Windy Weather Winners
  |  First Published: May 2008

The strong trade winds of winter are inevitably on their way, which makes offshore reef trips impossible and island hopping uncomfortable. However for those brave souls committed to fishing, the blue water shelter can be found in the Palm Group of islands where conveniently many fish call home during winter.

Pelagics are the most common species around this group due to the fast running currents alongside deepwater and coral flats. The trout and red fishing can be a bit of a hit and miss affair in amongst the islands, although there are the odd spot that produces consistently and is worth finding.

For those with smaller vessels, you should not venture out across the paddock in strong south easterlies. The good news is that winter fish will soon be moving in to the creeks and beaches. But before the water cools down enough for that to happen, now is the time to really concentrate your efforts on the big three: barra, jacks and fingermark.

When the water cools down, these three popular sport and table fish will become very lethargic and feed very little, considering their normal appetite. So just before the big freeze and just after a wet season you can expect these fish to take advantage of any easy meal put in front of them.

Now is the time to fish the shallower creeks, as they tend to heat up sooner in the early morning sunlight. Places such as the Haughton River or Barattas Creek are probably the number one picks to the south, while northern creeks like Cattle and Crystal creeks are well worth a look.

Remember to find the structure with your sounder and check it for fish holding. If the fish are there they are bound to feed at some stage of the tide and you may need to put in a full day sitting on that patch of fish before they switch on. Try different baits and on different rigs until you find what is working on the day.

Another option very rarely mentioned is the freshwater fishing around Townsville, and no I am not talking about the weirs in the middle of town! The freshwater I am referring to is the creeks and river out along the Harvey’s Range road. Keelbottom Creek, the Starr River and the Burdekin River also hold good numbers of fish.

Sooty grunter, eel-tailed catfish and sleepy cod make up the majority of fish caught but there have been reports of golden perch and barramundi in some of these waterways. The lure fishing up here may be on the smaller side of northern expectations but I can guarantee that these fish hit little lures very hard and still provide the thrills that we all fish for.

So if the wind gets up this month and your looking for a fishing fix, why not try something different out of your comfort zone.

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