Islands and reefs on fire
  |  First Published: June 2016

Finally, Mother Nature decided it was time to share the reef fish at Stanage Bay.

I have seen some great catches of red emperor, nannygai, bluebone, grassy sweetlip, red-throat, ocean grunter and Spanish mackerel. Most eskies have been boarding their limits.

Lucy Ravel Point has fished well for bluebone, while Duke Islands has been producing a mixed bag. Over at Jeffries, the Spanish have been running rampant; Sail and South Sail have been great places to tangle with a few trout, and Hexham Island and surrounds, known as the Hexham Group, has fished well for red emperor, red-throat, grassy sweetlip, cod, nannygai and Spanish mackerel.

Shield Island can be especially good for nannygai at this time of year, and the group of islands around The Percys at certain times fish well for big red emperor and Spanish mackerel. The Cannibal Group has also been active.

No one really knows why the reefs have been fishing so well lately, it could be the green zones, the weather (which is against us 80% of the time), or the tides, but something sure is working on the reef and islands out from Stanage.

The monster muddies have finally came to life, however not in quantity, this year it seems to be all about quality.

The clouds keep teasing us with the lightning and thunder in the distance… maybe it isn’t Stanage Bay’s turn for a good freshwater run-off supply. 

The estuary has also been busy. There have been reports of some nice grunter, golden snapper, barra, steelback salmon, bream and cod. Berley is really needed to get the fish in near to your baits, so clean out all the old bait freezers and use the scraps for berley. Chop it up real small, put it into a berley basket and drop it down with a drop or two of fish oil.

Most quality fish lately have been caught on quality dead bait.

The locals at Stanage Bay and regular fishers of the area particularly dislike the taking of undersize species that usually get used for either bait or cooked on board. One may not be a worry, but approximately 50,000 anglers visit Stanage each year. If everyone followed this practise, we wouldn’t have many fish left in the area.

Last but not least is the road. Not much has changed since last month, only it has got a bit worse. The Livingstone Shire Council have started stock piling road fill, across from the Shoalwater gates, and no doubt roadworks will be happening again this year.

• Remember the latest fishing reports are on www.fishingmonthly.com.au and for queries on Stanage Bay fishing, call me on (07) 4937 3145.

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