What a time of year up north! The last month has seen some brilliant conditions on the water with brilliant fishing to match.
We had a good end to the barra season with some excellent fishing. A large percentage of fish were between 90cm and a metre. Let’s hope the season start next February is just as good.
The locals and myself will start to target jacks, fingermark and big golden grunter during the off season. I might also work on a bit of a spot that has some good black jewfish on it.
Black jewfish are a very rare capture around some of the more populated areas. However fingermark are quite often taken up here during summer. I would be recommending using large live mullet and live squid around deep holes and crevices along the northern end of Hinchinbrook Island. The deeper holes in Missionary Bay creeks as well as the Hinchinbrook channel would also be good areas to start looking for these brutes.
Offshore has seen some good coral trout and nannygai taken by locals and visitors and some good sized red emperor have also shown up. With December just around the corner the better time to fish offshore is at night, particularly after a late afternoon thunderstorm. It not only flattens the sea out but the fish become rather active as well.
The Mission beach gamefishing tournament was kind to Cardwell anglers. Ben Johnston, Mick Lennen, and Dave Fenech took out champion boat over 7m with one sailfish and four yellowfin tuna. Ben just missed out on champion angler to his good mate Dave Hoare, also from Cardwell, fishing on Sawara 3. Champion boat overall was Secret Agent with two sailfish tagged. The Mission Beach comp turned on spectacular conditions and is always a great social event. I might even get to fish it socially next year with a bit of luck.
Mission Beach is truly one of the most beautiful beaches in the country with spectacular rainforest backdrops and pristine offshore islands. It is also a great access point to the outer Barrier reef where you can tangle with yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin fish, sailfish and even the possibility of encountering a giant black marlin.
The best time of year would be August to December and if you are a gamefishing fanatic it would make a great holiday. Tow your own boat up as the tourist parks cater well for the boaties or take a charter as there are some good operators up this way.
During December the inshore and estuary fishing hots up with the water temp rising to its yearly maximum. This makes most species very aggressive particularly on the making tides up to both moons. Just remember barramundi are out of bounds until 1 February next year.
Barra are quite often an accidental capture this time of year so be sure to release them. You don’t want the penalties involved if the fisheries find one in your esky. Other fishing restrictions this month are the fin-fish closures from the 3-11 December. During this period you cannot take coral trout, red emperor, and many other varieties of offshore species as outlined by Queensland fisheries in their info pamphlets.
My best advice for December: have a happy and safe Christmas on the water and we will catch you again in the New Year.Reads: 606