Fire on the Water
  |  First Published: December 2008

The wet season is now well and truly underway in the tropical north, and the temperature is not the only thing that is extremely hot.

Last year went out with a bang on the water. Catches of large barramundi, king salmon and black jewfish kept everybody busy up the creeks. Offshore GT, fingermark, Spanish mackerel and longtail tuna accounted for some awesome bluewater action.

Barramundi have been almost impossible to avoid in the estuaries and coastlines of Weipa. But please remember it is closed season for barra until February so give these great fish a chance to breed and don’t deliberately target them.

King salmon have also been located in some typical barra haunts and make for a great feed after a days fishing.

The channel markers have been producing some great fish. Fingermark and GT have fallen to soft plastics and live baits. Spanish macks and queenfish have also been captured while trolling the area with mid to deep diving lures. The highlight of late on the pylons was an impressive 1.35m black jew, which was taken on a live mullet.

The reefs off Weipa’s coastline have been producing some consistent results, with some great fingermark taken on soft plastics and squid. I have been fishing 7” Berkley Gulp plastics with a 1oz jighead, and these little beauties seem to be working very well. Alternatively, Bozo lures make some great shad lures in a 5” model, which also entice these tasty predators.

Longtail tuna are here in numbers, and although they are quite skittish, catching one or two off each school is quite common. Tuna are currently feeding on small white baits, so casting a small metal jig of around 40-50g has produced best results.

Giant, bludger and golden trevally have also been a common encounter. Large schools hanging under the boats have allowed fly fisherman to capture these otherwise difficult-to-target fish. Large metal jigs, soft plastics and poppers have produced best results, but when trevally are hungry they will eat just about anything you throw at them.

As we enter a new year of fishing, I expect to see plenty more exciting offshore action in Weipa. January is generally a very wet month for us, which does tend to make river fishing very difficult. Expect to encounter great sized fingermark while fishing reef structure with plastics or squid on the bottom. Fingermark are one of the best eating fish in the ocean, and also one of the slowest growing. For this reason it is very important that you only take what you need, as it does take a long time for these magnificent fish to recover stocks.

Red emperor, nannygai and the endless list of trevally species will also be found while fishing offshore. Trolling bait patches will be the best bet for turning up those pelagic species such as Spanish macks and tuna. Whatever you do in January, try to be home early and keep a good eye on prevailing weather conditions.

Tight lines!

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