When all else fails…enjoy the whales!
  |  First Published: September 2008

The warmer weather will return this month and should provide some hot fishing action as we head into one of the prime fishing months on the angling calendar. The strong southeasterly winds that have ruined many fishing opportunities will also start to ease and give us more quality fishing time on the water.

Recently we were blessed with a couple of calm weather weekends in a row and small boat owners really took advantage of the chance to get amongst the mackerel and trout. Every local boat ramp was ‘chockers’ and unfortunately, as is often the case, the fish were not fully in feeding mode and the catches were patchy and poor.

I have been fishing the islands out from Russell Heads for well over 20 years and on one recent weekend I was blown away by the amount of boating traffic in the area. I was really thinking that the good old days were well and truly gone as I counted over 40 boats fishing one of my favourite spots. It is probably a sign of the future growth of Cairns and a concept that I need to get used to – sharing paradise. On this occasion however only a couple of mackerel were caught by the ‘fleet’ throughout the whole day.

In other local fishing reports the news from the bottom fishers on the local reefs have been patchy with very few finding quality trout and reds in the numbers they would have liked.

As the weather is holding, I took advantage and followed up the following weekend and captured myself a nice Spaniard in the first ten minutes of my fishing – but mine was one of the few. It seems the mackerel we so eagerly chase at this time of year were not there in numbers and despite using several tactics, including a variety of trolled baits and lures as well as drifting some irresistible offerings, the mackerel were just not committed to feeding.

I have had many fishing trips where I have caught something on my first run or cast and then searched virtually the whole day looking for a follow up fish. That Sunday was one of those days! The slow fishing was broken up by the welcome sight of some massive humpback whales performing an incredible aerobatic display. Over the years there seems to be more and more sightings of the whales in quite close to shore in local waters and it proved to be the highlight of the day.

This month should really provide some excellent mackerel action as conditions are forecasted to be ideal. There should also be a considerable improvement fishing for trout and nannygai.

Inshore fishing will also be in a prime state this month as the local barra, fingermark and jack population begin feeding more consistently with the warmer water sparking up their activity levels. The rivers will be ideal for queenfish action and I highly recommend targetting them if you are looking for some damn good fun on light tackle spin gear. Working surface poppers around the sand bars of the local river mouths on an afternoon run-in tide would be a great option for these spectacular sportfish.

The Cape Trip

I recently returned from our annual barra trip up the cape with some fishing buddies, and we had a ball. The barra were in good supply, but only one member of our group, Peter Atwell, encountered the usual number of big fish. Peter caught four barra over the metre mark – nice work, Pete!

This rest of us had to be satisfied with catching a stack of fish, including some nice king salmon and under 80cm barra. Ben Solly had one of his best ever trips and caught some top barras, including a good fish of 98cm. The lime green colours were the most successful, particularly in the 8” barra baits, and for shallow trolling the 1m RMG worked a treat.

Ben Solly was very pleased with this excellent barramundi of 98cm. The barra was taken trolling shallow water with a 1m RMG in Aussie gold colour.

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