Karumba in July
  |  First Published: July 2006

The fishing in Karumba has been quite patchy over the last month with the weather dictating the type of fishing possible.

May had some beautiful weather, especially when it combined with the end of the late wet season run-off. Plenty of barra were around for those with the know how, as were some big fingermark and the grunter with their on-again, off-again pattern. Just when they seem to be schooling up in the Norman River Channel they would disappear just as quickly.

The blue salmon have been firing on the early run-in tides and the start of the run-out. Best places have been the oaks and over near the mouth of the Bynoe River. These spots are both protected from the big southeasterlies and are accessible on the higher tides.

There are still plenty of big queenfish around the sand bar and it’s still possible to find them by trolling the good old gold Bomber or B52 over the top of the bars on the run-in tide. Queenfish will disappear at the top of the tide but often re-appear on the run-out at the other end of the sand bar. The star performers of the month would definitely be the Spanish mackerel, which have been around in plague proportions. One boat managed 20 on lures in one session.


Throughout the next couple of weeks the southeasterly winds will get a real toehold and should become the dominant weather pattern for a while. When the winter pattern settles in the winds tend to behave themselves a little better and become more predictable. They tend to be moderate to fresh in the morning before dropping out in the afternoon, sometimes with a sea breeze. These are the type of conditions that have been bringing tourists to the area for so many years. Get a big high in the Bight and a low in the Tasman to block it and its time to put two chains on the dog. The Gulf can get cold as well so don’t be afraid to throw in a jumper.


Blue salmon will be turning up in numbers over the next couple of months for their annual breeding run, which will coincide with the arrival of the bulk of the tourists to the area. Consequently the blue salmon will be heavily fished at a time when they are vulnerable. When the big blueys are on the go they will eat anything dished up anyhow. They’re certainly not hard to catch.

Please take care to not overfish the blue salmon as the future of stocks lies in the current stock’s ability to breed. A big blue salmon puts up a great fight; they even taste good fresh but freeze like tailor and taste the same after a long stint in the cold box. The possession limit for blue salmon is 20 per person, which is ridiculous and only unscrupulous anglers will target that many.

I can’t predict anything about grunter these days, as I believe they are in all sorts of trouble. If you are lucky enough to be in the right spot when a school of big grunter come on then we all plead with you to be restrained and not keep catching them just because you can. That practice is why grunter are nowhere near as numerous as they used to be around Karumba.

Spanish mackerel will also be full on this month. Going on what has been occurring last month it should be a hoot. Catching a big mackerel is a thrill a minute especially when they can be half as long as your 12ft boat. A cool hand is required throughout the battle. In the initial stages it’s important to remember that they will run for a long time straight up and pretty much all the time this will be the one and only big long run. If your gear is good to go and can weather the initial storm then the rest is simple. Most of the time the biggest hurdle is staying out the way of the choppers when the fish is put in the boat. It’s at this stage that you should use the fish pacifier to quickly put the big Spaniard out of its misery and to minimise any injuries from those formidable set of teeth. I have seen photos of injuries sustained by commercial mackerel and those teeth can inflict some serious wounds that would often require stitches.

Barra are still on the target list until the first real cold snap. On a recent trip on some double tides it took the fish a bit to become active. However it wasn’t long before a well-placed cast had the action warming up. Believe me that if a lure swims past a fish a metre after the water temp has dropped then that fish may strike. Prawn Stars and soft plastics are the way to go.

For those with the vessel and the inclination there are also plenty of longtail tuna out around the first contour line. These blokes are good fighters and taste great as steaks on the BBQ and also as the more traditional Japanese dishes of sushi and sashimi.


As this month’s runner up we have the rocket scientist who captured and then killed an extremely large 135cm black jew and then proceeded to take it back to the Caravan Park and brag about it. What about size limits?

In first place is the boat ramp hog that when in line to put in his vessel hopped into the boat and fiddled around before making sure the outboard was all okay. This lead to an external check of his vessel. He then instructed his wife to into the boat and untangle some ropes. He tied the rope onto front of his vessel and began backwards winding his boat. Throughout this whole process he continued talking to his mate. He finally managed push his boat into another boat before launching.

Fair dinkum. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it. This all took about 10 minutes and with the exception of putting the wife in the boat and pushing into the other one it all could have been done somewhere else. Please be more considerate of other people to prevent cases of ramp rage.

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