Wish list for summer
  |  First Published: November 2008

There is nothing quite like pushing off from the boat ramp or pontoon and spending some time on the water, especially when you’ve been boat less for almost two years.

Now those readers that have not yet owned their own boat will be saying “so what, deal with it fish from the bank”. While anyone who has had the absolute pleasure of owning their own vessel then had to sell it and again been forced back to the bank will know only too well the heartache of an empty driveway.

I have been able to fish off other people’s boats and while I am grateful for the fishing trips it’s still not the same as being in your boat with your own plan of attack, and being able to fish when/where you want to. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I will shortly be the proud owner of second-hand 6m plate boat. I know this might be boring for some but it’s exciting times ahead at the Jones household.


One of the first trips I intend doing in my new boat will be to chase fingermark. Townsville has one of the best trophy fingermark fisheries on the east coast of Queensland. Live baits are the preferred way to catch these species, and one of the best ways to gather your live bait is with a bait jig.

Night fishing in the tropics allows you to dodge not only the summer heat but also the crowds, if you put the time in finding less popular spots. Places like cape Cleveland, Two Foot, Four Foot and even Sally are going to get plenty of boat traffic as they are easily accessible, but if you head further into the great blue yonder looking for structure of any sort the fingers will not be far away.

Shoals, wrecks, rocks and rubble will all hold good numbers of fingermark in the inshore country. However, the area locally referred to as the Maggie Island shoals are too far out and too deep for fingers, so look for areas within a few miles of the cape or Maggie.

You will need to spend some time on the water sussing out your new secret spot to work out the what/when/how of this new area.


Another trip I plan on making is back over to the palm group of islands chasing trout on poppers. This is one of my favourite fishing techniques.

The coral flats on the seaward side of the Palm Group hold good numbers of trout. On the bigger summer tides you can get right up on these shallow flats and trout seem to respond to poppers better than anything else.

While over there, it is worth mentioning the annual spawning run of Spanish mackerel. The mackerel are making their way to Rib Reef for their annual spawn and they tend to use the Palm Group as a stop over point. Massive schools of Spaniards can be found on the southeastern point of Palm at places like Albino and Chillcott rocks, as well as Paluma and Hayman rock. Be aware that by mid November the Spaniards will disperse for another year so this may be your last chance of a hot session.


Barra are also back on the wish list if only for a few weeks before the annual closure takes place from November 1. The master of the creeks will be the dirty fighting mangrove jack and most creek anglers are keen on these bruisers making it to the top of the wish list.

Hopefully by next month I will be able to show you some of the photos and let you know where the fish are biting.

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