Reef rampage with rising temperatures
  |  First Published: October 2015

Spring is upon us and we have a spring in our step, because the weather has been kind and so have the fish. Spring is our prime time up here with the weather and fishing turning it on.

Some good numbers of billfish are about and should be on the increase this month. We have found them to be quite timid, and some extra effort has been required to set a hook.

Big balls of bait are one of the many giveaways for billfish with a few usually hanging around pushing the bait to the surface. Trolled skirts are usually the technique adopted by most, however taking the time to rig baits or learning to rig baits can be the difference between catching the fish or watching it disappear. Do yourself a favour and learn a few rigs!

Garfish are an excellent bait and when rigged properly, can trigger an aggressive bite. The most important thing with baits is that they look natural and swim naturally. Any imperfection in a bait can cause a fussy fish to turn their nose up. Swimming gar rigged with mono are an effective bait and can be used trolling, or for a switchbait. Also, skip gar are very effective and account for a lot of hook-ups. Keep these in your arsenal and you should see a few fish to the boat.

Getting the fish to the boat is the main thing and having a good teaser or teasers is essential. There are many different types and it’s very much a personal choice. Either way, an appropriately chosen teaser can make the difference in hooking on to those elusive billfish. As always, if you’re lucky enough to land one of these beauties, it is imperative that the fish is well looked after and released in good health. We want these fish to be around to fight another day.

The reefs have been fishing really well and we have seen some great numbers of coral trout, red-throat emperor, green jobfish and spangled emperor most prevalent amongst the catches. Any of the reef edges hold these fish and working these areas can result in a good esky full of tasty reef fish.

Speaking of tasty reef fish, the red emperor have been on the chew of late and we have landed some cracking fish. Fishing the deep shoals and rubble wide of the reef should see you bagging a few. Remember, you will not always mark these fish on your sounder so keeping a sharp eye on the sounder and locating some nice rough rubble is important to being successful in catching a few. While fishing large flesh baits are the norm we have been having some great success on large saltwater flies.

A lot of our big red fish have been falling to the flies, with the fish finding them irresistible. Rigging them straight onto a paternoster has been working well. There is a large range of colours and configurations you can choose from, and they all work very well. If you haven’t given them a go, have a crack with the flies, they sure do make a difference.

We have had some good reports of fishing in the estuaries improving as this weather heats up into spring. Solid barramundi, mangrove jack and grunter have been pulled from the local estuaries and should continue to improve over the next month.

Some good numbers of mud crabs are also being caught and should be more prevalent in the coming months as it heats up.

Be sure to check local regulations and remember to only keep what you intend on eating. That way there will be plenty for everyone chasing a feed.

Enjoy the next month out on the water and if you see us around don’t be afraid to say g’day. Tight lines.

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