Remarkable Mackerel
  |  First Published: October 2007

The big news at this time of year revolves around the heavy game tackle scene and the quest for the awesome black marlin.

Charters have been busy sourcing some great angling fun on the smaller variety to 300lbs but as the month continues the big females arrive at the shelf some 30 miles offshore to breed with the smaller males. Light tackle is substituted for heavy tackle in the hope of hooking up to a 1000lb monster.

Linden Banks has already produced plenty of smaller blacks and the season is shaping up to be a beauty. The local marina has seen the arrival of many impressive game boats in recent times and many of these will venture onto Lizard Island Tournament to fish the Ribbon Reefs and return later in the month to fish the Banks well into November.

In other angling news the fishing on the outer reef continues to impress with solid catches of coral trout, bar cheek trout, large and small nannygai and a variety of trevally. Spanish mackerel have been around in generous numbers this year, however, pin-pointing their feeding times has had a lot of anglers second guessing. The turn of the tide in the mornings appears to create the best opportunities, whether it be trolling or floating pilchards. Some massive mackerel in excess of 30kg have turned up on local charters and left a lasting impression for visiting anglers. At this size they are an imposing figure and a truly remarkable catch.

Inshore grey mackerel breeding grounds have seen fish arrive in preparation to spawn and locals are claiming a few catches. Unfortunately, this has seen the return of commercial netting this year and the arrival of two commercial boats that are putting a huge dent in grey mackerel numbers.

The disturbing factor for the mackerel population is that the commercial catches include females partly roed up so preventing them from breeding. Without closure dates to protect the grey mackerel breeding patterns there is a real concern that this local system is on the verge of crashing. If you'd like to know more on the subject tap into www.ffc.org.au/Grey_Mackerel.html#latest.

Our rivers and creeks are now starting to deliver better results and this has coincided with a rise in water temperatures. Barra, jacks and fingermark are now working in tandem with our winter species such as queenfish, trevally, grunter and bream – and the fishing has been exciting.

The days leading up to the new and full moons with a bit of run has definitely seen the best activity. Turns of the tide and the top of the tide has also been the most productive. Lure and live bait fisherman are equally enjoying the spoils on offer.

Along the beaches the fishing has improved dramatically with slightly warmer water temperatures and calmer days on offer. With a simple peeled prawn you'll have a ball fishing for whiting and swallowtail dart which are in healthy numbers.

The key to success is to use light gear and to fish clear water conditions on an incoming tide. Whether you're an experienced angler or beginner there is no better way to spend a sunny day fishing on our stunning beaches. Four Mile, Cooya, Newell and Wonga beaches are all filing good reports.

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