|  First Published: August 2014

The offshore fishing has been first class when the winds have allowed, with plenty of mackerel on the chew, along with reds and trout on the bottom.

Estuary fishing has been less prolific, with the odd good bite interspersed with lean times. The opportunities to get offshore have been limited so far this winter; so grab your chances when they come.

August has dished up awesome weather in recent years, with fishing to match, so here’s hoping for a repeat set. We are certainly overdue for an extended run of good weather and fishing this year!

Mackerel will be the main target for fishos this month, as they should be around from inshore, to the outer reef. There have been plenty biting at times, yet on other occasions they have been hard to find. Doggies and Spaniards have been the main players off Cairns, with more spotty mackerel to the south and greys to the north.

Trolling, floating live and dead baits and even jigging have all produced at various times, with no particular method dominating. The best approach is to try a few methods until you work out what’s doing the trick on any particular day. Also keep an eye on other boats to see what’s are working for other anglers. There are so many variables when chasing mackerel and it can be a real challenge when they are finicky. When they decide to turn it on however, any and all methods will produce the goods.

There will be plenty of other pelagic action offshore this month, with cobia, trevally of all shapes and sizes, northern blue fin tuna and small black marlin all being regular catches.

Bill chasers will be hoping for a repeat of 2012, when the baby blacks really turned it on off Cairns, with 130 tagged in three days during the Fitzroy Island competition. The odd baby black was caught in early July, which is a good sign for the upcoming season.

Trolling a spread of hard body lures, skipping garfish, skirted lures and swimming baits will cover your options for baby blacks, along with a wide range of other light tackle speedsters.

Reef fishing should be red-hot this month, when the winds allow. Red will also be the colour foremost in reef angler’s visions, with large mouth nannygai and red emperor the main target in the deep water. The reds have been biting well throughout winter, especially at night. August usually sees excellent red fishing in both size and quality, with plenty of fish over 6kg with the odd 10kg+ trophy red.

Coral trout will also be well and truly on the chew up shallow, as they feed up in preparation for spawning during the first serious increase in water temperature that coincides with a new moon.

Sharks have been a constant and widespread problem for anglers in recent months. Other than moving considerable distance at speed, every time they come in, about the only other tactic that has some success is to beef up your tackle and reef (excuse the pun) the fish to the surface. Going back to the old faithful hand line will help increase your chance of getting them to the boat; though probably reduce your hook-up rate.

Anglers have spent plenty of time this winter restricted to the estuaries, where the fishing has been pretty quiet most of the time. There has been the odd report of good catches, but generally the fishing has matched the weather that has constrained anglers to sheltered waters.

The odd barra, golden snapper and mangrove jack are still being caught by the patient or expert angler but the average fisho has struggled to find a feed.

Bream have been around at times, along with trevally, queenfish, salmon and grunter. As the water warms the tropical trophy trio of jacks, golden snapper and barra will become more active and a bit easier to catch, so take advantage of any warm, still, periods to target these species. Incoming tides will generally work better for trevally, queenfish and grunter, with the outgoing tides more suited to chasing golden snapper, barra and jacks.

August is a great month for anglers that have the boat and weather to access the reef and close offshore waters, so let’s hope Huey dishes up another run of superb late winter weather.

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