Choice capital of the tropics
  |  First Published: September 2014

September in the tropics is a favourite time of year for many anglers as it offers an array of fishing opportunities both inshore and offshore. The weather pattern is generally very good and the day and night time temperatures are just magic. It’s also probably the busiest time in the region as tourists arrive in their droves to enjoy the ambience of our sleepy seaside village in Far North Queensland.

On the piscatorial side of things it’s a crossover period where all your winter and summer time species are on the move. Add to this you have the marlin fishing kicking into gear as well, and we have the best marlin grounds in the world. It’s exciting times.

On the reef to date it has been an exceptional year for our favourite reef species which include the likes of coral trout, red emperor and thumping big large-mouth nannygai. The weather hasn’t been all that kind at times, but when we’ve had good weather windows the action has been jam-packed. Other species which have shown really good form over the cooler months have included tea-leaf and gold-spot trevally, spangled emperor, sweetlip, moses perch, reef mangrove jack and cobia. Nothing much will change in the coming month and the fishing will be top notch. It will only improve with the chance of more calmer days which you would expect for this time of the year.

Our light tackle scene has experienced one of the best overall seasons in recent years. The amount of Spanish mackerel in the region has been phenomenal this year and there’s been a good mix of other mackerel as well including spotted mackerel on the outer reefs and grey and school mackerel on the coastal reefs. For a few months now catching bag limits has been child’s play, whether it be by trolling methods or floating rigs, and this infectious style of fishing should keep rolling on in the coming month.

The small black marlin season has also been pretty good this season, with plenty of frisky stallions around 25-30kg being caught on the wide grounds south of Port Douglas. The general consensus is this small black marlin fishery will continue through most of September, which is when the bigger models will also start to arrive from the Pacific Ocean and Coral Sea and prowl along the continental shelf. Generally the 200-500lb specimens will be registered in September, with the bigger females to arrive sometime later in the month.

There’s always a bit of variation from year to year as to when this light will be ignited, but there are signs that it could be an early start to the heavy tackle season. One thing’s for certain – we’ll start to see a lot more game boats arrive from down south and many of them will base themselves around the Port Douglas region for the next few months. It’s great to see a spectacular flotilla of vessels arrive in the area, and it’s one of the greatest migrations in the fishing world.


Now that the coolest of our days have passed, our rivers and creeks will start to produce well as the days get warmer. Barra will be back on the agenda, and mangrove jack and fingermark catches will become more frequent. Trevally and queenfish schools will be abundant, and some of the queenfish catches have already been super impressive during August, especially in our bigger systems like the Daintree River.

There should also be still some good fishing for school mackerel at the front of our rivers and creeks, and our coastal reefs in certain places will hold numbers of grey mackerel as well. The inshore fishery overall will offer a fair bit of variety in the coming weeks and should be quite productive.

So if you are thinking of coming up to the tropics, you can rest assured the fishing will be diverse and will provide plenty of action no matter style of fishing you’re into. You’d be mad not to have a crack at most of it!

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