Silly Season Arrives
  |  First Published: December 2006

Back to the silly season again. In Townsville this means stinking hot days, flat seas and overflowing boat ramp car parks. But the fishing is nearly always worth the extra early starts to get a shot at a park.

The reefs closet to Townsville such as Keeper, Lodestone and John Brewer should all hold good numbers of trout and red-throat so try fishing on the sand patches close to the bombies on the reef flats. For bigger fish look for coral 30m from the edge of the reef platforms. Live baits or slabs of unwanted fish like trevally make great baits for reef fishing but my personally favourite is the humble pilchard.

Most people fish either a standard running rig or a paternoster rig my advice is to try both and the rig that catches the most fish on any given day is the one to use.

If you’re in the mood for some pure sport fishing and not really interested in a feed now is the time to start chucking a few extra large poppers around. Queenfish and trevally will school up and follow the bait around the inshore headlands and bombies in December. Neither of these fish can resist a popper busting up the surface. Even the strike alone is worth the effort with out actually hooking up as you get to see the fish hit your lure.

Salamander Reef just off Cape Cleveland is my favourite while Orchard Rocks have also given us some great sessions during previous hot, stormy summers. If you’re prepared to travel a little the Palm Island group to the north have some fantastic flats, bombies and rocks for poppering.

When working the Palm Island area you can also add coral trout into the mixed bag available over there. If you have never ventured over to Palm, it’s well worth the trip for the scenery alone. Be aware that the shallow coral flats that house the fish that we’re chasing also tend to love props. It’s also a good idea to look at the green zone maps before and during the trip.

This month marks the last of the coral reef finfish closures and again fingermark have been one of the saving graces for our fisheries. Big fingers love to feed around the dark moon on live baits especially live squid. Recently, there have been some great fish caught and most people are releasing the larger breeding females to protect the future stocks.

There is an inshore finfish plan that will come into place around November next year. Back in October, Fisheries held a consultation process to gather ideas and thoughts and apparently the questionnaire regarding the proposed changes would be released early next year. To get a copy sent to you shoot an email to Qld DPI&F as only those attending the meetings will be sent a copy. If you think this won’t affect you or that someone else will do it – think again!

All creek and inshore fish are under review and the World Wildlife Fund and the Commercial Fisherman’s Association of Australia will be playing a large part in the judgement process. If that is not enough to scare you into action, how about the argument that cast nets need to be banned to protect juvenile fish stocks yet bait netters and prawn trawlers can continue to kill juvenile fish caught in their nets. What about gill netters wanting the bans lifted from yellow zones on the coast so they can get back on the flats?

There are so many more concerning issues that have been raised I could fill this whole column and some, so if you still think it won’t affect you do nothing! But if you want a say or just need to know what’s going on please get off your backside and find out because once it is law it’s here to stay!

Thanks to all the readers, writers and staff that make this mag as great as it is. Merry Christmas and good fishing for 2007!

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