Christmas in the North
  |  First Published: December 2008

This years end to the barra season was a little frustrating due to constant 20knot winds and water temperatures about 2ºC below average. In my opinion the water temp seems to get cooler each year, which is why we don’t get many cyclones these days, with the exception of Larry.

Here in Hinchinbrook jack, fingermark and big golden grunter will be the targets in the coming months, during the barra closed season. I might even work on a spot that has some good black jewfish.

Black jewfish are a very rare capture around some of the more populated areas but up here in the far north they are quite often taken by anglers targeting fingermark during summer. I recommend using large live mullet and live squid around deep holes and crevices along the northern end of Hinchinbrook Island. The deeper holes in Missionary Bay creeks as well as the Hinchinbrook channel would also be good areas to start looking for these brutes.

Offshore has seen some good coral trout and nannygai taken by locals and visitors and some good-sized red emperor have also shown up. However in December it is better to fish offshore at night, particularly after a late afternoon thunderstorm. At this time the sea not only flattens out but the fish become rather active as well.

The Mission Beach gamefishing tournament was held again recently and my two good mates Ben Johnston and Jim Byrne were at it again. But unfortunately after dropping a couple of sailfish they came up just short of the winning team on Wombino. The Mission Beach comp turned on spectacular conditions and is always a great social event. With a bit of luck, I might even get to fish it socially next year

Mission Beach is truly one of the most beautiful beaches in the country with spectacular rainforest backdrops and pristine offshore islands. It is also a great access point to the outer Barrier Reef where you can tangle with yellowfin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, and sailfish and even possibly encounter a giant black marlin. The best time of year is August to December and if you are a gamefishing fanatic it would make a great holiday. You can tow your own boat up as the tourist parks cater well for the boaties or you can take a charter, as there are some good operators up this way.

During December the inshore and estuary fishing hots up with the water temperature rising to its yearly maximum. This makes most species very aggressive particularly on the making tides up to both moons, but remember barramundi are out of bounds until February 1 next year. They are quite often an accidental capture this time of year so be sure to release them. You don’t want the penalties involved if the fisheries find one in your esky.

Other fishing restrictions at this stage during December are the coral reef fin-fish closures from the 21-29 December, and yes that is RIGHT THROUGH Christmas. But just hot of the press our state fishery legislators are reviewing the closure over Christmas and may even re-open it. They should have not waited for the hundreds of angry complaints from all sectors of the tourism industry to do review the closure, as it is just common sense that there would be massive financial downturn in Queensland as a result.

During this period you can not take coral trout, red emperor, and many other varieties of offshore species as described by Queensland fisheries in their info pamphlets, even though there are only a couple of species that spawn during this period.

But my best advice for December is to have a happy and safe Christmas on the water and we will catch you again in the New Year.

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