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Spaniards heading back inshore
  |  First Published: May 2017



It is now the end of the wet season and we start to approach the cooler months. With this gradual change we will be seeing new species turning up in tropical waters.

Some areas of the state have received the best rain in years thanks to one event - Cyclone Debbie. North of the Burdekin missed out unfortunately but from Bowen south some much needed flushing rains, which have not been seen for at least the last five years, came through. Hinchinbrook received an average wet with several smaller amounts of rain spaced out through the season, but certainly no flood rains. Maybe next year.

April had a great run of big golden grunter at the top end of Hinchinbrook. Several anglers got out and had some fun sessions chasing the popular table fish. We have also been catching plenty of grunter while using plastics meant for barra. This would have to be the best run of grunter I have seen in the last five years or so. This is a good sign for May if you happen to be up here wetting a line.

The barramundi fishing in April was quite steady with our clients getting onto some good fish casting hardbody lures. Fish in the 90cm range have not been uncommon and we should see the barra settle back into their cooler weather patterns soon as long as we don’t get a late low pressure system bringing flood rains.

We have had so much intermittent rainfall of average amounts and a few falls of around the 120-150m over the season. This has made the barra spread out over a longer period this year and is why many are being caught off the beachfront in Cardwell with the biggest being a 127cm fish. Hopefully they will all go and aggregate again soon.

There have been some excellent reports on mangrove jack and they are one fish that aren’t bothered by a flush of freshwater. The upper reaches of most rivers and streams are good places to start looking especially on the falling tide. The red mangrove has long spindly roots that extend down into the water and when you come across a bank lined with them then that’s a good place to start the search for mangrove jack, especially if any small gutters and drains run out through it. Fire your lures up tight into the gaps of the roots and gutters. It pays to practise your casting before attempting to target them. We also find the bigger jacks around the rock edges in the main channel but they are nowhere near as prevalent as the fish upstream.

In May we will start to see the Spaniards back inshore. We have already seen some early big Spaniards inshore spearing out of the water chomping on garfish. In some parts of the Hinchinbrook Channel it is possible to snag a big Spaniard accidentally while vibing for barra. You can tell the difference straight away as your reel squeals in the one direction until you’re nearly spooled. Big GTs are notorious for doing this in the channel as well. Some of the seaward headlands off the eastern side should see some mackerel schools too – just watch out for the zoning around the headlands as there are a fair amount of green zones on the north eastern part of the island.

We should start to see species such as GTs, diamond and golden trevally and the start of the northern bluefin schools too. Most of these species are encountered around the islands but sometimes the bluefin will wander into the channel with the Spaniards too.

• If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great fishing competitions etc, head on over to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.

We hope to have an online course on Spaniards late this year so keep an eye out for it on our Fish Smarter site. We also have 3 other premium courses including barra basics which has gone crazy. More info at www.fishsmarter.com.au.

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