Predators tournament produces many species
  |  First Published: July 2007

Townsville’s estuary fishing has been erratic over the last month but anglers have been enjoying the light winds and catching barra from the headlands. Most fish have been around 75-90cm and are still taking live fish baits. Despite seeing its fair share of 30 knot southeasters already this year the tropical north coast should enjoy some beaut conditions in winter.

The southerlies will fire up the billfish and Spanish mackerel. A few of locals have started catching Spaniards but they have not arrived in mass numbers yet. The week before the new moon in July should see the start of inshore Spanish mackerel bites.

Another species that arrives around the same winter moon phase is yellowfin (silver bream). These fish are an easy catch for the family angler and can be found around rocky headlands and rubble or shell beds. Preferred baits are peeled prawn, yabbies and even small mullet strips. Fish are often 800g to 1.2kg and a few will feed the whole family. Yellowfin are a great target species for kids.

July is usually when we start fishing seriously for juvenile black marlin and sailfish. Small swim baits and skipping gar are the most common methods but this year I want to try using some large soft plastics.

The bait schools are still thick wide of Hinchinbrook and mackerel anglers are encountering the odd marlin as close in as Eva Island. These are all good signs that billfish will fire up in July.

School prawns have also arrived in the upper reaches of some creeks and some great blue salmon action has accompanied them. Fish of 3-4kg have been common and large live prawn and greenback herring are the best baits. Salmon should be around all the headlands, creeks and rivers as winter progresses.

Last month the Townsville Game Fishing Club held its annual Predators fishing tournament. Day One produced comfortable conditions that allowed myself, James Burn, Ben Johnson and Mark Joscelyn to fish some new offshore turf. We were lucky enough to land some great fish, including an 11kg scarlet sea perch that ended up winning the biggest red category. However, like many others we were restricted by strong winds on Day Two and fished the northern end of Hinchinbrook Island. We then changed tactics and started using soft plastics around the headlands. This proved to be the right decision and we caught several species including: jacks, fingermark, coral trout, golden trevally and more. Watching the lads’ pull fish each cast using this method made me realise that Hinchinbrook is the perfect destination for southern anglers to target tropical species on soft plastics. I’m going to start fishing charters using this method and anyone interested should send me an email.

I hope July sees you all tied up to some nice fish, and if you would like some info on Hinchinbrook or about a charter contact me on --e-mail address hidden--

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