During recent weeks the water has been cooling a little faster than usual, but with all the strong southeasters and showers it’s no wonder. The barra have become a bit harder to get a bite out of which is a nuisance, but hey – you occasionally have to put up with the fishing not in your favour. If our conditions settle for a while we might see one more good bite period from the barra before they enter the uncertain winter months ahead.
Sporadic catches of golden snapper (fingermark) and golden grunter have been keeping a lot of anglers entertained. At the moment the golden snapper are only small, which is common for this time of year in the channel, but the golden grunter have been quality fish from 2-3kg. It’s been good to see the bigger oceanic grunter again as they have been absent in numbers for some time now.
During June and beyond we should see the arrival of big golden trevally as well as diamond trevally. They can be found in the holes off the headlands around the inner islands on the smaller tides, and are quite often seen feeding on the reef flats as the tides then make up to the moons. This is when it becomes a great time to flick a few flies at them. I haven’t done it for a while but I can tell you it’s a lot of fun catching a big golden on fly in the shallows.
Another species which is popular with flyfishers is the milkfish. They too are found around the inner islands, particularly off sand spits and any beaches which have structure off them. The shallows around Garden and Gould islands are a flyfisher’s paradise for a variety of species. Lots of school-sized GT and queenfish as well as flathead inhabit the shallow, clear waters. The flathead would have to be my favourite target on fly. Stalking them is an art and I used to do it all the time with some great results coming from the Townsville region back in the day. I simply don’t have the time these days to have a social flyfish like I used to, and I should definitely do something about that!
Pretty soon the northern bluefin tuna will have made their way into the main channel. They’re easy to see breaking the surface in among the small white terns diving on the baby herring schools that the tuna like to feast on. They sometimes surprise you while you’re barra fishing. If a school ever pops up in front of you they will take barra lures and vibes if you can cast one quickly enough into the feeding school. That’s the one trick with tuna – you must get the lure into the feeding school while they are smashing the surface. Always be ready for their strike as sometimes it’s sudden and hard!
With the winter approaching I’m looking forward to getting offshore in our new 40ft Black Watch to chase a few sailfish and little marlin. We’re just hoping we’ll get plenty of bait schools coming through this year, and of course the predators that follow. Catching a sail or marlin on fly will be on our to-do list this year.
If you are visiting the northern part of Hinchinbrook and want some local advice on what’s been happening, get in touch with Tackle World in Tully or Rama at Master Bait & Tackle in Cardwell. They can also help you with advice on all the freshwater fishing options the region has, especially for those who love to target jungle perch.
Our exciting new fishing training website fishsmarter.com.au should now be up and running with a free forum and community to connect with me, plus three free online fishing training programs, plus our premium online fishing courses: Threadfin Tactics, Barra Basics and Wonky Holes. Hope to see you there at www.fishsmarter.com.au.
• If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great fishing competitions etc, head on over to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.Reads: 730