Pelagics Continue to Fire
  |  First Published: August 2006

One of the benefits of the great 2005-2006 wet has been the increase in pelagic activity in the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria.

The smaller mackerel species such as spotties and grey mackerel have been in and around Karumba in plague proportions and have been suckers for a jigged metal slice. There have been a few smaller versions but plenty of good sized ones as well. The longtail tuna have also been popping up in schools offshore and at times have been remarkably close to the mouth of the Norman River making for some great light tackle fishing and great sashimi and sushi meals.

The Spanish mackerel turned up on the dark making moon in July but disappeared as quickly as they arrived.The big queenfish have been patrolling the outside edge of the Sand Island have thinned out a little.

The grunter fishing out front has been slow, which is good for the fish population. There are so many boats in Karumba that when the grunter school up they get absolutely flogged, which was the case when the fish moved into the river. It is an amazing sight to see when you round the bend of the river before the powerlines and see 100+ boats packed together waiting for an unlucky grunter. The little boats always look like porcupines with 4 or 5 baits out. If a boat catches a couple in a row then the others will muscle up for a new position. It’s like watching seagulls at the beach fighting over a hot chip and while it is amusing, it’s a shame that the grunter get flogged so severely.

There have been a few nice fingermark around out wide, which can be taken on soft plastics or by trolling deep diving lures in and around the schools of fish. A few barra have been turning up on days that are nice and warm. A few of the fish will be fat, which must make them fight harder – a couple caught the other day jumped higher out of the water than their summer caught companions. Whatever the reason is. there is no argument here.

What to expect

August in the Gulf should see the blue salmon come on in numbers as they gather to breed at the mouths of the rivers. These fish are an easy target for anglers as they eat a variety of baits such as live and dead mullet, prawns, squid and pilchards – and when they are in the mood they certainly bite well.

The big GTs and queenfish should be all but gone. Spanish mackerel should still be around in enough numbers for them to be targeted. The barra will start to wake from their slumber and on the warmer days they should be a real proposition on lures and livebaits.

The northwesterlies should start to pump and ruin a few afternoons fishing for the smaller boats.

A little Crocodile reminder

With the weather warming up, it’s time for a reminder about crocodile safety. A 6’ freshwater croc decided to make a little waterhole behind Karumba State School his home recently, only 40m from the preschool. It’s a good reminder that any waterhole with a food supply (waterfowl, not preschoolers) even if it is a fair way from the river proper is a potential home for a crocodile. Thankfully this story had a happy ending with officers from Environment and Heritage moving the reptilian on.

New Live Fibre Rods

L.Wilson & Co. are launching a new range of barra rods at the Gold Coast Trade Tackle Trade show in August. The Territory Barra range are single and double handed baitcaster rods created on Hi Modulus medium taper graphite blanks with a huge power to weight ratio and are fully Fuji equipped and turned out with cork grips. I have had the pleasure of giving the rods a bit of a test and have found them to be absolute crackers in the short time I have had with them. The 6kg version throws a Tilsan Barra lure out of sight and is ultra sensitive so you can feel every little bit through the braided line but still have plenty of muscle belt fish out of a snag. The 8kg rod is a lethal weapon for trolling big lures and jigging Prawnstars and soft plastic lures in and around the snags.

Enforcement Action

Several vessels over the last couple of months have been issued Marine Infringement Notices for failing to have the appropriate lighting when being operated before daylight and after dark. There have also been a few unregistered vessels intercepted and more infringement notices were handed out for having out of date flares and EPIRBs. There are some important safety issues in all of those offences, which really amount to common sense rather than bad luck of being caught.

Idiot of the month

August’s award belongs to the angler who was fishing on the outside of the Sand Island for mackerel and using pieces of polystyrene for floats. This is a problem every year and it’s always disturbing to find bits of foam or some party balloons, but this time I found a plastic bag full of blocks of foam ready to go floating away on the tide. Not only does this moron use the foam, he can’t even keep it in the boat. Disgraceful!

Good work mate for being tighter than the underside piece of a fish’s anatomy.

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