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Outwitting the sharks
  |  First Published: June 2014



The fishing in May has been nothing short of spectacular and going by current weather patterns it looks like June will be the same.

Offshore, quite mild southeasterlies have made for generally nice conditions for trips to both the north and south of Weipa. Steady nutrient-rich currents have been pushing into Albatross Bay, bringing all manner of baitfish and prawns along with them. The amount of marine life sighted during a trip along the coastline has to be seen to be believed.

Of course, there have been plenty of voracious predators homing in on this food source and some of the fishing I have encountered has been nothing short of ridiculous. While tuna and queenfish have been by far the most prevalent it’s the consistent captures of a wide variety of species, both reef and pelagic, that’s made for some of the best days’ fishing.

The downside to this is the huge influx of bull sharks that have followed this action into the bay. These sharks would have to be some of the boldest and fearless animals getting around and they really do have their hunting technique out from Weipa down pat. They hang around the boat until a tuna is hooked and fought to within about 30m of the boat, and then they proceed to climb all over each other to annihilate it. These bull sharks are all 3m+ long and their speed, power and manoeuvrability has to be seen to be believed.

The only way to have a chance of landing a fish once the sharks are on is the old freespool method. Pretty much as soon as you see the shark on your fish or your fish finds a new lease of life and proceeds to tear off randomly at 100 miles an hour, you need to open your bail arm and let the fish swim off as fast as it can. While it’s steaming off into the Gulf, clear all the other lines, get your crew seated, engine going then engage the reel and chase after the hopefully still hooked fish at about 10 knots, or as fast as the hooked-up angler can wind. Once up on the fish, a quick wrap of the leader and swipe of the net should declare you the winner. It is fast and furious action that really gets the heart racing. It also pays to go 100m at full noise before you let the fish go to give them a chance of swimming off and recovering.

FISHING IN JUNE

Water temps in the rivers have just started to drop and will obviously drop more throughout June. The spring tides have fished best while the neaps have produced the quieter days. This will be the case more and more as we head into winter, with ‘no run, no fun’ becoming a common occurrence in the cooler water.

Wind will also dictate how June and the following months fish. No doubt we will get our usual share of strong wind warnings and it will really be a case of not only finding a place to fish out of the wind, but also finding a place to fish out of the wind with fish in it. The smaller creeks are an obvious answer here, as well as making sure you fish the sheltered banks at the right stage of the tide. The fish rarely feed all day so it’s a matter of being in the places they feed at just the right time before moving on to the next spot.

With some big run-out tides during June, barra anglers should look to put plenty of time in on the gutters at the bottom half of the tide. Live baits will fish well, as will gold Bombers, small shad style plastics and topwater lures in the form of fizzers, poppers and walk-the-dog style stickbaits.

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