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Everything is feeling fishy
  |  First Published: March 2017



It’s exciting times in the tropics as the wet season should have given us much needed rain. The more rain that falls in our catchments, the better the fishing will be this year and the years to come.

The last few months have been very consistent, and all the species were playing the game. The best news I heard was about the big golden grunter along the sugar loader jetty. Reports were of some lucky anglers were getting amongst big schools of large fish. There needs to be more hours in a day so we can get out and have some time on the water doing what we love! Let’s see what will be bending rods and getting served with chips in March up here at Lucinda, the southern gateway to Hinchinbrook Island.

Hinchinbrook
Channel

I think I have written this for the last two months, but I must repeat the fishing in the channel will be influenced heavily with how much rain has fallen. The channel is fed by the mighty Herbert River, that when in flood pushes out huge amounts of freshwater. This in turn discolours the water and can make fishing very tough.

When this happens most people travel north up to Benjamin Flats and the Cardwell end of the channel, but if it is really flooding, it can be similar up there. If you have bad timing, I would suggest getting live bait and trying to find water that still seems to get influenced with the tides. If you can find bait, then concentrate fishing in those spots. Where there is bait, there will be predatory fish waiting in that area.

If the conditions allow, then getting on the water and chasing barra and jacks in the creeks on lures can be awesome. All creeks have fish in Hinchinbrook, but some seem to have higher concentrations of them. Entering a creek with the tide running out, deploying the electric and flicking the various structures is a great fun.

This method should see you getting into some action, but I must warn you it can also be very frustrating. Getting snagged is part of the game, if you’re not getting snagged, you are not casting close enough to structure, especially if you’re targeting mangrove jacks. You need to have your offering virtually slapping them in the face – they won’t say no if it hits them on the head!

Do yourself a favour and stock up on some weedless jigheads, and TT SnakelockZ are the best creation ever. Rig up a ZMan 3” MinnowZ or 4” SwimmerZ and cast it into the snag, slowly letting it drift down right into the strike zone. Getting plastic and fish out can prove difficult sometimes, so fast action rods and baitcasting gear is handy to stop fish quickly, but sometimes no matter what you do or use, they will still blow you away in their snaggy homes. Look for major structure that disrupts tidal movement, as this causes eddies and will attract baitfish and predators.

Jetty, Islands and Reef

I haven’t been out into the magnificent blue waters for months now, and it is horrible. The problem is, even though I am not fishing, I still hear about every fish that gets captured!

In the last few months, the fishing on the reef has been good. Trout have been filling eskies, which always makes a fishing trip worth it. People fishing hard reef edges that drop into around 25-30m seem to get consistent catches, so maybe that depth offers the right conditions for trout to hold and feed during the warmer months.

There have been a few wild storms brew up at night recently, and care must be taken if doing over nighters or night sessions. I have been caught in a few wild storms while chasing reds, and it isn’t real fun. Make sure you have all the things you may need. A quality anchor is a sound investment, as well as a working bilge pump.

The highlight of fishing around the Palm islands is chasing the big longtail tuna around on a flat ocean. This is so much fun if you can get a cast at them. They can be the most frustrating fish some days, and you can burn a lot of fuel and still not get a crack at them when they are fickle. Lobbing small metal slices or small plastics is the easiest method, and trying to match what they are feeding on will also push odds in your favour.

There have been lots of quality squid being caught around the Palm islands as well, so getting a good squid light hooked up and taking the family over for the night can be rewarding with a few kilos of squid rings for dinner. Don’t forget to send some over the side with a hook in them while you’re catching squid, as golden snapper and cobia love eating live or fresh squid.

The jetty has been patchy, which is common at this time of year. There have still been good catches of golden snapper and the odd black jew, which is a welcome surprise when chasing golden snapper. Black jew seem to be very rare these days, which is a shame, as I hear so many awesome stories about how well Lucinda used to fish for black jewfish.

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