Pressure cooker conditions
  |  First Published: March 2015

We have just experienced the longest, calmest and warmest summer in the tropics that anyone can remember and to date the wet season has been very moderate.

We have seen more electrical storm activity thus far, mainly in the evening, but the rainfalls have been mediocre. Long-term locals of 30 years have said they’ve never seen it so hot for so long. Combine soaring temperatures with high humidity with little breeze, and what we have is a pressure cooker scenario.

All in all though what rain we have received has stirred up the rivers and creeks to a certain point and on the other hand there has been plenty of opportunity to continue to hit the bluewater, which is something we are not necessarily accustomed to at this time of year.

The barra season at the start of February got off to a reasonable start with most big barra caught down around the river mouths and local headlands. They’ve been caught in a variety of way including live bait, poppers and the amazing array of soft plastics on the market today. The incoming tide and the first of the outgoing tide has been productive.

Mangrove jack as they normally do have relished in the warmer months and they are prolific right through the river systems up to the brackish waters.

The golden snapper (fingermark) have been prevalent in the deeper holes with structure and live baits have produced best on the top or very bottom of the tide when the water movement slackens for a short period.

We’ve also seen masses of tarpon in our systems this summer and they’ve been generally pooling on the deeper bends and are readily caught retrieving small presentations on or near the surface such as tiny poppers and soft plastics. The tarpon have also ventured in vast numbers along our beaches and are very busy along the foreshore at very early morning light on an incoming tide.

It is difficult to say what the rains will do in the coming month but if things remain the same I’d expect the inshore action to trickle along nicely without breaking any records.

As mentioned, it is not often the weather allows to head offshore at this time of year but there has been ample opportunity. Inshore patches and wonky holes are producing healthy numbers of largemouth nannygai mainly around the 4-6kg range also with the odd monster gold spot cod to add a bit of gusto.

Further offshore the reef fishing has had some really bright moments with good landings of coral trout and small and large mouth nannygai in reasonable numbers. In some areas the smallmouth are in solid numbers and sizes and is one fish which has fallen off the radar over the last couple of years. Local skippers can’t explain but the smallmouth seemed to disappear off the face of the earth but these recent catches have been very pleasing. Once upon a time the smallmouth were an absolute guaranteed catch and if nothing else was biting at least you could return back home with a feed of fish.

Other than this there has been significant hauls hard-fightingtea-leaf and gold-spot trevally and they have been the saviour fish of many occasions over the warmer months and have been a major presence at most of the deeper nannygai locations.

The Spanish mackerel on the outer reef have ticked over nicely so far with consistent numbers caught on floating rigs and trolled garfish.

Other pelagics that have been thick in numbers have included skinny queenfish and mac tuna. They seem to be feeding on the tiny small fry bait and are interested in petite lure presentations. There’s been a good run of pelagic activity running up the inside of the outer reef in recent times and the Spanish mackerel have been amongst this activity so you don’t need to travel too far.

Will March bring with it a proper wet season drenching? That is the question that remains but to date it has been a pretty good wet season in relation to fishing results thus far with heaps of opportunity to wet a line wherever you can think of.


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