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Which rod do I pick up?
  |  First Published: December 2005



Anglers fishing the Far North during this hot and turbulent time of year have been enjoying some red hot action.

The local marlin season, which is coming to an end, has saved some of its best fishing for last. John White, the owner of Kamari, has forwarded me all sorts of hair-raising tales. The action has been occurring recently right on the Linden Bank with smaller male black marlin around 300lb right up to the big females over 1000lb providing some very explosive action. One day John tagged two fish over 1000lb, on another he secured a double hook-up with 700lb and 900lb fish and also he had a situation where a 900lb marlin swallowed a tuna rig and was tagged using 50lb stand-up gear. You’d think that last effort would be close to a world record, but this stands at 340lb more.

This sort of action is expected to continue right up to the new year at least. The local crews are absolutely pumped at the moment with the bite occurring right on our doorstep.

REEFIES

The reef fishing has had a resurgence in recent times, with quality coral trout coming on the chew in good numbers. Local anglers have been getting their bag limits of trout, and have also been picking up good catches of 7-10kg Spanish mackerel58869. Bar-cheeked trout have been another bottom fish which has performed well over the last month. Morning sessions, before the heat of the day sets in, have been the most productive, along with periods before the afternoon squalls which are now becoming more common. You can really sense the build-up to the wet season at this time of year.

BEACH OPTIONS

Along the beaches you can now enjoy some serious land-based action, particularly if you’re handy with the fly rod. At Four Mile Beach right on dawn (5am) on an incoming tide you’ll find queenfish and tarpon hunting in schools, smashing into the millions of small baitfish in the area. There’s no mistaking where the fish are; you’ll see a mass boil frothing on the surface and hear their mouths snapping frantically at the bait.

Any fly a few centimetres long in white or chartreuse that’s presented into the commotion will instantly result in a hook-up after a few strips of the line. The queenfish are predominantly around 1kg with the tarpon exceeding 3kg at times. There’s also the chance of picking up a GT, blue salmon, giant herring or barramundi whilst targeting these surface boils. You don't need to cast far because most of the action is right at the water’s edge as the bait is forced into the shallowest of water. The action has been lasting for the first hour or two of daylight. When you consider that you can catch up to 20 fish per session, it really makes early start worthwhile.

In the rivers and creeks, Murphy's Law applies. The barramundi have really fired up but we are well and truly into the closed season so we’re not allowed to target them. It has been a great sign that the barra numbers are healthy though, and the extensive closures to netters along the coast are having a positive impact.

While we wait for serious rain to aid the barra spawning process, the mangrove jack and fingermark catches have been impressive. There have been consistent catches of 40-50cm fish, mainly amongst the heavy timber of fallen trees and various structure. Strip baits are the way to go at the moment because this decreases the chance of hooking an accidental barra.

In the deeper holes there are still solid numbers of queenfish and giant trevally harassing the bait schools. These fish are responding well to livebaits, gold Bombers and silver B52s. When the incoming tide arrives you can actually see them as they cruise through the main channels in search of food. Early morning and late afternoon sessions are definitely the smart way to fish at the moment.

With the Christmas and New Year holidays upon us we expect an influx of tourists for a few weeks before we hit our so-called quiet season. This downtime is a good time to fish in Port Douglas, because you’ll have the wonderful fishing grounds to yourself!

[CAPTIONS]

1) Local surf lifesaver Paul Tuckett with a bar-cheeked trout. Plenty of these fish have been caught over the past month.

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