Offshore reefs keep on giving love
  |  First Published: February 2017

Big old fat rain. It was a wet and windy start to the year with the monsoon trough bringing much needed rain to the region. It was starting to look like the old wet season we typically have up here during the summer months, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. It was probably well timed with the opening of barra season this month.
Anglers everywhere will be dusting off the barra rods and fine-tuning their tackle boxes in preparation of hunting down these iconic fish. The rain will definitely play a positive part in the estuaries for barra fishing, so we should see some good fishing. Our region is home to many fantastic river and creek systems and exploring them is half the fun, especially after flooding. There are many small tributaries that provide flood water run-off into the estuaries, so looking for these is a good start. Be aware, as many of these are on private property. Make sure you gain permission before entering. No matter your technique, targeting a barra or two is definitely on the cards if you are estuary-bound this month. With all the rain and estuary fishing, another good idea will be to set a few crab pots while you are lurking around the mangroves, landing yourselves a mud crab or two. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner if you ask me!
Fishing the Reefs

That’s right, Valentine’s Day is upon us this month and what better way to spoil your significant other than to buy them that boat they’ve always wanted! If that’s not on the cards, a trip offshore definitely should be. The outer reefs have been fishing very well of late and keep on giving. The sharks have been giving everyone curry in the deeper waters around the reefs, so fishing the shallows is a great option and has been producing well. Coral trout, red-throat emperor and red emperor have been solid in numbers, so look for a few of these if heading out wide. The big Spanish have also been around in good numbers out wide, so floating some baits for them is a good idea.

Back in closer the deeper shoals and reefs have been fishing okay with a slight drop off in action. We should still see good numbers around this month. You may have to work a bit harder for them. The nannygai, red emperor, coral trout and sweetlip have been available with the sweetlip really out in force, which is fantastic as they make for a great meal.

The islands have still been fishing well with loads of coral trout being claimed, along with sweetlip and Indonesian snapper. The Whitsunday Passage is a great place for these fish. Just look for the smaller tides. The current can really move through as it is water compressed between the islands. Most island reef edges and fringing reefs should see you with a brace of fish. Remember to double-check your zoning maps as there are a few green zones around the islands.

Good luck if you are heading out this month.

• If you’re interested in a game, sport or reef fishing charters around the Whitsundays, give Luke a call on 0429 724 822 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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