Wild weather even in winter
  |  First Published: July 2017

It’s been an interesting month with some crazy weather patterns, including a trough that dropped up to 200mm in places south of Townsville, which isn’t really something you’d see at this time of year.

We have had lots of cooler weather spikes early in the season, and this has made the barra fishing very erratic, with both good and bad days from one day to the next. We are still catching some nice size fish on the better days. With water temperatures really starting to reach their winter minimums, the fish are changing their patterns, and this can sometimes be frustrating to visiting anglers.

I have heard of some offshore reports, despite the very windy periods we’ve had. This seems to suggest that the Spaniards have arrived on some of the headland and island areas. The bigger tides up to the dark moon are the better periods to look, but that’s if you can get it to line up with good weather, as some of these areas are exposed to southeasterly winds. The Spaniards should be around until September at least.

On the bread and butter front, we have had a few mixed reports of grunter. It seems they are popping up in some places, while other areas of the channel and Missionary Bay are missing out. Sometimes their schools are large and spread over a significant area, and if you’re lucky enough to be fishing the right type of country when they move into the area, you can have a really good session. When they come through some of our barra areas, it’s not uncommon to catch some bigger models on small vibes and big plastics meant for barra.

Many of the deeper holes in the creeks are infested with baby blue salmon up to 40cm, but there has been the odd few adult fish among them. They are a nice fish to eat if eaten fresh, and also good if you’re into fresh sashimi. They’re quite often a nuisance while jigging for barra, but they keep the clients busy between the barra.

Their bigger cousins the king threadfin have had minimal appearances and are hard to get a bite out of when they are around. This is what they do after years of poor or average wet seasons. Their numbers start to boom again when we go back into the wet cycles, the same is true with barra. This is why Northern Australia has really been in what we consider a barra drought in recent years, apart from Central Queensland and parts of the NT, who have had good flushes in the rivers and floodplains.

The elusive little wonders we call wonky holes, which are venting holes for underground aquifers, really fish well in the winter too, as many species such as nannygai and red emperor move further inshore. Some do remain and become resident to the holes for some time, at least until they stop running and close over. They are quite abundant in many areas of the North Queensland coast and also in areas off the Hinchinbrook coast right here. Some are very close to the Palm islands, and make it easy for smaller boats to access. You have to learn how they work before you can start finding them consistently.

As for July, I think all offshore trips will be subject to the trade winds, but it’s a great time of year out there for both demersal and pelagic species, not to mention the marlin and sailfish starting to show as well, although sailfish are common most of the year around the reef openings and edges. The small marlin are more migratory.

Barra will still be on and off, because this time of year sees a lot more weather fronts coming through and some cold ones at that.

If you want to learn the tricks of finding wonky holes, check out our online course at www.fishsmarter.com.au.

• 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.

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