Challenging Fishing with Huge Rewards
  |  First Published: August 2007

In the last month, we have once again had to battle the persistent south-easterlies. However, a couple of small breaks have allowed us to get among some good fish.

Cardwell sportfisherman Carl Stokes, had a bunch of fun brawling with massive GTs at one of our offshore wrecks. Eventually, Carl pulled out the 50lb outfit and landed an impressive 157cm trevally. That is one big fish and it was released back to its haunt. I managed to stumble across a few new areas that produced some top fish, including scarlet sea perch, red emperor, and bar cheek trout.

Bar cheeks are an inshore variety of coral trout and are seldom found any further than 30m offshore. This spectacular version of the species can be a common capture around islands and headlands. They are also found in wonky holes that are peppered through the paddock between the reef and mainland.

This year is one of the coldest winters for some time and can cause some species to react in different ways. Barramundi and Fingermark are normally foragers during the warmer months, but can hold up in big numbers on obstructions during winter.

In the past, many anglers thought fingermark was only a summertime species, and that they either disappeared or went off the chew in the cooler months. Whilst fishing the Townsville waters, I realised that they would cluster into tight groups and on the sounder would often look like a snag. We anchored directly above them and dropped Rattlin’ Spot lures right on their noses to great success. The best session we had was 35 fish in a 2hr period.

I have recently had a bunch of fun using similar practises at Hinchinbrook. In the shallower waters we have been trolling deep diving lures. In the deeper headland waters, soft plastics have proven to be the best method. The fun part about dropping the soft plastics around the headlands is the variety of the catch. It is not just fingermark you will encounter, but also GTs, coral trout, queenfish, mangrove jacks and more. If you are a soft plastic fanatic then I suggest you put Hinchinbrook on your fishing calendar.

August is our big month for the billfish species on the bait schools just wide of Hinchinbrook Island. This year before the tournaments start, we are going to experiment with soft plastics. During August we should be right in the middle of the inshore Spanish mackerel season. They head to the reef to spawn in early October so I will promise some monster Spaniard photos next month. If you are coming up to target them yourself I would suggest trying the garfish behind a woghead or the larger wolf herring rigs for trolling. If you are at anchor, try drifting pillies on ganged hooks where current lines are bouncing off headlands or other pressure points. If you do not have much luck, then look me up to take a charter and see how it is done. You can get in touch with me at U Beaut Barra Charters on (07) 4068 6057 or via email on --e-mail address hidden--

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