During February we experienced mixed opportunities at Hinchinbrook. Some periods of foul weather saw many people stay home. But that has been happening along most east coast during the early months this year.
Local fishing mates Ben Johnston and Carl Stokes made the most of one of the better periods. They found some good rubble beds close to the offshore islands and had a ball catching small nannygai on soft plastics. The beauty of using plastics on these fish is they don’t get the hook down their throat. When bait fishing sometimes they swallow the hook right down and if you are inexperienced at hook removal you can damage the fish, making them hard to release in a good condition.
We have also had some reasonable largemouth nannygai coming from the shoals, with most fish averaging 5-7kg. The big golden grunter have been showing up in all the deep holes around north Hinchinbrook and the offshore islands. The Family group to the north has some good deep trenches and on a recent charter we managed to catch 19 grunter, the largest of which was 78cm. The lads only kept four for back at the resort and notably, grunter do actually release well in water as deep as 28m.
Barra fishing of late has been quite good, but mainly on the bigger tides on the headlands as there is still quite a lot of fresh moving at present. During March we should see a return to better barra fishing up the rivers as the waters settle down, but that could change if we get another monsoonal downpour late in the wet season.
Other estuary species should start to show up in the coming month as well. Fingermark have been a bit patchy in recent months and so have their favourite food, the greenback herring. Both species should become more active as the end of March approaches. Mangrove jack have been prevalent on the headlands but reports are few coming from the creeks as well. When they are schooling up on the headlands they usually cant resist a fresh strip of mullet or a whole pilchard, and some times you will catch a Coral Trout or two in among the jacks if you do use pillys.
Hinchinbrooks headlands are truly diverse, you don’t know what you might catch next. I have a couple of areas where its possible to catch barra, jack, and coral trout in against the rocks. If you also throw a strip bait out wide it is possible to catch big grunter and salmon.
March should also be a good month for crabbers, but I would recommend you keep you pots out on the flats rather than way up the creek. Start crabbing the rivers and creeks from April onwards. If you’re planning a trip up and would like to have a fish drop us an email at --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 1573