Hot Beach Fishing
  |  First Published: December 2008

Regardless of what other predictions we make for December up in the tropics, there is one thing we can be sure of. It is going to be damn hot and more than likely just as humid. Although it is comforting to know while other people are out paying for a sauna in colder climes, we are getting ours free.

December is a month where turmoil is always beckoning. If it’s not the heat and humidity, then the constant rumbling of distant storms over Cape York and the ever present threat of cyclones brewing in the Coral Sea make it a month to keep on your toes.

Getting all the words of warning out early, other perils in December will more than likely come in the form of dehydration, a high density of box jellyfish and the occasional lightning storm shimmying around place.

Do not be alarmed fellow fishing enthusiasts. All of this is but a small price to pay for some fantastic fishing potential, albeit snuck into some huge tides and consistent afternoon onshore sea breezes. The trick to December will be covering ground until you find feeding fish and make the most of the situation.

Every afternoon in the December tide guide is punctuated by a high somewhere in the afternoon. Somewhere between 2.1m and 3m will mean there is far more water for those sneaky fish to be swimming in. This makes it potentially more difficult for anglers to locate feeding fish but when they are located, some champagne fishing is in order.

Threadfin salmon, queenfish, mangrove jack and barramundi (which must be released) make their way right up into the shallow mangrove margins and can be extracted with accurate casts and shallow diving lures, flies and plastics.

If the afternoon sea breeze has kicked into gear, find a likely looking lee shore, preferably with a shallow gutter running parallel to the mangroves and begin drifting. Be sure to remain as far from the bank as accurate casting will allow and work your lures out of structure, all the way back to the boat. If a strike is registered, drop the pick quietly over the side and make repeated casts.

Fish will hold well out from cover this time of year and it can be truly surprising when a hot bite gets underway in a seemingly desolate patch of sand. Look for depths between 2-6ft for best results with jack, barra and threadfin salmon.

A tide change late in the afternoon is eagerly awaited in December. If a high of around 2.3m is followed by a descent run-out tide, casting small poppers around the creek mouths can be dynamite as the light fades. Mullet, sardines, garfish and prawns will spill out in the warm, turbid waters of these small creeks and the predators will line up around snags and current lines at the mouth for an easy feed.

Fishing the shallow reefs and points out along the coast are a real early morning affair this time of year. Besides the calmer conditions promised by an early start, the turbid water left behind from the previous afternoon sea breeze will usually be that slight bit clearer. This provides opportunities to troll and cast for fingermark, cod, mangrove jack, coral trout and blue-bone.

Floating lures are a must as any snags or fish that find the rocks provide a chance to get your lure back. Be sure to double back and check for lures as rock and fish alike will often liberate seemingly snagged lures.

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