April can be a bit of a funny month as we usually see a noticeable change in the weather. It marks the trend of the temperatures dropping, and weather slowly morphing into our cooler month patterns.
We had some good runs of nice weather last month, which saw plenty of anglers out and about. However, the fishing was patchy, with good and bad trips being reported. Some of the best reports were of large numbers of squid. They have been thick lately, and plenty of locals have been making the most of it. We had regular occasions on trips where the squid were following our bottom fishing baits and trolled baits, and eating them. When we caught large fish and opened their stomachs, the main contents were squid.
The norm for most people chasing squid was heading out during the scary hours of the night, armed with a bright light, some jigs and a cast net. The squid are great fun to catch, and can be enjoyed by everybody. They are not only great for meals, but also make excellent bottom fishing bait. Using such fresh bait really makes a difference in your catch rates. As the saying goes, fresh is best! If you put it side by side with the frozen stuff, you will see the difference. We find the big nannygai, red emperor and coral trout are really fond of a big, fresh, whole squid, live or dead. Spending some time catching a few squid might just change your luck when you head out for a fish.
These big red fish are still available, although good catches are becoming less frequent. You will really have to work your tides and moon phases to get them to bite. That’s where the aforementioned fresh squid comes into play, giving you a bit more of an advantage. When using the whole squid, a two-hook rig is ideal. Snelling two hooks together is our ideal way of presenting a whole squid, with the bottom hook just through one side of the mantle just above the head sitting proud, and the top hook pinned through the whole squid at the top between the fins. Drop it in and hang on!
Bear in mind that some of these baits might not make it to the bottom, due to the schools of school and spotted mackerel hanging around. They have been quite prevalent over the last month so taking some small jigs out with you when you head out this month would be a good idea.
Speaking of mackerel, keep an eye out for a cheeky run of Spanish mackerel moving through this month. We often see some quite large schools taking up residence here for a few days during April, so if you get the chance to head out, I would be doing a quick drive by your favourite Spanish haunt.
Haunting your local estuaries and impoundments is probably a good idea this month too. Not much longer and the cooler weather will shut the action down like a poo in a pool. The barramundi numbers have been doing OK, and good numbers of mangrove jack, grunter and salmon have been coming through from the estuaries. Many anglers have been opting for artificials for them, however the old ‘fresh is best’ rule comes into play again. Especially as there have been good numbers of prawns about.
There will be a few ‘prawns’ of a different kind on top of the water during the holidays. I’m talking about wild boaties, and there are always a few about during these times. If you’re heading out on the water these holidays, keep an eye out, and don’t be a prawn on the water, as it is very easy to get into trouble.
Take it easy over this coming busy period and always be safe, smart and sensible on the water.Reads: 397