The December craziness is here. For most, it means life can be pretty busy and finding time to go fishing gets trickier. Lucky for us, Lucinda offers so many wonderful fishing options. There are a few things you can guarantee tropical North Queensland will throw at you in December – lots of heat, insane storms and epic fishing.
With barra off limits, it’s all about chasing a few key fish species. As always, pick times around the tide change, and if this coincides with sunrise or sunset, it’s game on. Below are my top three fish to chase during summer.
Jacks are territorial fish that hang around tight to structure. They can be caught with bait or lures – either will offer anglers a difficult situation. Fishing live baits in tight country can be difficult as it’s so easy to snag up. A great way to fish baits for jacks is to suspend them under a float. This way you can set how deep your bait goes. The float adds the ability to drift your bait in close with wind or tide.
On some of the craziest jack sessions, I’ve floated half pilchards into snags and watched that float disappear. Jacks are top of the list for chasing on artificials such as lures or plastics. Any small to mid size plastic or hardbody will get hit. Learning to rig snagless jigs is essential.
Look for easy to use effective plastic presentations. I have a new favourite way to chase jacks – flicking the new ZMan Turbo CrawZ around and watching them hit it off the surface is seriously addictive. The best time is the first three hours of the run in tide when the water is still low, but current is hitting structure. Key areas are where fish can wait, ready for something to swim too close or get pushed in with current.
These fish are top notch for eating and fighting qualities. Grunter, or javelin fish, move around in schools and keep moving with the tides. Fishing baits for them, it’s common to get a quick hot bite then little action, followed with another hot bite, as different packs of fish move past with the tide.
Fresh baits like prawn, squid or sardines will get you bites. Rig with just enough weight to hold bottom on a 20-30lb trace, lighter is always better. Keep hook sizes smaller as grunter have small mouths. I use a 3/0 hook, which keeps baits looking natural as well. Grunter are suckers for a well used soft plastic, blade or vibe. Using blades in deep holes in creeks is another effective way of finding fish.
These fish are probably the most prized fish among Lucinda locals. Chasing golden snapper, also known as fingermark or chopper, is a popular way to spend a few hours. The best times are when the tides are smaller between high and low. A difference of around 1-1.5m is perfect, as it will still offer moving water and the fish will bite. Golden snapper spots are in deeper areas with rock as the main form of structure.
Small rocky rubble patches in the channel are the spots everyone wants to find and fish. There are plenty of these areas in Lucinda. Heading out around the bluff area is a great starting point. Fish live sardines or squid for the best baits. If it’s not alive, fresher is better. A running sinker to a trace rig is perfect. Like most tropical fish, golden snapper also smash plastics and blades. Work different areas with the electric motor, your sounder and small blades.
Great reports of mackerel have been the standout of the last month’s fishing. A lot of people have had better captures late in the season. Trolling gar around reef edges and bommies that have lots of current hitting them has produced good numbers. Nannygai have also been consistent in the deeper spots, but numbers were down in the close spots with high angling pressure.
Nannies hang out in small isolated areas away from the reef itself. There is a lot of barren ground here at Lucinda, so hours of looking at sand can be rewarded with a small patch of life on the bottom. When this is found, it means the nannygai should be thick and getting your boat limit can be very easy.
They don’t release well in the deep, which sadly means many fish are wasted due to being under size. The other problem with chasing red fish in the deep is the sharks – they can be everywhere and super hungry. Anyone who says we have a shortage of sharks needs to go for a boat ride out into the deep reef passages off NQ.
As always, enjoy your holidays. I hope lots of fresh water floods through our creeks and streams, bringing new life and setting up epic fishing for the next few years.Reads: 400