The start of the month gave us persistent northwesterlies, combined with hot humid days and some decent rain, which kept most landlocked. However, some respite has recently been granted, and the fishing has been awesome.
The barra season is in full swing and most have been graced with a fish or two for their efforts. Barra are a fantastic fish to target. From their powerful surge to head-shaking leaps, they make for a great angling experience. They are certainly one of my favourite fish to catch. Fish tight around timber snags and other structure during the early morning or late afternoon, with lures, plastics and live baits.
Anglers have captured mud crabs while targeting barra. But don’t be shellfish! If you get more than enough for a feed, let a few go so others can also enjoy the sweet taste of heavenly crab goodness.
We have continued to see great number of fish caught around the islands and outer reefs. Plenty of tasty red-throat emperor and coral trout have been on the menu from the outer reefs, with many reports of good-size fish making up the majority of catches. Fish the lead up to the full and new moons for your best chance to find the big ones. A lot of other species have been biting well and quite a number of red emperor have made a welcome appearance. Fish the deep broken ground around the reefs for reds, however if you are lucky enough to stay overnight on the reef, you can also expect to steal a couple from the shallower anchorages, along with the usual suspects of spangled emperor and red-throat. However, if reef fishing isn’t for you, then the islands and inner shoals are another fantastic option.
We have seen a resurgence of large-mouth nannygai of late around the shoals and outer islands. Some healthy fish have been boated with nannygai to 12kg caught regularly. Along with the larger fish, we have seen loads of smaller undersize nannygai as well. This is fantastic sight as it gives us a good indication that the future fishing for them looks promising. If you catch a junior model, release them as quickly and gently as possible to ensure these great fish can be sustained in coming years. Expect them to be a regular catch as the numbers should be on the increase over the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, the taxman has also been a regular visitor to the reefs. Everyone has their theory as to why the sharks are hanging around, but all I know is they are the worst we have seen them in a long time. If they do become a problem while wetting a line, move to another spot so you don’t waste good fish on a toothy man in a grey suit. They seem to be everywhere though, even smashing our pelagic species on the surface.
The pelagic species have fished well and we have seen good numbers of bluefin tuna, mac tuna and spanish mackerel hanging around, along with the odd mahimahi. A lot of bigger mackerel have been hanging deep with a lot caught via live baits on the bottom. Unusual maybe, but this has become a trend in the past few months so give it a crack next time you’re out. Another trend we have seen is billfish lurking about around the islands and shipping channel. Plenty of black marlin and sailfish are still being sighted and caught; so set a well-organised spread of lures or baits in the coming month. Even if you don’t nail that billy, you will likely latch onto a Spanish or two.
Speaking of latching on, I’m off to enjoy a couple of quiet ones after an enjoyable (but very humid) day out on the blue. Fishing should be of a good standard this month so if you can swing a trip in out on the water, I’d be doing just that. It is a great chance to escape from the Iphone and Ipad and enjoy our ridiculously picturesque, backyard paradise.
In the words of Ergon Energy, ‘look up and live.’ Cheers!
• 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--Reads: 624