Reef red-emption after rain
  |  First Published: May 2016

If I had to think of a way to describe the past month it would be wet and windy. Some ordinary weather during April tried its best to put the handbrake on fishing and trapped people inside their forts, noticeably, with a rise in keyboard warriors trying to spread their bad attitudes throughout cyberspace. However, it didn’t deter the keen anglers from venturing out.

For the brave souls who did decide to buckle up and battle the inclement weather, they were rewarded with some quality fish. Good reports of barramundi and jacks are still coming through from the local estuaries, as well as reports of solid mud crabs scouring about in numbers. So it’s definitely worth the effort if you intend on heading down the creeks or rivers this month.

For the few days that we got to the reef, we were greeted with excellent numbers of coral trout, red-throat emperor, spangled emperor, red emperor and gold-spot cod. Yes, as mentioned in a previous article, I still rate the cod as a fantastic eating fish. I reckon I have converted a few of you, but I’m sure I still have some non-believers out there. Do it! Eat a gold-spot!

Spanish mackerel have been around as well, and some big fish have been caught. Jigging up live bait and floating it or banging in a quick trolling session should be on the to do list if you’re heading to the reef for a hunt in the coming weeks.

Hunting in around the islands should see you rewarded this month, with good numbers of coral trout, grassy sweetlip, nannygai and mackerel being caught. That is, of course, if this plague of sharks we have been experiencing leave you alone! I’m not going to start my rant on them, as it would take up this whole magazine.

The outer islands and shoals have been fishing well with nannygai and red emperor on the chew. These fish are pretty much a staple out wider and produce some fine quality eating. I get a lot of questions about these particular fish, one of which is how to find them. I can see a lot of you now reading this, licking your lips in anticipation for what I’m about to tell you, screaming at the QFM “Griffo! Tell me more!”

It’s really quite easy. It comes down to the age-old saying, ‘find the structure, find the fish.’ You might be thinking that you’ve found the structure and no fish, however, I can tell you, you have to travel farther afield. You may have to head into new salty realms and find some more!

Over time we have found many cracking marks where large fish are holding. It is really about getting to know your sounder, what to look for, and of course, trial and error. Keeping an eye on your sounder while trolling and travelling is a must. Over time, we have found many places where large fish are holding just by doing this. It can be a large pinnacle, or a small rubbly blip on the screen. Either way, it’s worth a try.

Not every one will hold fish, but when you find one that does, look out! The deeper water closer to the Great Barrier Reef seems to be hiding most of the secret little gems, but I’m sure that there are thousands more yet to be excitedly discovered.

I have even found several shipping containers, which I might add, hold some ripper numbers of fish. You may ask how I know these marks are shipping containers. I know because I use a Go Pro, it’s a handy tool I use for lots of reasons, including studying fish eating habits.

Once discovered, the usual indications that it is a mark which has had little, or in most cases no fishing pressure, besides the arm stretching big red fish, is the presence of big grassy sweetlip. These delicious brown demersals like to hang around those aforementioned red fish, and models to 70cm aren’t uncommon.

So this driving and trolling around aimlessly I speak of, boring for some, can actually be quite beneficial for your stomach and your endorphin levels in the long term.

Fingers crossed for better weather this month and good luck if you wet a line!

• 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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