Changeover month provides top fishing
  |  First Published: October 2006

October is one of my favourite months for fishing in TNQ. It’s the changeover period between winter and summer species and nearly all of them will be feeding.

This means that mixed bags are the norm rather than the exception. Smart anglers will have a range of baits and rigs set up ready to go for every possible scenario. This may mean that while chasing fish in the creeks you have mud and greenback herring, prawns and large mullet or whiting for bait. Rods should be pre-rigged with a paternoster, dropper, running and even drifting rigs.

This will allow you to cover a wide range of options from bottom bashing snags on the dropper rigs to casting unweighted live prawns and feeding salmon on the flats or as they cruise up the creeks with the tide. We use running rigs for big livebaits fished just off the structure for large predators that hunt around these areas.

Offshore fishing can be just as diverse so try floating pilchards astern while bottom bouncing or rigging metal slices for the bait schools or tuna on the surface. Any of these situations could occur in October so it pays to be prepared for everything.

In late August the weather gods were smiling with plenty of five knots days, calm seas and hungry fish. This has been the big break in the weather we have all prayed for.

The bluewater boats are having a ball with reports of 30 marlin raised in one day, double figures of Spanish mackerel and cobia and that’s not even mentioning the bottom fishing. Regular trips to the Magnetic island shoals have rewarded anglers with big numbers of coral trout to 7.5kg, 10kg+ red emperor as well as trevally, blackall, sweetlip and extra large gold-spot cod. These mixed bags have kept most anglers happy and visitors asking why they had no idea that this kind of fishing was possible out of Townsville.

Some of the larger tides last month have meant most of the smaller and shallower creeks have changed with snags dislodged and in rare cases some have even been left barren of fish holding structure. This has happened to my favourite little creek and it is no longer worth a visit. So it is really worth getting to know the larger systems around Townsville to consistently catch good fish.

Inside Cleveland Bay are Alligator and Crocodile creeks. These are reasonably large systems that always have structure to hold fish all year round. It is always possible to catch salmon and grunter on the top of the tide then barra and jacks on the bottom of the tide when the water temperatures vary through this spring period.

Just remember that unless you access the boat ramp at Cleveland palms you are going to have to travel over the bay to gain access, so keep an eye on the local weather charts.

Two of the better systems to the north of Townsville worth getting to know are the Bohle River and Cattle Creek. The Bohle has easy access from Bushland Beach and as a result is fished pretty hard while Cattle Creek is only accessed by sea and again weather will dictate how often you can fish here.

Both are known for their big barra but more people have come home fishless than those who come up with the goods. Learning when to fish each spot you find and keeping a close eye on your sounder for where fish are held up each time will help.

There are no hard and fast rules so don’t be scared to try something different. If it doesn’t work you’ve at least gained experience.

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