The weather this Easter was certainly unkind to the North Queensland fishing industry – at least I got to spend some time with the kids. However we did manage some good mangrove jack fishing on the headlands and the odd Maori sea perch. The live poddies and mullet strip are good ammo when fishing for these battle-axes. Some fish have nudged the 3-4 kg mark and they sure are a handful for unexpecting clients.
After the weather cleared, some of the locals got out and had some luck with the pelagics. Cardwell Sportfishing Club president Ben Johnson and a couple of mates decided to check out the bait schools and had a bunch of fun trading blows with big golden trevally, northern blues and a sailfish. Ben said he could not believe the size of the yakka schools and it looks like it could be a good season on the light tackle game fishing calendar. I, however, did not get a chance to target some of the bigger marlin that have been roaming these waters in recent months due to other commitments and bad weather, but hope to get a chance soon.
We have had a few early Spaniards show up with the biggest being a 25kg model taken on Mick Edwards’ boat Moonshine. By the time the new moon period arrives in June I expect the Spanish mackerel season to be in full swing which is good news for the smaller boat fisherman as many hotspots are still inaccessible in rough weather.
Carl Stokes from Muddies restaurant has landed the largest northern blue up here so far this year, with a nice fish of 10kg. They have been plentiful on the northeastern side of Hinchinbrook Island and are best caught using a two to three inch metal slice or a small popper. Carl loves his sport fishing and reckons we are blessed living up here.
Another popular sportfish that usually shows up during June is the golden trevally. They are a strange fish that have various different strategies when it comes to feeding. Goldens can be caught in deeper offshore waters on general bottom rigs and they also come in to inhabit the inshore coral flats around the islands where you can see them foraging in only a foot of water. This occurs mainly on the neap tides around the first and last quarter moon cycle and this is the ideal time for lure and fly fishers to target them. They are easy to locate in the shallows as all you have to look for is their tails flapping in the air as they forage along the flats.
In the estuaries the golden grunter fishing has tapered off but there are some big black bream showing up. The best areas to try for these are around rock lined headlands particularly if they are also in the vicinity of mangroves. The headlands on the way around to Missionary Bay would be a good place to start looking. The barra fishing has been reasonable but I am looking forward to the winter fishing where we adjust our techniques a bit. We change over to live prawn in winter as it seems the only live bait that they take this time of year, and we look for clusters of them in the deeper holes rather than target them in the shallows as we did in summer.
That’s about all for this month, and remember, if you would like some more information on this region or want to book a charter, you can contact me at --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 757