What will the wet season bring
  |  First Published: November 2015

So my normal pitiful amount of sleep now gets significantly slashed as November in Lucinda NQ means one thing – fish are getting active!

It is now a very common occurrence for my alarm clock to go off around 1 am, have my boat in water 1:30 and silently drifting down my favourite stretch of creek listening for signs of mangrove jacks smashing the heck out of bait.

November means the early beginnings of the wet season or the ‘build-up’ and this is pretty much my favourite time of year to be on water with a rod in my hand. Everyone will be talking about the upcoming wet season and if we will be getting any significant rains this year. From the mouths of the professionals it looks like another pitiful year, which is a massive shame. With solid rain and the flooding that follows it breathes new life into the waterways in freshwater, estuaries and bluewater. Read on to see what Lucinda will be offering anglers in November.

Hinchinbrook Channel

It’s very difficult to specifically narrow down the species list at this time of year as everything is on the prowl and ready to eat. With the mighty barramundi off the list (closed season midday 1st November) those red dogs aka mangrove jack are on top of lists and it’s safe to say that the majority of anglers will be out frothing the waters in search of these fish.

Targeting the drains and snags in creeks should see you tangling with a few fish. Mangrove jack love sitting in drains, especially if there is some kind of structure for them to hide in. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a few packs of the new TT SnakelockZ jigheads to match up with your Zman plastics – these snagless jigheads are worth their weight in gold and allow you to just lob your soft plastic straight into structure without much worry of getting snagged (pulling fish out is the hard part).

If you want bigger jacks then using a slightly larger plastic or lure is a good idea. The larger jacks will nearly always sit in the prime spots, first in-line to attack the baitfish as they swim by. A good quality sounder with side-scan technology is a very powerful tool in these situations, and finding submerged snags or rock bars in the middle of creeks will hold fish for sure. Using your fishing senses with what you see above the water matched with insane technology it’s now very hard for fish to hide.

Over the last few months the mangrove jacks have been really getting active with some amazing sessions in the snags. Fishing the last few hours of the run-out tide and the first of the run-in is no doubt the best times. Jacks like some good current hitting the front of their chosen ambush spot and normally wait under the snag but in the front section facing the current flow. The secret to entice them to have a go at your lure is to make pinpoint casts, which allow the lure or plastic to get down in the water column and swim very close to the structure.

The bigger golden grunter should hopefully be entering the area around this time of year. Fishing out along the first half of the sugar loader jetty with fresh squid, prawn or sardines will give you a good chance. The tides a few weeks before or after the full moon I find the best and choosing day or night sessions with tidal differences of around 1-1.5m work well as it allows you to fish the bottom without using house bricks for weights.

You will also be in with a shot of golden snapper and the odd black jew in these situations. I am sure I have wrote this several times but I’ll just add that bait runner style reels are unbeatable when fishing for grunter. The ability to feed them some line when they bite before striking will improve your hook-up rate.


The weather has been horrid for the last few months. The wind has been relentless, which has meant not much to report in terms of how the fishing has been. But November is an awesome time to get out to the reef and try to tangle with some reefies. There is a closed period from the 9-5 November so hopefully these days it’s blowing as its frustrating when the weather is finally perfect and it’s a reef closure.

There will still be the odd Spanish mackerel about and normally they will be pretty big, this is a great time to be towing around big baits such as wolf herring on wog heads for trophy size Spaniards. The deep drop offs subject to strong currents close to the reef edges are optimal hunting zones for mackerel.

For those hunting red fish the deeper grounds are worth a drift or dropping the anchor, especially in the afternoon and into the first few hours of the night. The anglers that will do the best will obviously be fishing good spots, but they will be fishing good baits as well.

Livies are unbeatable for big emperor and if not live then fresh hussar fillets are second in my books. Big slab baits with the colourful tail left on will attract attention, bigger baits will allow pickers to pick away, which in turn will berley the big fish over.

Using a larger hook will help as it is much harder to hook a smaller picker fish. It gets really annoying and tiring to prepare a great bait, drop it into 60m then hook a small fish and have to wind it up to the surface then repeat the process.

It’s just about time to break out the big gear and sharpen those assists as jigging out off the shelf is getting close. I’m syked to get out and feel the brutal power of the creatures that dwell in the deep. Extra large Spanish, wahoo, tuna, doggies and jobfish are all sharpening their teeth and getting ready to feed.

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