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Try out some trout tricks
  |  First Published: February 2016



Some much-welcomed rain has fallen over the past month and greened things up a little around our neck of the woods. Along with the rain, comes the heat and humidity. A fair trade off I think.

The rain has created an increase in activity in local estuaries. The muddies are on the move post downpour, so throw a pot in. What better way to use those fish frames from recent fishing trips.

The fishing in the creeks and rivers has been productive, with reports of good mangrove jack, grunter, salmon and golden snapper all making an appearance. This month should continue on the same trend with the barramundi now also on offer, and the closed season coming to an end on 1 February.

The catches out of the blue have been promising, a benefit for us, but also a benefit for the sharks. With the very warm water temperatures and increased fishing activity, the sharks have been out of control lately. There’s not much you can do in this instance but move along to find another spot. Sometimes moving into shallower water is the only option.

Fishing the shallower waters around our beautiful backyard reefs has been fantastic, with plenty of coral trout on the bite. The tasty critters have been fishing very well over the past month, with plenty of them welcomed to the esky and on to our BBQs. They aren’t a particularly hard fish to catch, you just need to fish the pressure points of any fringing reef around the islands or outer reef to land yourself a few gems.

With regard to baits, anything from squid and pillies to flesh and live baits will work on the trout. Live baits usually account for the larger models, so hang on if you drop down a livey to the depths as these bigger fish know where their home is, and will reef you in no time. This is why a good, strong length of leader is a must. Anything 60lb and up should be fine as leader material, just as long as it has good abrasion resistance as the reefs they live in are sharp.

Speaking of sharp, I recently had the privilege to head out and do some fishing with a friend for coral trout, and he brought along his brain spike. Not only is this a fast, humane way to kill a fish, the difference it makes to the trout’s flesh is astounding. There is plenty of info on the Internet and in books for this process, so give it a try next time you head out for a fish.

A fish we have had lots of fun with over the past few months has been the cobia. They have now tapered off with only a few still hanging around. However, the golden snapper have moved in around the islands to take their place! They really do fight hard and taste great. Any shoal or small reef around the islands should produce a golden snapper or two. Most baits will work for them, and a simple paternoster rig through to a running ball rig does most of the damage for us.
Schools of Spanish mackerel are still about, and have been damaging my hip pocket. A lot of them have been 20kg+ beasts. They annoyingly account for a lot of sinkers bitten off while either dropping a bait, or retrieving a rig from the bottom. I have now learnt to dull my sinkers before using them, however even this sometimes doesn’t deter them!We aren’t complaining too much though; as we love catching Spanish, especially up in that larger size. They really do give a great fight and are equally impressive on the eye.

Float out livebaits rigged with wire for those razor sharp teeth to catch a mack. Live fusilier or trevally work very well when livebait fishing. Floating a bait out while out fishing this month should be on your to-do list, as a sneaky mackerel could be lurking about.

This month should see the reefs and islands provide good fishing, so head out when you can. If the weather isn’t so kind, the estuaries are another good option.

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this month, and lets hope that the sharks give it a break for a while.

• If you’re interested in a game, sport or reef fishing charters around the Whitsundays, give Luke a call on 0429 724 822 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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