What a brilliant start to our offshore season! Every time we go on charter we find new fishing grounds and it’s clear that all these open water spots have never been fished. When I moved here I knew I was in for something special but I did not know it would be this good.
During late March and early April many locals noticed good-sized black marlin free jumping around the many bait and tuna schools that infest this area. President of the Cardwell Sportfishing club Ben Johnson and fishing mate Mark ‘Sharkey’ Joscelyn asked me how to catch one of these speedsters. After a bit of advice the boys headed out and started trolling 2kg bridle-rigged milkfish around the first bait school. Ten minutes later they nearly had a double hook-up on two 250lb blacks. One eluded the hook and the other managed to throw them after five minutes of fighting. The lads were over the moon and have vowed to have another crack at them. I have seen marlin to 400lb and am keen to land one myself. Who knows, we might even be sitting on a brilliant medium tackle game fishery!
Adolescent marlin always arrive after the wet season to feast on the bait and tuna that are attracted to the nutrient run-off. The amount of water that the Tully and Herbert rivers spew into the waters wide of Hinchinbrook also contributes to the number of fish that are around. I’ll keep you up to date on this fishery over the next few months.
During May we should start to see the annual run of Spanish mackerel on all the inshore headlands and obstructions. The best time to fish for these toothy missiles is the week before both the new and full moon. While the current is running try drifting both pilchards and garfish on a set of sturdy ganged hooks in the current. Once the current stops you can often get them back on the chew by dropping large metal slices down past them and retrieving them quickly. Spaniards seem to feel comfortable in 8-12m and are easily found on the upcurrent side of headlands and obstructions. Some of the best areas include Cape Sandwich, Cape Richards, Gould Island and the Family group of islands further to the north off South Mission Beach.
The barra fishing has been a little patchy due to the amount of freshwater that is still running out of the Hinchinbrook Channel, but this will improve as May gets closer. Plenty of big mangrove jacks and quality golden grunter have been on the chew on the northern side of the island. On a recent three-day charter we caught 26 jacks and 35 grunter to 4kg and most of the fish were released.
Hinchinbrook is currently enjoying some of the best inshore fishing I have seen for a long time, and I think it’s great that our southern clients elect to release most of their fish. Other species we have experienced lately are Maori sea perch and Venus tuskfish. Both are very tough fighters in shallow water, especially when they are nudging the 5-6kg mark.
If you would like any info on what’s happening up here or you would like to book a charter please feel free to call me on 0414 341 972 or email me at --e-mail address hidden-- Catch you next month.Reads: 1910