The fishing recently has been nothing short of spectacular, with all facets of the sport producing great results for river, reef or game anglers. The transitional stage of the year, between wet to dry, has seen mostly calm days allowing anglers to explore all aquatic options.
On the inshore scene, good water clarity and plenty of bait has seen quality catches of golden trevally, small GT and queenfish. They have all been taken at river or estuary entrances on an incoming tide using live sardines or mud herring. These staple winter species should continue to provide in the coming month, providing the trademark southeasterlies don't stir up the seas too much.
The barra and jacks have slowed down a touch and will be best targeted tossing small lures in pockets amongst fallen snags that offer plenty of sunlight and a warmer water temperature. Freshly fallen mangrove trees are also worth working over, and you'll find these fish along the weed beds of the Daintree and along the coastal mangrove flats.
Now is the time to start using freshly pumped yabbies or freshly peeled prawns to target quality black bream, grunter, permit, dart and flathead. These fish will be active amongst rock walls, mangrove flats and along our beaches. June is also prime time to drop a few crab pots, and the Dickson Inlet and Muddy Creek systems seem to offer better returns on the bigger tides leading into the new and full moons.
For those who venture north for weekend trips, reports from Lakefield National Park have been positive for barra. Even though they will have slowed down considerably, you can still expect to see a few on the chew. For best results fish early morning and late afternoon casting medium diving lures to cover plenty of ground. Concentrate efforts on the banks that offer structure and plenty of sunlight.
The best news of late has come from our reef fishing fleet, which have had enormous success on the outer reefs. The fish have really come on the bite since mid April with an array of species on the march.
Coral trout up to 5kg have been easy pickings on isolated bommies in 25m of water or less. As the days go by they'll be easily sourced in as shallow as 10m of water.
Smallmouth nannygai to 5kg and largemouth nannygai to 10kg have gone into overdrive, and fishing isolated rubble patches and bommies in 40m+ on neapish tides has seen dozens of these fish caught at the one time.
Other species to turn up in droves at various spots have included tealeaf trevally, bludger trevally, spangled emperor and sweetlip. When you throw in the odd bruising reef mangrove jack, cobia and Spanish mackerel caught on a floating presentation, what you have is a really mixed bag of quality reef fish.
June should see the reef fishing continue to produce handsomely and one would expect more Spanish mackerel to move into the area.
One tip if you do source the nannygai on the chew, use some squid along with your pilchard or fish strip. The smell seems to send them crazy and the plus is that it is hard to remove from the hook.
On the gamefishing scene at this time of year, it is all about light tackle 10-15kg stand up gear. Already there have been encounters with small black marlin to 60lb, which have been partial to skipping garfish rigs.
Along with the odd beakie, there are still some yellowfin tuna roaming on the shelf. The open waters between the outer reefs systems have had bonito, juvenile yellowfin tuna, sharky and Spanish mackerel working bait schools, which are congregating around isolated sharp rising spikes from the ocean floor.
As mentioned before, expect to see the Spanish mackerel arrive in more consistent numbers and you can also expect to see spotted and school mackerel appear more regularly.
Presentations above or below the water have received equal attention so it pays to have a varied spread of lures and garfish behind the boat.
It is also a great time to spend efforts targeting GT, which have been quite active amongst bommie systems in around 15m of water. They have been caught retrieving large poppers or trolled up using 190D Halco lures. It is risky fishing in such shallow water and you can be expect to be out-gunned at times but the rewards have been 20kg+ fish.
All the signs are there for a promising month ahead and what style of fishing you choose will be simply dictated by how much wind is around. If the weather is favourable concentrate efforts around the river mouths, headlands and of course the outer reef where the fishing should be on the money.Reads: 787