In a Weipa winter wonderland
  |  First Published: June 2017

Finally the southeast trade winds have arrived in force. This means beach fishing, rivers and inshore areas will be our focus for the next few months with fly anglers having an absolute ball.

With such a good wet season behind us the mass of jelly prawns along the inshore areas is thick. Everything eats jellys. Queenies, barra, blue and threadfin salmon, giant herring, tarpon and all the trevally species – you name it, it’s here.

Walking the beaches with a light fly rod and a handful of clousers is a great way to spend a morning. Find the right spot and tides and you will have hours of non-stop action. Some clients have 70 fish days, no joking. It can be full on. A light 7-9wt rod is ideal with a sink tip line.

Barramundi have all but left the beaches and moved into the estuaries leaving a few rats around rocky outcrops. Recently I had some Japanese fly clients and they had a ball casting surface flies over drains for small barra. Fish averaging 60cm were great fun and kept them excited for the whole afternoon.

Offshore the deeper reefs towards Pera Head and Thud Point to the south have been fishing well for trout, golden snapper, sweetlip, emperors and a few black jew. The ever-present bull sharks are a real pest as usual.

Spanish mackerel are thin on the ground. Big offshore queenies and plenty of longtail tuna are in numbers wherever you find a few frigate birds out wide. I lived and guided in Hervey Bay for years and it has a good longtail fishery for a few months of the year. These gulf longtails are far more aggressive and easier to catch by a long shot! We have even hooked them off the beach at times.

The next month should see an increase of tourists from the south. Most are here for a good time, catching a few fish and relaxing. We still see plenty just wanting to fill freezers with fillets, which is sad. I have even seen people filleting juvenile Queensland groupers and undersized pikey bream – the locals don’t like these practices at all. I’m not against tourists, they are my bread and butter with guiding, but I’m against greedy ones sucking the place dry.

The top ends of the rivers are still a bit fresh and quiet. As the salt pushes upstream they will fire for jacks, golden snapper, grunter and a few barra. Every snag has a cod from tiny to uncontrollable. Be wary if you have your favourite lure in there – you might not see it again.

Further north the Wenlock River has plenty of barra and the mud crabs have been thick there for a few months now. Down towards the mouth, offshore around Kerr Reef, nannygai, trout, red emperor, golden snapper and sweetlip are biting. A few blackspot tuskies are taking prawns as well.

Until next month, tight lines.

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