While the southern half of the state has been enjoying some great storms and a bit of rain with them, up here it’s been dry and hot with not a single storm as yet. The days on the water have been oppressive, but surprisingly the fishing has been red hot.
The giant king threadfin salmon may have been late this year but they have shown up with a vengeance. My clients enjoyed quite a few sessions in the double figures, and all fish have been over a 1m long. It has also been relief that the bull sharks have moved on, allowing us to enjoy some great sessions unhindered.
Another species that has been going crazy is golden snapper (fingermark). The average size this year has been substantially larger than usual, with a lot of fish between 60-70cm. If you can find some rubbly bottom and sit it out with live herring or small mullet you will be in with a chance. Soft and hard vibes are also worth a shot, particularly if you can find the fish aggregated like on a pinnacle or other structure. There is also no shortage of big greenback herring to use for livies; some of the schools are as big as half a footy field.
In among the herring schools has been a rather late run of big Spaniards, which is quite unusual for this time of year. They are mostly offshore now and many headed south, but we sure don’t mind if they hang around. We actually had a threadfin about 110cm bitten in half by a monster Spaniard (the perfectly straight slice through the threadfin’s body gave the culprit away). Some of the Spaniards that have speared out of the water have been up around that 50lb mark, so if you are in the channel and you run into these big herring schools try trolling some big shallow divers or trolled garfish.
One species we have not seen much of, but which should be around now, is the big golden grunter. We quite often get them on vibes while fishing for other species, but none as yet have hit the deck. The locals have been scratching their heads, but hopefully these fish are just a bit late like many other species this year, as our seasons have been about six weeks behind for every species of fish.
Not a lot of reports have been coming from out wide, as the stinking hot days always put the fish off when fishing during the day. Night fishing is another story though, with most species coming alive at night. I’m not sure what causes the daytime fishing to slow down, but it’s been happening for as long as I can remember. If you are going to fish during the day out there it’s best when the winds come from the southeast. If it’s northerly, forget trying to catch fish. Just take the snorkelling gear instead.
January should see much the same as we experienced this past month, and hopefully those big grunter will show. It is also a great month for fishing the headlands around the islands for golden snapper. As far as pelagic action goes, big queenfish and GT around the headlands and isolated structure inshore should prove worthwhile. Also keep an eye out for the odd school of big northern bluefin tuna.
If you’d like to learn my trade secrets of fishing for threadfin, we have a new online course ready for release in 2016. Head to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com to learn about our online courses – Threadfin Tactics, Wonky Holes and Barra Basics – plus go you’ll in the draw to win a barra charter with me.
• If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great fishing competitions etc, head on over to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.Reads: 770