The past month has seen some extremely hot conditions for this time of year. This year so far has been a scorcher, and even the Northern Territory has been way hotter than normal. These kind of conditions have made fishing the shallows a little difficult, but when the odd bout of southeasterly winds come through some reasonable barra have been caught in shallows again. Overall it has been a pretty good year on the barra so far, especially considering another failed wet for not just our region but most of northern Australia.
The reef fishing has been surprisingly good as well, with some quality captures of coral trout coming from the deeper reefs wide of Mission beach. Fishing on the deeper shoals between the reefs at this time of year is the best bet. Shallow reef waters and hot days don’t really combine so keep your efforts deep for a while longer yet. One group of anglers also ran into a nice patch of rosy jobfish on the shelf near Armistice Reef. They are good eating fish and predominately come from deeper waters near the shelf. Mission Beach is a great destination to access the outer reef, with it being relatively close when compared to areas further south.
Anglers fishing the outer headlands and islands off Cardwell have seen some very large giant trevally, with some as big as 40kg eating bottom fish on their way up. GTs seem to have a fondness for small nannygai, as my brother can attest. While on a recent charter his clients were treated four times to some monster GTs inhaling their catches. Cape Sandwich in particular is overrun with these big silver bullets, and they could be found there again this month. Some very large queenfish and good schools of northern bluefin tuna have also been rampant in the area.
Further inshore the golden snapper (fingermark) and threadfin salmon have been unpredictable, showing up here and there. There have been no routines for these species lately, which has made them a bit hard to target on the day. I have noticed this before when waters get extremely hot; these fish must not be as heat tolerant as barra. In saying that, most of my barra captures are coming from deep water too, and we have certainly seen an absence of the larger fish feeding on the shallow water lines. Maybe the coming months will see them rise up a bit as we get right into autumn.
As far as the fishing in April is concerned, it will all depend on whether we get some last-minute rain, which can occur late in the season. This is often the case during hot years and bad wet seasons. if history is any guide. If we do get some late rain I don’t expect it to stir things up too badly, as late rains usually aren’t enough to cause major river flooding.
April is also one of my most favourite months for barra, with a lot of big 1m fish landed over the years. We also don’t really see any crossover species until the following month, so I don’t expect to see any inshore Spanish macks just yet. In the meantime, those massive GTs will make a great opponent for any of you pelagic junkies out there.
My brother Ian has joined me again running our second boat, and is now available for charter in Hinchinbrook as well as Townsville. Alternatively, if you would also like to learn more about our upcoming courses head to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com . I am currently only four barra away from achieving our 2000th barra over a metre, a milestone I have always wanted to reach before I retire from charters!Reads: 565