Easter – Jekyll or Hyde?
  |  First Published: April 2007

As we approach the Easter holidays it’s always a good idea to have a few plans up your sleeve if you’re fishing in the tropics. Easter is often filled with volatile or picture perfect weather.

If the weather looks good, organise reef and bluewater trips as the fishing can be awesome. As the water temperatures drops slightly after an extended warmer period reef species often fly into action – particularly large and small nannygai. If you can find nannygai schools on the chew, you’ll often find a host of other species in the same area. Golden, gold-spot and giant trevally, cobia, red emperor, spangled emperor, reef mangrove jack and coral trout will all work their way into the action. Pelagics like Spanish mackerel will be cruising around and all water columns will fire.

Easter falls during a neap tide phase and is perfect for fishing the deeper water where the nannygai are. If everything goes to plan you can end up with a big mixed bag of wonderful eating fish. The weather has been pretty ordinary lately so we’re due for a good spell during the holidays.

The weather can go pear shaped during April but this shouldn’t cause anglers from abandon their trips. Plan B is a viable option and we are blessed with plenty of rivers and creeks that offer a wide variety of species to target. Currently barramundi are feeding well around small creek run-offs into the main systems. Even though there are a lot of smaller under-sized fish there will be the odd keeper. Whether luring or live baiting, concentrating on where the dirty water meets the clear will provide the best results. If you can fish these areas on the bottom of the tide your strike rate will improve dramatically.

There are plenty of mangrove jack, tarpon and archerfish around especially in the upper reaches. They should stick around if it remains wet. As long as it’s not bucketing down, dancing small lures slowly in the strike zone will attract plenty of attention. Look carefully for these spots as often these unassuming feeder creeks are covered by thick foliage. Systems with weed beds in the upper reaches and flicking lures are another area where you’ll find a variety of fish including barra. Further towards the river mouths where fresh and saltwater meet there have been good numbers of golden trevally and a few permit. Freshly caught banana prawns are your best baits. On the flats there have been good numbers of grunter, smaller trevally, blue salmon and queenfish in cleaner conditions. Small live baits or fresh strips of bait are best presented over these shallow waters.

If you are going to fish Port Douglas in the next few weeks look out for all the juvenile fish that are around after the wet season; every effort should be made to release them. This also applies for anglers drag netting for prawns along the beaches.

If you are local or a visitor, April is a good time to warm up and find where the fish are biting for the 2007 Carnivale Fishing Bonanza. The Bonanza will be held between 18-27 May. With over $80,000 in cash and prizes it’s worth doing some preparation. The major prizes include a $50,000 tagged barra, 20 tagged fish each worth $1000, a fishing holiday in Guam (Micronesia) and heaps more. More details are available on www.fishingportdouglas.com.au.

It'll be happy times if you can source the nannygai as there will plenty of others in tow.

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