Sashimi Season
  |  First Published: December 2008

Now that the excessive hangovers and Christmas over-indulgences are over, it’s time to look at what the New Year may bring to Hinchinbrook in 2009.

But first I had better mention the hot grunter bite in December. During the warmer season I start fishing a little deeper for grunter and mainly fish the neap tides. This is in contrast to a few months ago when the slightly cooler water pushed the fish into shallower waters of the bays and islands, and the fish preferred the larger tidal movement.

For the next couple of months try deeper waters around the islands and headlands. Remember that these fish are foragers and they often don’t throw much of a return on your sounder as their airbladder is not large and is always deflated when they are on the move. So, look for weaker echoes close to the bottom that are scattered over an area of mud or rubble.

After anchoring drop down a fresh whole squid or greenback herring and from there the rest is easy.

For the sashimi lovers January provides our waters with first class northern bluefin tuna. The schools range from 15kg missiles to acres of lollypops around 1-2kg, and it’s these little morsels that the larger black marlin show up to feed on.

My good mate Ben Johnston from Port Hinchinbrook is a mad gamefisher and has promised that we are going to make the most of the weather and any spare time we have this year to get a good size black alongside for a photo, I can’t wait!

The estuary scene during January can change in an instant with the possibility of heavy rains, as this is usually the start of the three month monsoon. Even though it does not rain all the time, as many people think, you can be unlucky and some unfortunate visitors have had to put up with a five to seven day downpour before it fines up. But that’s the tropics!

If we do get floodwaters pouring out of Hinchinbrook channel it is usually better to target offshore species or get out around the islands. Most estuary species get upset at all the freshwater and quite often the catfish arrive in annoying numbers and it can take a few weeks for this to settle down.

Fingermark become one of the more targeted species during this period. Anglers use live squid and herring around the headlands and isolated structures to catch this very tasty species. Although, it will be good to see bag limits reduced as they are a slow grower and if everybody took their limit then the fishery would no doubt suffer. But at present they are still in healthy numbers and it would be good to see it stay that way.

January does not see any reef spawning closures as they finished in November this year, and was good to see that DPI&F finally came around and lifted the December 21 to 29 closure. What would have Christmas been without some fresh fish or a trip to the reef. Lets hope they use their melons a bit more when making these decisions about the fishery and the effects they have on our local economies.

Next month I will talk about some barra options as the season re-opens for February. If you want to know more or book a trip up this way you can get me on 07 4068 6057 or --e-mail address hidden-- .

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