Over the years May has been either a feast or famine sort of month. Some years it blows 25 knots all month and other times fishable 10-15 knots winds have been the norm. With this in mind I will try my best to give readers the good oil on where to head.
We should start to see some Spanish mackerel catches on offshore shoals and reefs as well as around the closer headlands and other structure. The best bet for both areas is to look for bait schools and current around the structure and work theses spots. Hotspots to try include Shark Shoal, Cape Cleveland, Albino and Chilcott rocks, Salamander Reef and the edges of reef platforms off Keeper, Lodestone and other similar areas.
Trolled wolf herring and gar have been the most popular baits thanks to their versatility that let anglers use a variety of techniques. These baits can be sent low with weighty sinkers, floated in a berley trail or used for trolling.
When conditions are not so favourable anglers will find that trolling is an excellent option, either with baits or lures. Trolling allows anglers to keep fishing when sitting still under anchor in rough conditions, and also means you’re less likely to be seasick.
Lure fishing for Spanish mackerel has come a long way in the last couple of years with slow trolling around the ocean no longer the only lure tactic. Metal slices and magazine articles outlining the dos and don’ts of high speed spinning and jigging have had tackle sales in north Queensland hitting record highs.
Look for the same areas, as with trolling and find the bait and the Spaniards won’t be far away. This can be a very proactive method of fishing and sore shoulders and hands can be guaranteed at the end of the day’s fishing.
Inshore the same techniques can be used in shallower water when chasing doggie and spotty mackerel just down size your lures and lines.
The large schools of red emperor and large mouth nannygai that Townsville is famous for have begun to make their presence felt and will only continue to improve over the next few months.
Large baits fished on, or just off, the bottom should help you to come up trumps as long as your gear can stand the prolonged battle of a big red. Rod and reel maintenance is important throughout the year but essential before a trip targeting big reds!
If you don’t own a boat capable of taking you offshore or you like to keep your feet firmly planted on terra firma you will be pleased to hear that creek anglers have revelled in the strong winds and made some mind-blowing captures. Local anglers will start to use live prawns as opposed to the traditional live fish baits. Fishing these close into the snags will see some fish lost but plenty will still be landed.
With the winter months traditionally seeing barra and fingermark catches slow down. Its time to look forward to nice catches of salmon, bream, whiting, flathead and grunter over the next few weeks.
If your after a grunter, when fishing in the Townsville area keep your eyes peeled for shell grit and shale pads covered with rising water of a flow tide as they will be certain to hold fish. Sand bars or beaches that hold good numbers of yabby holes will also be worth an exploratory cast or two. You will find that most creek and river systems around Townsville have this sort of structure somewhere within their reaches.
A good quality sounder will make it easier for you to find these spots. However, failing that, you can go down at low tide and keep an eye on the muddy bank watching for signs of shells or grit in the mud as this is normally a good indicator of structure nearby and then it is only a matter of experimenting until you succeed.
It’s important to always remember that baits of poor condition or quality will lead captures of the same standards. So always try to have the best possible bait you can in the water. Preferably these would come straight out of the creek that you’re fishing in, so my tip to you all is to either learn to throw a cast net or take a mate who can! If you’re struggling most local tackle stores will only be too happy to help. Or in the case of the beaches and such invest in a yabby pump.
May 6-7 has been set aside for this year’s annual Townsville Game Fishing Club’s Predators Tournament. Most of this year’s categories (barramundi, mangrove jack, grunter, flathead, whiting, bream, trevally and mud crabs) can be caught in your local creek.
The tournament has been designed to go ahead regardless of weather. If the weather is good then it will simply make the final categories of shark, billfish mackerel, tuna, coral trout and red emperor or nannygai more interesting.
Junior entrants will all receive prizes regardless of whether they weigh a fish or not. Entry fees are $50 per adult, $10 for juniors under 16 or $80 for a family (Mum, Dad and two kids under 16).
There’s over $30,000 in prizes to be given away making this is Townsville’s premier fishing competition and well worth the entry fees. For more information contact Tom Hatrick on (07) 4771 2677 or Mick Meiers on (07) 4780 4719.Reads: 641