Pelagics ready to fire
  |  First Published: March 2007

It’s back to work and reality for me after having a fantastic break in Tropical North Queensland.

We made it home just before the heavens opened up in TNQ and we all know we could use those sorts of downpours around our catchments right now. I hope the experts are right and we start to get some serious rain in the coming months.

Owning a trailer boat in Queensland opens up the possibility to fish in some of the most pristine and remote locations you could imagine. From the border to the northern tip there’s a wealth of estuary and reef options to keep any hardened fisho happy. Locations such as Double Island Point, Town of 1770, Fraser Island, Lucinda and Hinchinbrook are all there waiting for you and they are wonderful areas in which holiday and fish.

I’ve just returned from Hinchinbrook and it is one of those top shelf locations. Being around 1500km north of Brisbane it’s a long haul, especially towing the bigger boats. It pays to stop overnight for a break on the drive up and the drive home.

Whether you have a small 4m tinnie or a 7m glass boat the fishing options around Hinchinbrook are plentiful. Port Hinchinbrook has an all-weather, all-tide ramp with a pontoon for loading up the boats. The rock walls at the entrance have recently been extended to provide deep-water access for the larger game boats that use the fully serviced marina.

Hinchinbrook is a maze of islands, inlets and channels and there are plenty of quality estuary fish to catch, including barramundi, fingermark, queenfish, mangrove jack, grunter and trevally. Trolling or casting hard-bodied lures or plastics, as well as live baiting all take their share of fish. The area also has its fair share of resident crocodiles, so make sure you take care, especially up the creeks.

There are just so many options for the estuary fisher. Even in windy conditions you can still hide up the creeks and catch a few fish. Don’t forget the crab pots either if you love a feed of delicious muddies. With all this in mind, barra are still the number one target and on this last trip north we had a ball catching them over a couple of memorable sessions. Most of the fish we caught were on the small side, but on light tackle they were great fun.

Reef fishing is also very good with species such as coral trout, sweetlip, scarlet sea perch, cobia and Spanish mackerel all available. Red emperor are also a possibility but you do have to travel a bit of distance to find deep enough water to target the big reds. Most of the fishing around reefs such as Otter, Yamacutta and Britomart will be in depths from 10-35m, which is relatively shallow when compared to fishing out of Brisbane.

Like barra in the estuaries, coral trout are the main target on the reefs. The best bet is to anchor on a bommie, catch a few fish and then you’ll find the fish shut down after a while so it’s up anchor to find another bommie. Don’t worry there are plenty of bommies to fish!

There is always a mackerel or two about so it’s worth putting a floater or two out the back and a live fusilier is the gun bait. If you like chasing mackerel, Kennedy Shoal and Eva Rock are known producers of good fish. If you enjoy night fishing, species such as fingermark and scarlet sea perch are caught on the grounds close to Eva. Live squid are the best bait and these can be caught on site.

That’s just some of the fishing options out from Hinchinbrook and there are plenty more to keep any angler happy, plus it’s just a relaxing spot to take the family.

There are many locations in our backyards, so pick a spot, hook up the boat and head north with the family. I am sure you’ll enjoy yourself.


On the local scene the mackerel have been threatening to make a big splash but just haven’t hit their straps yet. We have managed to catch several average Spaniards and a few schoolies. By May, with a bit of luck, we’ll be well into the mackerel season, hooking and catching the big ones!

There have been plenty of spotties caught in Moreton Bay but more have been caught down deep on pillies rather than spinning with chrome slugs. If conditions offshore are a bit hairy, spending a bit of time inside the Island might just pay handsome rewards.

March is the peak month to target pelagics and the size of the mackerel and especially the wahoo will improve. Wahoo to 25kg and better should turn up on a regular basis over the next few months and put anglers and their gear to the test.

From the reports I have had the current is belting out wide and making bottom fishing hard work. For the next few months this will be a consistent story with the bottom fishing being tough until we start to get into the cooler weather patterns.

Enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on a charter (max 4 persons) give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.

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