They say great things come to those who wait. Well, after a tough year in the tropics, 2006 ended with a bang as the weather panned out and the fishing took off.
The light and heavy tackle season kicked into top gear in late November with consistent catches of big black marlin around the Linden Bank and the 50m patches east of Opal Reef. 800lb monsters have been common fare on heavy tackle with the odd one toppling the magical tonne. On the stand up gear the action has been awesome with smaller marlin keen to impress with wahoo, dolphinfish, yellowfin tuna and Spanish mackerel plentiful. The new year normally means the end of the heavy tackle season but the odd blue marlin should be available wide of the shelf, and the tuna and dolphinfish should be still around.
Reef fishers have enjoyed a great season and there were still good numbers of catches in the lead up to Christmas. The better catches have been recorded in 30m+ of water with nannygai, red emperor, spangled emperor, coral trout and reef jacks all part of the parcel. Monster GTs are partial to trolled lures, particularly the 190D Gold Halco lure. If you can find solid patches of bait, there will still be quite a few big rogue Spanish mackerel kicking around. Our resident mackerel come in 20kg+ packages.
Inshore there has been a burst of new life with plenty of bait on the scene. This has stimulated trevally, queenfish, tarpon and blue salmon along the shore fringes particularly on the incoming tide. At first light anglers can see the masses of fish enter the local harbour, moving with the tide and smashing into the smorgasbord of food available. Further up the creeks mangrove jack have been very consistent amongst the snags with plenty of species around 45cm. Lightly weighted or unweighted live bait and fresh dead bait drifted into the timber has been the best technique. There have been a few fingermark mixed in amongst these bags as well as incidental barra catches, which must be released.
Along the coast the inshore reefs have produced reasonably well of late. Impressive catches of super-sized fingermark to 10kg have been recorded amongst small mouth nannygai and oodles of grassy sweetlip. There are a few larger Spanish mackerel lurking and a floating pilchard is should get smashed if it is sitting on top of a bommie with plenty of bait around. There are a few northern bluefin tuna working bait schools at times and a keen eye is needed to detect their activity as they are skittish. Always have a light spinning outfit fitted with a 25g slug handy because you’ll need to react quickly if you stumble across a feeding period.
Its always an interesting time of the year waiting for the rain to come, until it decides to bucket down consistently, the fishing should remain positive. Hope you all have a great fishing calendar year ahead.
Local game charter - The Joker enjoying the thrill of an 800lb black marlin.
Johhny Adams with a classic yellowfin tuna taken at the 50m patches off Opal Reef.Reads: 602