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There she blows!
  |  First Published: April 2007



What will the weather do this month? Judging by the lack of serious monsoonal rains in the early months of this year’s wet, we might be in for a few surprises. Last year there were some hefty rains with Cyclone Monica overhead. Rain from this cyclone left the massive wetland systems to the south filled to the brim.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica battered the far northern Australian coast from 17-26 April 2006 and was the strongest and most intense cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

The cyclone rapidly lost force as it crossed the east coast of Cape York. It had become a blow accompanied by heaps of rain by the time it passed to the south of Aurukun causing extensive flooding around Cape Keerweer.

The Archer, Love, Kirk and Kendell rivers all look fantastic on the map now and it’s because of these flood events. Hundreds of lagoons, marshes, saltpans and billabongs became isolated as the floodwaters receded and many are now full of life.

Let’s imagine there has been some serious rain and the estuaries are a light brown colour. Outside the water clarity is tarnished due to strong northwesterly sea breezes.

Last year, the barramundi fishing was fantastic which should continue again this year. Thousands of small barra inundated the local estuaries and began feasting on anything they could get into their bucket mouths. Bigger fish were also around, but many of the larger specimens followed the floodwaters upstream and were out of reach of boaters. You can bet if this wet season recovers, anglers willing to walk the extra mile this dry season will be in for some great fishing.

Live and dead baits may be the way to go, with blue salmon, grunter, threadfin salmon and barra the main targets. If you find a patch of blue salmon, you’d better do some arm stretches as these feisty fish pull hard, jump and come in packs larger than you can count.

If you can avoid the catfish, then grunter will appear in numbers over sand and gravel bottoms. Stick to the basic rule of two or more catfish, up anchor and move on. Whiskery or threadfin salmon are masters at feeling out a feed in dirty water and small live baits including prawns are the way to go.

With almost guaranteed rain about, those wishing to cast lures will have to be smart when chasing their favourite quarry. Casting lures at junctions, drains, swamp overflows and back eddies or spots out of the main run are the places to try.

As weather patterns continue to change around this time of year, perhaps more cyclones like Monica, Larry and Ingrid will batter the Queensland coast. In late February there were three low pressure systems developing along the monsoonal trough and a particularly ominous looking low was positioned south of the Solomon Islands.

Regardless, barramundi, archerfish, sooty grunter, tarpon and saratoga will all be busily looking for homes amongst the many creeks, rivers, lagoons and estuarine lakes scattered throughout this water wonderland.

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