Get a spring in your step
  |  First Published: September 2014

The chilly August weather is now over with the sun hitting the horizon at a more respectable hour. The transition from the early morning westerly winds of July and August gain a hint of warmth with spring approaching. September is a month to really get excited as estuaries fire up once again, and the blue water winter species are still about in good numbers.

Reports of thick schools of Spanish mackerel on the shoals are still rife, as well as massive captures of doggie and spotted mackerel around the weed beds close to town.

The amount of juvenile black marlin have kept the game fisher out amongst the best of it, with a lot of boats raising double figures and placing plenty of tags as well. Reports should remain constant during September, a good sign of things to come for our southern counterparts.

Hinchinbrook has been a bit hit and miss of late with some anglers indicating good captures, and others barely raising a scale. A consistent angler informed me that focusing on the flats has been working well with barramundi up to 85cm gracing the decks. Some bigger fish over the metre mark have been taken in Hinchinbrook and local systems with the Bohle River giving up its fair share, as well as the ever-popular Cattle Creek.

The reef has been producing steady numbers of red throat emperor and coral trout. The reefs wide of Lucinda, including Britomart and Trunk, seem to be copping the brunt of angler tempted by the shorter run.

Local wrecks like the Sea Hound, Bomber and Solitaire are producing good golden snapper and large mouth nannygai lately, which are a rewarding stop-over during a return trip from the reef. The huge Lucinda Jetty has also been producing some large golden snapper and the usual queenfish that are in plague proportions, which in turn attract similar numbers of anglers keen to sample their mid-air acrobatics.

Flats fishing is also a really effective method to get reels screaming. A relatively uncommon method other than to specialty sport fishers or fly-fishers, it can be a visual appealing and action packed way of spending a day on the water.

Fish such as golden trevally, permit, grunter, barramundi and giant trevally are common captures, all having distinct characteristics requiring different tactics.

A good pair of polarized glasses is a must-have to identify your quarry from a distance before the slap of waves spooks them before a cast is made.

By using a variety of light jigheads and fitting plastics or even hand tied buck tails, this is bound to kick along this exciting method of angling. By understanding the tides and deeper areas of water, you can position your vessel to best ambush fish you are targeting, with an exit strategy in the back of the mind to ensure you are not left high and dry.

A high position in the boat will give the best chance of seeing the fish, with quick reflexes and accurate casts at a distance. Try to cast at fish moving towards you rather than away to avoid ‘lining’ them.

I like a 7’ spin rig with a 2500 size reel and 4-10lb line to achieve the best distance and accuracy required. In the fly fishing department it is hard to go past a 9wt quality fly rod, such as a TFO BVK paired with a large Arbor reel, weight forward intermediate line and plenty of backing. Flies should consist of the ever-reliable white and chartreuse Clousers, various crab and shrimp patterns.

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