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Sails ahoy for billfish
  |  First Published: August 2015



Dry July – I couldn’t do it and neither could the rain! We have seen some more showery rain this month along with the persistent strong winds. However, we have had some glamour days out on the water, which have resulted in some great fishing.

On the nicer days we have ventured to the outer reefs and they did not disappoint. Solid catches of red throat emperor and coral trout were the norm on every trip we managed out there. Although the coral trout have quietened off a little with the colder weather, they are definitely still there and will fall for the usual baits. Nevertheless, red throat emperor are making up for it! We are seeing them in plague proportions on the reefs and will continue into the next month.

Fishing the reef edges and deeper reefs will produce red throat that can be caught on a standard paternoster rig, however the running ball sinker to hook rig the best. Red throat make for an excellent meal so chasing a few of them should definitely be on the cards this month.

Despite the inclement weather this month we have seen some nice clean water through the Whitsundays, usually just wide of the islands. In these cleaner waters we have been seeing good numbers of billfish hanging around. Some reports of smaller black marlin being caught are a great sign for the upcoming season. We have also caught some great sailfish this month, which are a welcomed sight. Don’t be afraid to run some well positioned skirts out, as you may bag yourself a billfish. Just look for the bait and the billys shouldn’t be far away. Remember if you are lucky enough to land one of these unicorns that you look after the fish. We all want them released in good health to live to fight another day.

Speaking of unicorns, we have caught a couple of snapper (the southern variety) during these cooler months, which is unusual for this region. All fish have been 7kg+ and were great to catch. Although a welcomed surprise for us fishing the bottom, it’s not so much for our southern customers trying to catch something else other than snapper! However, we will take them any day.

On the bottom out around the shoals and reefs (besides snapper), we have seen the usual numbers of nannygai gracing us with their presence. Look for the making tide on the shoals and similar for these guys and you should bag a few for dinner. Speaking of the dinner table, we have caught some great red emperor this month and next month should be no exception. While these fish live close to structure, look around just wide of it on the rubble patches to find a few of these impressive red fish. Paternoster rigs loaded with large flesh bait will bring them unstuck. Hold onto your hats though as they do know where they live and will give it their all to get back home. The tell tale signs you have a nice red on are the powerful lunges and the fight all the way to the top. You will be in for one hell of a fight and one tasty meal that’s for sure.

For a tasty meal you can’t go past Spanish mackerel and we have been catching plenty. Although they have been hard work recently, they are still there and are worth the effort. Trolling baits, lures and jigging have been working for us and it will just depend on the day what they want to eat. So be prepared for all techniques and you should nail yourself a mack.

As always with the macks, caution is required once on board as their razor sharp teeth have no problem opening up our soft human flesh. It’s a bad end to a fishing trip, speaking from experience!

If you intend on heading out this month please take care as we are seeing increasing numbers of whales. Always maintain a good lookout for these impressive mammals when on the move, especially in the darker hours of the day.

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