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Hinchinbrook in the heat
  |  First Published: November 2017



When I sit down to type the November article for this magazine I always wonder, where the heck did the year go? With the day-to-day routines revolving around work, family and home duties, it’s increasingly harder to get a rod in your hand. For those lucky enough to be hitting the water, Lucinda has great things on offer. The water is hot, the weather is hot and best of all the fishing should be hot.

Hinchinbrook
Channel

I’m going to put it out there – if you’re not fishing periods of low light, you’re missing out. These periods are peak bite times and any tide change around sunrise or sunset should be planned first. It’s the start of the barra closed season so care must be taken. Don’t target these fish – you may accidently hook and catch them, but take lots of care and get them swimming away as quick as possible. Don’t lay them on the boat floor or seat as it may be very hot, always support their weight and get them back in the water.

Mangrove jack in the snags on small plastics are top of my list during November. Silently drifting along the bank in the first hour of light in the morning can be just magic. Often you’ll hear the jacks snapping at their prey and witness them getting airborne in pursuit. The adrenalin rush when you sight cast to an angry fired up jack is awesome. The hit is immediate – that lure touches the water and bang. Try a snag-proof rig you can skip under trees, swim through snags and just twitch slowly on the surface. This allows you to overshoot your casts to get in the back of the strike zone – hold on!

Grunter, silver javelin, have shown up in good numbers in the creeks and the deeper rubble in the main channel. A good tip for chasing grunter in the creeks is to choose areas with clearer water. My best results have come from creeks that don’t dirty up as much as others. You can anchor up and fish lightly weighted baits. Allow them to slowly move with the tide for great results. Fresh prawns or sliced sardines are perfect baits, but a small live bait will also score trophy fish.

Grunter can be targeted with lures. I love fishing with plastics and am becoming a big fan of the ZMan Trick SwimZ. These plastics have a tail that paddles on the slowest retrieval making them perfect to slow roll across the bottom. I met some gun bream fishers from down south at the ramp and they were absolutely smashing grunter using the same techniques they would for bream. Finesse fishing with light braid and light fluorocarbon leader allows you to make long casts and work lightly weighted plastics and small hardbodies perfectly. Grunter are great sportfish and amazing on the table with pearly white fillets.

Jetty, Islands and Reef

Solid golden snapper have been caught along the sugar loader jetty. Most of these fish have come at night caught on live squid or sardines. The odd fish can be caught on dead baits, but fishing the optimal baits will get more interest. Drift around and work plastics and metals in the afternoon for a great way to spend some hours – it should see you hooked-up. A good sounder to show you the bait schools or bottom structure is essential, and saves you drifting around in barren lifeless areas.

There are plenty of fish out at the reefs and most boats have been bagging out on fish like coral trout and nannygai. It’s been a bad year for wind in NQ and limited opportunities to hit the blue water mean on any possible day it was standing room only in the car park. The odd Spanish mackerel is hanging about and those reef points that get lots of current are the places to look. Trolling a big gar or deep diving hardbody should get some attention. Find the bait schools, find the mackerel.

For those wanting to relax and soak up the views of the magnificent Palm Islands, motoring around chasing schools of longtail tuna is perfect. Casting slugs at big tuna busting up on the surface is so much fun. Longtail tuna can also be the most annoying fish to get a cast at when they’re flighty. We’ve spent hours following them around the ocean and it gets frustrating.

1

It’s all about the jacks this time of year – small TT switchblades are deadly.

2

Silver grunter are suckers for small plastics.

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