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The wet season rewards offshore
  |  First Published: April 2008



Having experienced a solid wet season, our waters should really start to produce in the coming month. There is an abundance of food in all our systems and it is a matter of waiting for the right conditions to action your plan.

Offshore

To date, the offshore scene has had high and low moments and the better catches have occurred leading into the new and full moon periods with sweeping high tides, and morning sessions being the most productive.

Making the effort to travel to the shelf at the moment is a day-by-day proposition. If you can find those birds working, the rewards can be good captures of yellowfin tuna and Spanish mackerel.

Running a combination of Halco 190D lures in any colour has proven to be dynamite and if the bite is hot don't expect too much waiting time in between reels being engaged. Also expect to nail a few barracuda in the process and maybe lose a few hooked fish to sharks, which are also present. Don't dilly dally with your fish, get them to the boat ASAP otherwise they'll double in size!

Reefs

Fishing the reefs has been slightly spasmodic but there have been days when the trout have come on the bite in a serious manner. Accruing bag limits has been common and the days leading into the new and full moon have ignited their appetite. But slackening tides have definitely seen them retreat so fish the tides with 2m or more movement.

The nannygai in deeper waters have remained finicky with only a few decent fish being plucked from potential schools. However, you'll find this coming month they will start to feed more consistently and at some stage, whether it is this month or in May, they will hit hard and the catches will be overwhelming.

In regards to pelages lurking our outer reefs, there have been days when the Spanish mackerel have been thick rounding up bait schools. Finding those pressure points off main reef systems is the key to success whether you're trolling lures or floating baits. Pelagic fish are often hard to track down but they will always visit those pressure points at some stage.

Inshore

Inshore, with the abundance of bait spread along our beaches and headlands, the fishing has certainly gone up a notch. The Snapper Island region has seen a surge of cale cale trevally hit the area working in tandem with queenfish, bludger trevally, golden trevally, small tuna, school and Spanish mackerel.

Floating live baits, tossing metal slices and trolling lures have all been successful methods used when honing in on bait schools. Morning sessions appear to be best and in past years April has produced the goods around these rocky outcrops, providing the winds are reasonable.

Beaches

Likewise our beaches should be peaking with jelly prawns, adult prawns and a good supply of bite size garfish holding in gutters. Species such as blue salmon, barra, trevally, tarpon and queenfish will continue to feed along these gutters and ideally live bait sourced from the same area is your best option. The incoming tides during low light periods or overcast days will steer the advantage in your direction. If the fish are working the jelly prawn schools which resemble bundles of small rice like creatures, fly fisherman will have a ball being able to imitate this food source with small white flies. The fish will round up this bait usually not far from the waters edge and aggressively gorge themselves. On a calm day these frenzies are easy to spot and it is a matter of lobbing your presentation into the boil and retrieve quickly.

Rivers and Creeks

Fishing the rivers and creeks has been easier recently and live bait has become more abundant. Fingermark are well and truly on the bite during slack tides in deep water with structure and the mangrove jack are super aggressive amongst any major clump of mangrove roots. Estuary cod is a great by-catch and are partial to lures or even a slice of garfish or mullet.

Deep holes, which naturally occur on deep bends, are holding prolific schools of trevally and tarpon and you'll find them working the bait on the surface. Poppers are the ideal way to cash in on this scenario.

Finally, barra are now being sourced right along the length of inshore systems from the river mouth to the upper reaches. Tossing lures over weed beds, small run-off creeks, pylons, fallen or submerged mangrove trees and rocky bars will help you cover a lot of ground. If you find a hotspot it could be worth the effort to revert back to a nice big live bait and sit and wait for that big one. The dropping tides have seen the best barra action and Muddy Creek and Mossman River have been recent hot spots of late.

Fingers crossed for the winds to behave this coming month, because the fishing will be awesome. Nominate a fish and you'll likely catch it!

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