BY NOW, those of you in southern Queensland climes are thinking of thick socks, heavy coats and indoor heaters. By contrast, those of us up here in the tropics are revelling in the balmy breezes of the southeast trades, and we’re dressed up in our finest T-shirts and sandals.
Members of the so-called ‘grey army’ are well aware of this, and the roads at this time of year are packed with caravans – all heading north. The more adventurous holidayers in that mob, along with other adventurers of all ages, are hitting the dirt and corrugations and making for the more out-of-the-way destinations like Weipa.
June is certainly a great time to sample the fishing in this area. The water in the rivers has started to cool but not enough to slow the activity of the barramundi, jacks and salmon by too much. The larger tides will continue to produce above average catches.
When the trades aren’t too strong the offshore scene in June traditionally continues in overdrive mode, sometimes into early July. Fishing yourself to a standstill on longtails, queenfish, mackerel and trevally can happen regularly when the winds are down. Pelagics can be found well inside the river mouths of the larger estuaries, like the Embley, at this time of year.
Livebait fishers should try mullet, garfish or prawns around the creek mouths and gutters for barramundi, threadfin salmon and grunter on the larger tides. On the smaller tides, fish the deeper holes for fingermark, grunter, trevally and black jew.
If you prefer to cast lures, target the bankside snags while the water is high and then move to the gutter mouths as the tide lowers. The best fishing will happen either side of low water in the shallows along the exposed mud banks using shallow running lures like Bombers, Hookers, Reidy’s B52 and Halco Laser Pros.
The flyfishing at this time of year can be spectacular, particularly around the Embley River mouth and close inshore along the beaches. Large schools of bait can move into that area, attracting longtail tuna, queenfish, golden trevally, cale cale trevally, giant herring and mackerel.
The better fishing usually occurs on the last half of the run-out tide but can often run right through the entire tidal cycle. The beach flats can also provide some excellent sight fishing for barramundi, goldens, queenfish and even snub-nosed dart (permit).
For those who like casting to feeding schools of pelagic fish, there are usually plenty of tuna schools around, from the shipping channel right down to Pera Head. The bait schools will also attract their share of big queenfish, trevally, cobia and mackerel so things can get very hectic at times.
The other option is to troll the shallow reefs with appropriate lures. By appropriate, I mean a lure that travels close to the bottom in a certain area. Where the reef is 4m deep, use a 3-4m model so the lure gets maximum exposure to the reef inhabitants.
So there you have it! There are plenty of ways to enjoy fishing fun in the winter ‘cool’ of the tropics.
1) This big trout was taken while trolling the shallow reefs off Weipa.Reads: 514