This year the tropics have seen one of the coldest winters for some time. The water temperature dropped dramatically inshore to 18oC during the last month. This has put a dampener on some species but has brought others on the chew.
Our estuaries have suffered the worst with barramundi and other shallow water fish disappearing, but other species such as cobia, Spaniards and other pelagics have been feeding aggressively. We should see a return to good barra fishing around early September onwards, but until then there is still a few months of first class blue water action to be had.
Last month we experienced good sessions on cobia on the seagrass beds in Missionary bay. Tides around both moons are prime time when fishing inshore during winter. I prefer the run-out tide that usually starts around mid-morning during this part of the moon phase. Get a good berley trail going and fish large live baits of mullet and garfish in the berley trail. It usually does not take long for the first strike.
Cobia are best played out before bringing them to the boat as they are a very powerful fish and are capable of breaking things that you might have on the deck, including your ankles. They also have a bad habit of swimming to the boat before their first run and sometimes anglers will try and sink a gaff too soon. This is when you had better eat your Wheeties as you are going to cop the flogging of your life at the other end of the gaff, so best play them out first. Some of the better fish were around the 13kg mark although we did lose some screamers.
Sometimes when you are on the water you see some spectacular sights, one of which happened at the end of July when we were fishing wide of Eva Island. We started dropping large metal slices through these schools of large GT’s and on one of the retrieves we saw a Spaniard of around 6-7ft in length swipe the lure from the mouth of a 40lb GT. What happened next was some of the fastest spool revolutions I have ever seen. We only just had enough time to throw the anchor and give chase. We had the fish on for five minutes but we travelled for more than 800m before the fish managed to throw the hooks. It was probably the biggest Spaniard I have ever seen, especially being taken on a metal slice. I bet that GT won’t forget it either.
Another unusual experience recently was a deformed fingermark taken during a session on soft plastics. I have seen many deformed barra over the years but never a fingermark. It looked like he was missing about 10cm of his body behind his caudal fin, but it still didn’t hinder his fighting ability.
During September I would expect to see the estuaries fire up particularly during the last half of the month. Barra, jacks and salmon should start firing again and the start of the golden grunter run should continue right through the warmer months, particularly around the dark moon periods. We have the billfish tournaments starting in September so we might have some reports during the coming issues. Fingers crossed we should see some good weather for the tournaments and a few teams from south that come every year to contest these events.
If you find yourself up this way look us up for a charter, you can get me on 0414341972.Reads: 417