|  First Published: June 2006

It had to happen. The temperature is dropping and soon the southeasters will be blowing every morning. If one of these highs from the Great Australian Bight gets squeezed by a low in the Tasman Sea then the big southeasters can even blow all the water out of the Southern Gulf so there is little or no run-in tide for several days. It’s a crazy place.

What’s been happening?

The wet in the Karumba area and the Southern Gulf during 2005/2006 will be remembered for a few reasons. Firstly it is the best wet we have had for some time. The Norman River got a good flush out and the communities of the gulf were cut off for long periods of time. Karumba was cut from the rest of the world for about 5 weeks. The Norman ran high and hard as did the Bynoe and the Flinders. Good stuff.

Cyclone Larry forced the cancellation of the Barramundi Classic in Normanton and the Karumba Fishing which where postponed. At least a lot of visitors that the Gulf now know that although serviced by a few bitumen roads, Karumba can still be a very isolated place so it’s important to have sufficient food and drnks.

Consequently the fishing over the last couple of months has been very patchy. That much fresh water means the entire ecosystem will benefit from such a good drenching. There has been the odd barra and king salmon around the place with some grunter are making an appearance in the channel much to the delight of anglers.

The big GTs, queenfish and golden trevally that normally arrive in April failed to appear, but a late appearance may be on the cards.

Karumba in June

If you are visiting Karumba in June then try fishing the channels and drop-offs for grunter. Prawns, mullet and squid are good starters for bait. Local squid will work the best.

The big queenies that normally plague the Sand Island at the start of the year didn’t arrive but could make a late appearance once the water salinity returns to normal. Some Spaniards and spotties should follow them soon after.

School jewfish should start to appear around the place and 5-6kg specimens are great table fish. Fish the deeper holes with flesh baits or whole squid on the smaller tides.

Blue salmon should move into the closer areas around July and August as they get ready to breed. Fishing the run-in tide on the flats with livebait should prodce good results.

Enforcement Action

I heard that two persons were nabbed in a local caravan park recently for having more than the legal limit of barramundi. The law clearly states that 5 fish per person is the legal limit. Don’t think you can get away with it. People will turn you in and the Fisheries or Police will come knocking on your door with a search warrant.

Non-Enforcement Action

And the joke continues with the Indonesian Fishermen in the Gulf. This time The Cairns Post has photos of crews of vessels smiling for the cameras. Rumour is that the Indonesian crews are now only using a bit of longline as a decoy. This is attached to a deep set net so when the crews are interrupted they just cut the long line and leave a very small buoy attached to the deep set or bottom net and simply come back later with a handheld GPS. Turtles and saw sharks are the most common catch.

The joke is that nothing further has been done to alleviate the problem. One commercial fisherman has run up a huge satellite phone bill ringing Customs and Coast Watch. Will something be done before the damage is too great?

fools of the month

It didn’t take too long once the floodwaters had gone down before there was plenty of foolish behaviour in and around the waterways.

I believe that the winner was the bloke doing short circles just off the ramp while draining his boat with the bung out while other people were trying to put boats on their trailers? Or is it those who decide they will try and go past anchored or moored vessels as close as they can? Maybe the disgruntled visitors who rudely used the whole two boat ramp before fiddling around with the trailer while others waited? All are worthy candidates and equal winners of this month’s prize.

Reads: 1927

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