Offshore encounters are an early Christmas gift!
  |  First Published: December 2015

The fishing has really followed the weather’s example and is warming up fast! An array of fish species are on the move, and have scored some really hot bites for inshore angling and offshore pursuits.

The rivers and creeks have seen high-ranking tropical species in good form including your incidental barra catches, mangrove jack, golden trevally and fingermark – particularly in the lower sections of our systems. With plenty of saltwater pushing right upstream, species such as tarpon, queenfish and river trevally have also featured beyond places they normally don’t inhabit. There have been a lot of small rats in the rivers and creeks, and this has ensured plenty of predatory species stalking them as prey. Just offshore there’s been some really good fishing on offer on the local inshore reefs and patches.

Large-mouth nannygai have been caught consistently off the bottom and at times, the area has seen an explosion of school mackerel doing the rounds on the surface. There has been prolific number of brassy and bludger trevally occupying the mid-water Despite water temperatures rising steadily on the outer reef, the fishing has remained extremely positive in recent times with some very impressive hauls of fish coming back to the docks on a regular basis.

There have been days where the coral trout have gone into overdrive, with catches weighing up to a very respectable 5kg. When they have settled down, the large-mouth nannygai up to 10kg have taken the limelight, with some thumping red emperor in the mix as well. When these reds have been on the bite, dozens of fish have been caught in a very short period. With fast and furious action, this fishing will result in a big sack full of the best eating fish from off the reef. Some days the reds have gone quiet, but the fishing has fired up on other species. The local Dragon Lady charter caught almost 150 fish one day – and they were all grey. A mix of gold spot trevally and slatey bream kept the anglers going from the moment they dropped a line, right to the end of the day. These types of days have been more common than not when there is a particular species firing on all cylinders.

The Spanish mackerel makes an impact at times and they tend to be your bigger isolated models rather than the smaller schooling fish. The weather pattern really settled down at the start of November offering generally very calm conditions – something you’d expect moving into December.

On the game fishing scene, the season got off to a slow start, particularly up along the Ribbon Reefs with a lot of smaller black marlin caught, with a handful of the bigger models around. Recently, the size of fish is improving with more big girls been tagged and released down around the Linden Bank and Opal Ridge grounds. There has been a bit of down time in between the better bites.

Hopefully there will be a late run this year and the back end of the season really fires up with some really impressive catches.

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