Fish start to move as season changes
  |  First Published: September 2016

In southern parts of Australia, the flora bursts out in beautiful colours during the spring season. Up here in the far northern parts of Australia, the flora remains dry with a tinge of red dust coating it, or it’s brown and dead, unless you’re in a tropical rainforest. For some, this may not sound that appealing, but knowledgeable hunters and anglers understand what these changes mean.

Across the plains, the waterholes will be drying up and the fish will be concentrating on the deeper sections. In Lakefield, try fishing the shadow lines of deeper waterholes late in the afternoon. The barramundi will gradually become more active late in the afternoon, as the water has had more chance of warming all day in the spring sun. The shadow lines provide cover for barramundi when there aren’t many snags.

The Endeavour, Annan, Bloomfield, McIvor and Starke rivers will all be very clear on the incoming and top of the tides. Move up the rivers with the tides and fish the dirty water lines for best results, where the outgoing tide meets the clean incoming tide. Barramundi, grunter, trevally and queenfish will be the main catches around these areas, as they chase the disorientated baitfish.

Lures and plastics are the best offerings for fishing with the tidal change, because you can keep moving with the tide as it makes its way up the river. However, soaking live baits is very effective around the deep holes and snags too.

For some pelagic action, you can drift with livies or troll lures around the mouth of the Endeavour River near the top of the tide for mackerel, queenies and trevally.

Don’t forget to soak a few crab pots while you’re out fishing for the day, because the muddies will move around a bit as the spring water warms!

The reefs have been hard to get to over the last month due to the strong prevailing southeasterly winds. This is not unusual at this time of year, with consistent reports of 25-30 knot winds relentlessly blowing day and night. However, the forecasts are not always right. For example, last month the predictions were an usual 25knot southeasterly wind, but the ocean was a glass-out.

So always make sure your boat is on the ready to leave at an instant, just in case the forecasts are wrong. On the other hand, don’t travel too far out, because the winds can spring up in an instant and you could be in for the worst ride of life trying to get back into sheltered waters.

Those who did get out to the reefs over the last month have been bagging out on coral trout. largemouth nannygai is another popular catch at this time if you can manage to hang the anchor perfectly over a deep rubble patch with the tide and winds working against your boat.

Spearfishers have been having a field day with the coral trout and crayfish each day too. Spanish mackerel are terrorising their usual haunts at this time of the year, but they are still not in the huge numbers like previous years. Look for tidal pressure points on the front faces of pinnacles or reef walls for mackerel.

Also, if you’re keen to catch a marlin, then Cooktown is where it can be done, even in a small boat. Dust off the heavy trolling gear, because the marlin will be moving into the region over the next few months!

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