Waiting for the waters to settle, prime time coming up
  |  First Published: October 2016

Despite there being overall good fishing results in the region, proceedings haven’t quite gone to plan yet. Normally we’d have all sorts of quarry to pick and choose from, but some more prominent species have been neither here nor there. The weather has been stable, with southeasterly winds making a late charge in, associated with a bit of unseasonal rain.

Probably the two most notable species, that haven’t fired to be expected, have been part of the pelagic family. On the inshore grounds, the small black marlin run has been mediocre compared to the past couple of years. Now, whatever stocks are present are starting to move towards the shelf for the anticipated breeding period. Sure, there has been some hot patches on these stallions, but the consistency has not been there this time around.

The other species that hasn’t taken a strangle hold is Spanish mackerel. They too have been around in spasmodic patches but not to the regular degree. Typically, they’re around in mass and catching a personal bag limit is no problem. Anglers have had to work harder than normal to source these fish in decent numbers.

One theory that can be linked to both mentioned species has been the lack of bait this year, which would make perfect sense. Being a nomadic style of fish, they will go where the food source is concentrated. Unfortunately, the bait seems well spread out and thus translates to less fish being caught. This can quickly transform and we may see a late blossom on these species.  

In other news, the Far North is bracing itself for the heavy tackle black marlin season, which will see a huge fleet of big boats working our local waters for the next couple of months. To date, there have been several reports of black marlin up to 150lb on the shelf, with the odd fish up to 350lb. The Lizard Island Tournament mid month is always a good indicator as to how the season will pan out for numbers of fish this year. Ocean currents play a huge role in this outcome, and local skippers are quietly confident that things will go to plan.

On the reef, it’s been tricky to pick the calmer weather of late. Once it’s there, the fishing has continued on nicely. Coral trout, small and large-mouth nannygai, red and spangled emperor, gold-spot and tea-leaf trevally have been up and about. Cobia continued to show up in numbers and there have been more recordings of exotic species such as barramundi cod, coronation trout, passionfruit trout, baldy bream and others. In general, fish are starting to roe up already, which indicates things are on track for the reef fin breeding this year. The reef should continue to impress, moving into the coming month – it’s one style of fishing always guaranteed to see some action.

The rivers and creeks are moving into their prime time and have been slowly gathering momentum. Barra are far more active and key species, such as mangrove jack and golden snapper, are already approaching top gear. As to be expected, there’s often a healthy supply of mid sized trevally scooting through our systems, along with good numbers of queenfish. The bigger queenfish models around 1m have been registered around our river mouths, headlands and neighboring islands.

Hopefully our weather can really settle down, as there are numerous options to choose from, inshore or offshore. October is the best time for wetting a line in the tropics, purely because of activity going on in all departments.


Local guide Jake Wyatt with a cracking coral trout caught on the outer reef.

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