Winter has been a cracker, the pelagic fish were about in massive numbers and were hungry and ready to tear things to shreds. September will bring more of the same but the channel will start slowly warming up and the iconic barra will be more willing to open their mouths.
Anglers have been tangling with some big crocs over the cooler months and I don’t mean the snapping handbag type. Flathead on average are rather large in the tropics and swimming some live baits on the flats and mouths of creeks will see them come to the party.
Flathead will hunt in very shallow water and the best sessions I have had actually seen me landing the lure on the dry sand and bringing it back into the water. Lures should be digging into the bottom on the retrieve and if using plastics they should bump the bottom. Bream are hunting in the usual winter packs of thousands and will destroy your live baits in seconds. It is normally the case of moving spots if the bream are about as they will deplete your bait supply and can be rather annoying.
For fun and games drifting along the shallows targeting mini GT and queenies on poppers and slugs can be very entertaining and bringing out the light gear will test your angling skills. Flats that have deep channels and drop-offs are good places to start off and keep your eyes peeled for bait schools or birds working.
Golden snapper are schooled up in the channel in the deeper water and there are numerous locations throughout the entire system that hold these great fish. Live herring are about in massive schools and one good cast with the net should be enough for a session or 5. Live herring fished on the bottom will get results and if you can fish around the smaller tides and especially the rising tide your results will improve dramatically. Golden snapper are suckers for plastics and jigs as well so if you find good shows on the sounder it is well worth dropping plastics such as Gulp Squid Vicious and 5-7” jerk shads down. Choosing a jighead that will get you to the bottom and remain natural looking is the secret to better catch rates.
As I have reported over the last few months the jetty is on fire and this will remain for months to come. Big winter queenfish are gathered in packs and when they are on, it is a case of everybody in the boat hooked up and then the fun really begins. Queenies are super quick and can rip 30m of drag then change direction and jump several times before dusting you up through the pylons.
Fish a light to medium drag and try let them run away from the structure before putting too much pressure on them. I recently had my sisters up from down south and loved watching their faces as packs of queenies would follow the plastic to the boat before turning and showering us with water.
Some of the action shots I have of wide open eyes and mouths as queenies took to the air are classic, queenies really are hard to beat in terms of sportsfishing. Find them on the sounder and drop jigs and plastics into them, rip the plastic back using a varying retrieve to find what turns them on. By far the standout plastics have been the Z-Man 5” Streakz and the Berkley Ripple Shad, the secret being to not go to bigger profile.
The Palm Islands are fishing well for Spanish and shark mackerel and if you can find bait schools on the points then the mackerel will be there. It is just the case of being persistent until they bite, and trying different techniques such as trolling, jigging and fishing baits both live and dead.
The reef is also on fire with cracking numbers of coral trout in the shallows and big red fish out in the deep. The weather has been average and the reef has not been flogged much as old windy has not really let up (typical) but on the odd occasions everyone is getting into some great fish both in quantity and quality.
Taking my sisters out into the deeper water chasing nannygai and emperor proved entertaining as it is a big ask to fight fish from the deep. The girls went home with bigger arm muscles after getting into some cracking nannygai up to around 12kg.
Also there have been good numbers of black marlin showing up and next month I will give you a good report and hopefully some photos to get the motivation levels up. Chasing blacks is a time consuming game and the action goes from dead slow (boredom) to adrenalin pumping mayhem in an instant.
Until next month, into em!Reads: 619