Reefs rev up for April
  |  First Published: April 2008

No one can complain that we did not have a wet this year. Hopefully, the monsoons will soon dump the rain and clear days will once again become the norm.

After months of floods and winds, the offshore anglers will be itching to get out there. Despite the good breaks in the weather, the reefs will really start to fire when the freshwater starts to filter out from the salt. In the past month those heading offshore have had to fish deepwater to find the fish under the freshwater line that is reported to be up to 8m deep.

If the freshwater continues to run-off this month, then try to find blue water. If you’re fishing in murky or green water head further out.

As we head towards autumn, I would expect to see the magnetic island shoals starting to produce excellent trophy fish. This maze of small shoals, rubble, isolates and wrecks are famous for extra large emperor, scarlets, cobia and mackerel. The best catch from the Maggie shoals so far this year is an 11kg emperor taken by Keith Macgregor, but it is still early days and last year’s 17kg red caught by the Broughton boys are sure to be matched again.

Those anglers keen on a feed of trout have been heading well offshore to the outer reefs with good reports from Faraday, Chicken and Pith reefs. Unfortunately these spots are a fraction too far out for most anglers and trailer boats. Nevertheless, try fishing the closer in reefs that receive less pressure than the more popular areas, such as Rib, Pith, Brewer, Broadhurst and Grub. All these reefs fish well and all it takes is a small amount of research trips to find the fish in your new area.

The beach fishers have probably been the hardest done-by this wet season as the beaches have been either covered in debris or running freshwater for at least a couple of kilometres. But it hasn’t been all bad news as a massive run of prawns on the full and new moons have made their way along all the northern beaches and should run again this month.

Along with the reefs, the beach fishing will also fire as the saltwater starts to push back up the beach. Any new snags washed up will hold barra on the bigger tides and expect the best catches to come at night. This will be the same for gutters and rubble pads, the best way to find these is to go for a walk at low tide and then fish them on the next run-in. Try using a variety of baits to see just what species of fish is working that particular piece of structure.

The creek fishers have had a mixed bag so far with very few anglers getting constant results. Some reports have told of big numbers of good barra on certain snags only to return the next day to come home fishless.

The only sure thing of late has been crabs. By March the crabs should have worked their way back up into the creeks, so work the drains and gutters up the tops of the smaller creeks draining into the main systems.

The last thing I want to mention this month is the information that has come out of the Inshore Fin Fish meeting. Besides the changing of bag and size limits it was mentioned that a third round of talks will take place in regards to resource sharing in regional areas. What that means is how do we in the Townsville region think our resource (fish stocks) should be shared between commercial and recreational anglers and how do we police it?

Townsville is the largest centre in north Queensland yet only 150 anglers could be bothered to actually show up to the last meeting! Hopefully this third and final chance to improve the fishing for all of us is enough motivation for you!

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