captures of large coral trout. The use of knife jigs worked at high speed and plastics wafted off bait-filled ledges and bommies wide of the reef edges have been the undoing of these bluewater brawlers. If bait fishing is your cup of tea, I have heard good reports coming from anglers using fresh strip baits and livies to fool these super sized specimens. Remember most of these larger trout are blue-spot trout, which have a size limit of 80cm in our waters. Few anglers would feel safe eating a XOS trout anyway; the thought of ciguatera is enough for most anglers to release bigger fish with no hesitation.
The shoals have been vibrant, producing the school sized mackerel with a mixture of species including spotted, Spanish and shark showing up. The inshore weed beds and channel markers are starting to produce some good doggie mackerel, satisfying the small boat brigade.
The usual methods of trolling hard bodies, baits rigged on lead heads and fast spinning slices are the undoing of all species of mackerel at present. Try the Live Target Spanish Mackerel, these lures have a finish like no other, and the macks just love them!
And don’t underestimate the use of berley to attract these fish when the bite is tough. Berley has turned the day around many times when fish have been spread out over a large area. Fishing a tide change and current lines is a basic tactic also.
Hot spots looking north and south of our city include West Point, Burdekin Rock and Paluma Shoals, with southern landmarks such as the multitude of ‘foot’ rocks off Cape Cleveland a sure bet.
The Bowling Green Bay creeks of Haughton and Morrissey have again been producing a lot of quality fish, with plenty of trophy meter-plus barramundi hitting the decks for the switched-on anglers. Cool weather requires a delicate touch for feeling the slightest of bites. These can result in a frantic slab of chrome erupting from white water. Focus on snags with balled-up green back herring. These are sure to produce a quality fish or two.
Although the trade winds seem relentless, don’t despair on forecasts continually showing steady southeasterly winds. Sufficient gaps can be found when observing weather patterns and timing runs around it.
As is usual for our winter months, the winds have a habit of increasing as the morning develops. By starting ultra early and returning home by mid morning, you can enjoy fishing in comfortable conditions for a multitude of species. Mackerel around Cape Cleveland are one such option, and if you feel like mixing in some bottom bashing, the bar-cheek trout and fingermark fishing can also be red hot.
My tip this month is to embrace your inner Livio Regano [a local Townsville weather reporter – Ed] and keep tabs on the weather closely for your own escape. There is nothing like turning up to work after a solid session on your favourite target with the rest of the day to dream of returning!Reads: 789