Grand Slam Time
  |  First Published: April 2006

There is light at the end of the tunnel as we look forward to the completion of another wet season. We can still expect a bit more rain and some unsettled weather, but one could assume that the worst of the bad weather is over.

April can be an absolute corker for fishing as we pass through another crossover period when summer and winter species meet. All angling options should be well catered based on previous years results. If the trademark southeasterly winds hold off for a while longer all sorts of fishing grand slams should be achieved.

I recently completed a very successful light gamefishing trip aboard Kamari, and the action was certainly simmering. We fished the Opal Ridge just off the shelf, and were working overtime down in the cockpit fighting with dolphinfish, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel and mackerel tuna. I also dropped a small black marlin and saw enough billfish activity to say there are plenty of these small puppies in the area.

Rigged garfish lures ruled supreme on this occasion, and we had chewed through our supply by early on the second day of the trip. This was sensational fishing considering the time of year and the action will only get better in April.

Over summer the reef fishing was sluggish and the best results were achieved on overnight trips, especially when targeting reds. However with the water temperature dropping, day trips should start to fire once again. Red emperor, nannygai and coral trout should be more productive during daylight hours and the pelagic fishing should pick up a notch or two. April is the time when some massive Spaniards can be taken with a floating rig. Cobia and reef mangrove jacks should begin to appear with more regularity.

I'm looking forward to piscatorial action closer to home around our headlands and Snapper Island. With a big fresh bait supply driven out from the flooding creeks and rivers all sorts of pelagic species will be offer. Big oceanic queenies, Spanish mackerel, GTs, and northern and bluefin tuna are all expected.

I like to troll with Halco 190D lures and a variety of colourful 6” skirted lures, concentrating along pressure points and deep gutters and channels. Finding the birds working on the surface is an obvious way of finding the hot spots, but also keep an eye on forming bait schools. Always keep a 4kg spinning outfit ready with a metal slug attached as there will be ample opportunity to launch into a boiling feeding frenzy on the surface.

So far the conditions haven't been ideal for beach fishing but there is a lot of bait along the foreshore and all we need is a string of calm weather to ignite this scene. It’s worth keeping an eye on proceedings here as the jelly prawns are due to hatch and when this happens all sorts of predators will appear. Queenfish, trevally, blue salmon, barramundi, giant herring, flathead, tarpon and dart are just some of the preferred adversaries you could expect to latch onto. Fishing calm, early mornings and rising tides is the key to catching the best action.

Sight fishing the adjacent shallow coastal mudflats and sandbars for barra, giant herring, permit, golden trevally, tarpon and blue salmon should really fire in April. Carefully cruising in a flat bottom punt during the low light periods in the morning, you should be able to see these fish as they venture from their comfort zones in search of new food supplies. I know there are a few keen flyfishers rubbing their hands together for this opportunity once the rainfall eases and the water clarity improves.

In the rivers and creeks a lot of the better reports are now occurring further upstream with barra and jacks concentrating on those smaller feeder creeks and run-offs. The key is to use big baits such as mullet or mud herring and target where the dirty water meets the fresh. Lure fishing the discolouration line will also produce good rewards especially with lures working closer to the surface.

Fingermark have also turned up the torch in recent times and April is a classic time to work those deeper holes which offer some structure below. Neapish tides and also on the top of the tides are critical times to pursue these fish when the water flow is slow enough to present a bait into their holding office. Livebaits such as mullet, herring and sardines are choice, however live squid is even better if you can source it.

Overall April’s fishing looks promising and if you see a window of opportunity with good weather, be sure to get amongst it.

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