Anglers are spoilt for choice in the Whitsundays
  |  First Published: March 2017

February was a bit of a mixed bag and we were thrown some unsettled weather. However, it looks like most anglers made the most of it, finding themselves out amongst our beautiful backyard. As we leave summer in our wake and head full steam into autumn, we can expect things to slow a little, if we look at the usual trends. However, nothing has been usual about the past few seasons. The fishing has been holding solid in what is usually a wind down period for this time of year, which I guess is a good thing.

When most made it out through the irregular weather, there were good numbers reported once again over the past month, from all parts. The creeks and rivers have been producing some good catches with barramundi, jacks and muddies being most popular. The mud crabs have been around in numbers and should hopefully continue into this month. A lot of bigger barra have been reported caught, with not so many smaller models. However, it depends on who you talk to and who is willing to give up the information! Anyhow, trying your hand down in the estuaries this month will be a great option.

Always a good option for us (we’re spoilt up here) is a trip to the outer reef. For those unfamiliar, it is a huge expanse of reef systems, which could be explored for days, weeks and even months. This fishers’ paradise holds nearly every species imaginable and for anglers like me, it’s a place that always arouses the senses when visited. Whether you are a sport fisher or chasing a feed, you really can’t go past this natural wonder of the world.

We’re lucky to have such a variety of fish to choose from. Solid reports of the staple reef fish are still coming through. Coral trout, redthroat emperor, spangled emperor, nannygai and red emperor are all still making a welcomed appearance, which should hold true into this month. The larger tides caused a bit of havoc last month, so fingers crossed the weather aligns with the smaller tides in March.

The outer islands and shipping channel have been producing fair numbers of nannygai and red emperor, but have definitely become less consistent, which is typical. There is some good isolated ground out there still holding big numbers of fish – you just have to work a little harder to find them. That is where a good quality sounder and GPS come into play. Finding the best one you can afford at the time is definitely the go if you intend to search for new ground, and there are plenty on the market to choose from.

Doing your research is a must and will help you decide on what to buy. It also gives you a headstart on dealing with sales reps. Obviously for us charter operators who are out pretty much every day, we can justify the expense of high quality electronics. However, there are many mid-range products that can do the job quite adequately.

For instance, if you intend to fish the islands through to the outer reef, a 600W transducer is more than adequate for the depth range around here, which barely reaches 80m. Forking out for the 1kW+ is really a waste of money unless you intend to travel off the continental shelf. GPS accuracy depends on the model, so I will leave that one up to you to decide. Do your research before lashing out your hard earned cash. We get asked all the time what we use and I can’t go past my Furuno Suite.

Hopefully we get some beautiful weather this coming month so we can enjoy our backyard paradise.

• 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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