Stretched out in August
  |  First Published: August 2014

If you talk with a lot of long time locals they will say that August can be one of the most consistent months for giving good weather so fingers are crossed.

Last month plenty of mackerel graced the iceboxes of most who tried targeting them. The pelagic fish have certainly started frothing the waters here and let me tell you I would not want to be a baitfish right now. Here is a game plan for August.

Hinchinbrook Channel

Fishing the channel will be frustrating and tough on most occasions if chasing fish such as barra and jacks, but on the other hand plenty of other species will be ready to swipe at your offerings. Flathead are about in good numbers and they remind you it’s winter when they smack your lure in that barra drain. We get some solid flathead here in the tropics and they go hard on lighter gear and eat lures, plastics and baits eagerly. Get your lure or plastic bumping the bottom in areas that offer an ambush zone and look for bait as the big lizards will be there. For some reason bright pinks and greens seem to get their attention always. The black bream will eat you out of the boat, they are savage and will attack large mullet baits too. They will smash your large lure on the troll and chew your plastic up and spit it at you. For those into light tackle sportfishing they offer great fun sessions on small lures or small plastics, but that’s not for everyone, which I don’t mind!

Golden snapper are hanging in the creek mouth snags and keeping an eye on the sounder as you travel up the channel should pay off when you find a rocky area covered with bait. You may find some solid shows of fish near the bottom but really you are trying to locate baitfish. If you can get a good anchor in and hang over the bottom structure and bait you will get smashed. Live herring are a great live bait for golden snapper, black jew, grunter and threadfin. Local guide Carlo from Fishing Charters Townsville got his clients some ripper threadfin up to 118cm a few weeks into July so hopefully this will be the start of their arrival in good numbers.

I am still getting the odd barra by working deep diving lures into heavy structure on the rising tides. Especially in the afternoons when the water is at its warmest and the bait is around. Once again really knowing how to use your electronics to their potential will give you a better chance. I’m going to be giving some of those Twin River Lures a run as they look great and I’m hearing barra can’t resist them.

Jetty and Beyond

So the hardest decision we have to make every time we’re heading out wider is if we hit the Sugar Loader Jetty? The problem is if you give the jetty a flick you may end up staying there for hours, which is worth it as you save fuel and the fishing can be red hot. The big winter queenies are stacked up and the odd XL GT is lurking, mackerel are also about especially when the herring schools are abundant. If the queenies are not playing the game change you’re tactics and do the opposite of what you had been doing; if you were slowly twitching give it a fast burn for a change.

If you do get past the jetty then the Palm Islands will be worth a shot for mackerel and the odd reef fish on lures. Anchoring up and drifting out a pillie or two is also a very good option. The red throat emperor also move in to the islands and can rip your rod out of your hand, especially on a cold night as your mind wanders.

The reef will also be fishing well in the shallows for trout and the red fish don’t mind engulfing a big bottom bait. Spending a cold night drifting the ocean sorts the men from the boys but fighting a big red from the deep will have you sweating. Once again drifting a pillie or live bait near any reef point during the day should see mackerel in the boat. Once you have enough stop fishing for them as they don’t release well and it’s sad to see dead floating mackerel drift by you.

A mate of mine has been getting some great crayfish at the reef, so grabbing the wetsuit and a mask and exploring may just put the perfect mix into the icebox.

August also should see some improved catch rates of the juvenile black marlin making their way through feeding. Keep looking for those baitfish balled up out in the depths. Chasing billfish is new to me but I can say I’m hooked as they are such special fish. I will certainly be spending loads of boring hours hoping for that screaming run.

As you can see Lucinda is all systems go at the moment so get out and get into them.

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