Searching for scales
  |  First Published: August 2016

We are in the final month now of our so-called winter, so let’s hope the weather gods work in our favour!

Last month saw some unseasonal, but welcome rain, which deterred many from heading out to catch a fish. Instead, they opted to try and catch imaginary Pokémon. We’ve had more good days than bad, which enabled many others to keep their school holiday dreams alive, and make their way into the blue in search of scales.

Spanish mackerel were the most prevalent species by far last month. They turned up in large numbers wide of the islands and in the reef, and a few were in close. This should continue in August, with hopefully a few more turning up closer around the islands. Spaniards have been reacting well to all forms of deception, artificials doing most of the damage. The most common method used by anglers is trolling hardbody lures and with good reason – it works! Trolling baits, and floating the humble pilchard or live bait have also accounted for their fair share.

If you want to have some fun and see some awesome airborne assaults, try your hand at casting large stickbaits and poppers over the schools. Watch the Spanish launch a vertical attack, reaching some serious height out of the water. It’s a load of fun that gets everyone on board involved, and a little excited!

One thing that excited us, is the presence of yellowfin tuna with the mackerel. They should continue into this month, so keep an eye out for them breaking the surface while you float around. For those sashimi lovers, they have to be one of the best. Putting in the effort to bring a yellowfin on board is a must this month. Remember, quickly chill them to ensure optimum eating. Trolling lures and baits will work for them. However, once hooked, get them to the boat ASAP, as sharks love to snack on them too. Mongrels!

The sharks have slowed a little and many anglers have been able to land fish from the bottom. The deeper bottom fishing has been characteristically slow this time of year, but some quality nannygai and red emperor have broken the surface. They should pick up again in the next month, but don’t rule out deep water bottom bashing as some ripper fish should still be in.

The reefs have been fishing well and with that in mind, make a trip to the reef if you can, not just to target delicious coral trout, red throat emperor and other fine quality reef fish, but to tangle with yellowfin and mackerel. This coming month is a fantastic one to jump on that boat and target a wide, tasty variety of fish. We really are spoilt up here.

Speaking of spoilt, I haven’t even mentioned the local creeks and rivers yet! They have produced good fishing and have been a go-to for anglers, with the potential of a mud crab or two. Quality salmon have been finding their way into boats, along with mangrove jack and flathead. The odd barra has been lurking about too, but less often with the water temperatures down. As always, soaking a pot or two should see you taking home a crustacean, as we are still seeing good numbers of catches. If you intend to keep your hands, keep an eye out for those crocs, which have been ever-present on recent trips down to the local estuaries. Also, leave what isn’t yours alone.

Good luck if you are out and about this month. Watch out for the whales! Cheers.


A delicious combination of Spanish mackerel and nannygai caught in glassout conditions with Renegade.


Jacob Gray with a yellowfin, which evaded the sharks. Keep a look out this month!


A solid brace of Spanish mackerel, caught between the antics on a recent bucks party trip with Renegade.


Andrew Cooke displays a red throat emperor, one of the finer eating fish on the Great Barrier Reef.


This Sailfish topped off a good day with Renegade last month. Keep an eye out for these guys! A few have been nosing about of late.


An esky full of quality fish – coral trout, red throat and Spanish mackerel could make up your icebox this month!

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