Hot holiday schools of fish
  |  First Published: December 2016

Last month brought us hot humid days and great fishing opportunities. Butterflies flew in and for most fishos this is the tell-tale sign of some pretty mean mackerel and tuna action. No one has been disappointed – mass schools of spotties, schoolies, mac and long tail tuna run lines in all directions around the headlands, coastal areas and the inner and outer reefs.

The sweaty weather will continue this month and into January. It’s the perfect opportunity for night fishing expeditions in estuaries and reefs. The reefs will fire with the warmer water and night fishing should be fairly manic. Mangrove jack will be on the chew during all hours – escaping the heat of the day and targeting at night will produce better results. I hear of more success in the Boyne, but both the Boyne and Calliope Rivers have quality fish.

Nannygai catches have been strong in areas around Masthead and Sykes. Big well presented baits in the deeper waters to 20m+ are working well. These areas are also seeing increased numbers of trophy coral trout. Try to find them in deep water and use ganged strip baits such as mackerel and whole pilchards.

Trolling deep diving lures around reefs has been effective for the trout and worth a shot for rock cod. Rock cod are consistent this month. There have been nice catches of grassy sweetlip. We came across a nice patch of them and bagged out in half an hour, and although they weren’t huge specimens, they’re still very fun to catch.

Mulloway are fishing great off the back of last month. The areas mentioned continue to produce. My mate Blake has concentrated his efforts around South Trees and up the Narrows and come up with the goods. Fishing the nights is effective. Catches of king salmon in these spots should see you come up trumps as well. A cracker 141cm mulloway was caught recently in the harbour – Grant Robertson’s first mulloway. I’m sure he’ll be hooked from here on.

Freshwater fishing for barramundi increases as the temperatures increase. Freshwater takes longer to heat up, as I’ve mentioned before. With the temperatures we’ve experienced, targeting them in the fresh now and through January is prime time. Awoonga Dam is the closest option we have through the barra tidal closures, so take some time to explore the area.

Talk to locals who fish the area. I suggest afternoon to dusk and into the night when the water has had the full heat of the day. Work structure on the cast or troll for a start. Tips from those who have fished the area for a long time and local fishing stores may give more insight into how the fish and dam work.

We’ve finally finished fitting out our tinny, so it’s back on the water and back to fishing our awesome area in my own boat again. I look forward to having good pictures to share over the coming months. Be safe on the water over the festive season, look after your crew and only take what you need. Happy holidays.

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