Cold fronts slow down anglers
  |  First Published: August 2014

Just as they forecast a warmer than average winter, what happens? Yes that’s right, the three coldest fronts I have ever experienced on the water up here.

We have had periods in the past month where it was just hypothermic and moving around the waterways becomes a slow, painful crawl. Some days even went into the too hard basket as conditions comprising of freezing winds and cold rain mixed together just made it unbearable. Fishing in these kind of weather changes generally puts the fish off as well, and would explain why we had a few patchy periods.

But in between the cold bursts of southern air we did have some good fishing as well. The reef reports have been exceptional with most boats doing well on all species. There has also been more reports this year of good red emperor than I have heard for some years. Must be all that rough weather early this year, keeping everyone off the water for months. I will have to admit though we have had a few stunning weather periods too, even if it was freezing.

We have found some great threadfin salmon schools in the main channel again this year and it was great to see them back from a short absence. Hopefully our better than average wet season will ensure salinity levels remain stable enough for the threadies to hang around all year. On a sour note the bullsharks seem to be hovering with them and we have had casualties already. Don’t think I have ever seen bullsharks this time of year either. It’s been a bit strange.

Barra have been a bit mixed up. Sometimes they are biting well and other times it is hard to raise a bite but I guess that is just the way they have always been when it comes to weather changes. We have still caught some cracker fish with several over the metre to boot. For the rest of winter I’m really not sure how the barra will bite. It will depend on whether or not these cold weather fronts continue or we slip into that warmer winter that was predicted!

One other species that’s fishing well is golden snapper also known as fingermark. Some of the locals have done real well and those willing to put the time in during the evening hours have fared best. We have also noticed an increase in numbers on the deep ledges in the channel. Jigging soft vibes has been working a treat and my 2 favourites have not let us down. The Gimp and the Species 95 are the best vibes I have used for this species. Drop them to the bottom and jig them slow and short and in no time we usually get smashed especially when they are really on the chew.

Both Spaniards and big northern bluefin have been prevalent with some good reports coming in including a northern blue that we had on for over 2 hours on 10kg braid. This fish was a horse and ended up gaining its freedom after it dragged us for 4.8 miles from where we hooked it.

Now that we are in full winter mode I would expect similar fishing scenarios as the past month with the only species that may show up in more numbers being the small black marlin. August is usually the prime month for these little billies. Reports are scratchy at the moment but I’m sure that will improve this month. If you are looking to target them at Hinchinbrook then you first have to find the bait grounds. These areas are generally halfway between the islands and the inner reefs. Keep an eye out in that 28-33m country and look for the birds diving on the yakka and pilly schools. If you see ganets (booby birds) then you know you are on the right bait schools, but if you see the terns diving on bait then it is most likely tuna feeding on a much smaller bait source than the marlin prefer.

• If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great competitions etc, head on over to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.

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