Welcome to fishing paradise in Port Douglas
  |  First Published: March 2016

As we enter into March, the full extent of the wet season is still yet to be determined. To date we’ve had a moderate wet season with huge downpours of rain occasionally and a lot more storm and electrical activity than what we are accustomed to. Overall, the fishing conditions have turned over nicely for the moment providing some good action whether you fish the coastal or offshore scene.

Inshore we’ve seen a lot of rain build up on the mountain ranges, particularly in the afternoons and evenings, and naturally this finds its way down to our local tributaries and along the coast. This has been more than sufficient action to stir the pot and provide an abundance of new life and fresh baits.

This has been the case along our local beaches, which have seen a plethora of food available for our predatory fish that have been happily gorging themselves. Some early mornings have seen the entirety of Four Mile Beach explode with life as a variety of fish relentlessly attack batches of jelly prawns, adult prawns, mullet, garfish and any other type of fingerlings you could imagine.

Trevally, tarpon, queenfish, flathead, giant herring and barramundi have all been accounted for at various times and the action has been frenetic along the 6km stretch of beach. This phenomenon only seems to happen a handful of times each year and is truly a spectacle to observe and fish when everything comes together. Fly fishers have enjoyed tremendous success, and those using tiny surface poppers and small soft plastic prawn and bait imitation lures have done exceptionally well. The crack of dawn on an incoming tide with calm conditions has been the perfect recipe for this scene to erupt.

The beaches going off, but the river fishing within the shire has been quite good as well. Mangrove jack seem to be prolific in most systems and the barra reports across the board have been consistent. Golden snapper (fingermark) have been up and about in our local estuary as well as up on the Daintree River, which is a stronghold for these prized inshore species. Other than this, grunter have been busy across our estuarine flats and there is always a contingency of mid-sized queenfish and trevally moving in and out of the river mouths.

Luckily any heavy rains have cleared rather quickly, which has given our systems a fresh tidy up before returning to normal. This can change in a heartbeat in the tropics, especially if the precipitation hangs in for an extended period and March can traditionally be one of those periods.

Offshore, the reef fishing has maintained a steady run of form during these really hot months, more so than previous years when the fishing has been irregular. Coral trout have been the most consistent prized catch and there have been some good spurts of large-mouth nannygai around. As to be expected, the trevally trio of gold spot, t-leaf and bludger have often turned up in solid numbers and provided some great back bending action on the reel. Other species that are caught regularly include cobia, green jobfish, spangled and red emperor and few Spanish mackerel.

Once again the future weather will determine the outcome on the reef. If it remains as it has been with plenty of calm days on offer, then the fishing should come along nicely. A heavy monsoon trough or potential cyclone on the other hand will change the landscape dramatically.

The bureau says we are to expect less cyclone activity this year, but one should never underestimate the temperamental nature of living in the Far North during the wet season.

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