Blues and macks
  |  First Published: August 2004

AUGUST in the Gulf should see the blue salmon come in numbers as they gather to breed at the mouths of the rivers. These fish are partial to a variety of baits such as live and dead mullet, prawns, squid and pilchards, and when the blues are in the mood they certainly bite well. Catches of 20 or so salmon are not uncommon, and these fish make up a good portion of the contents of visitors’ ice boxes and freezers.

The northwesters have already begun to pump and ruin a few afternoons’ fishing for the smaller tinnies. The big GTs and queenfish should be all but gone by the time you read this, but the Spanish mackerel should still be around in numbers enough for them to be targeted. The mud crabs will probably still be patchy, but the good news is that the barra are starting to wake from their slumber. On the warmer days these fish should be a real proposition on lures and livebaits.

What’s been happening

With the water temperature consistently below 20 degrees in the Karumba area the fishing has been patchy, with good results one day and poor results the next. For a couple days in a row the water temp actually got down to 14 degrees. This is the coldest I have seen it for the last six years, and it meant that everything went into hiding – even the catties.

The next week it was over 30 degrees every day and blowing sea breezes. Work that out! It’s been a funny year all round for weather.

The big queenfish that have been patrolling the outside edge of the Sand Island have thinned out. The Spanish mackerel arrived in good numbers at the beginning of the month but dropped off a little towards the end.

A few grunter came on the bite up the river near the powerlines over one set of doubles, which resulted in 80 boats – yes, 80 – fishing in one spot up the river. A long jumper could have crossed the river without getting their feet wet.

Blue salmon are around on the early makes in the dirtier water, but they’ve been patchy.

Berley for success

If you want to improve your success when targeting Spanish mackerel, berley can help attract and hold fish in an area. A berley mix can consist of a variety of things, but one that works for me is a combination of minced pilchards and prawn heads with some bread and dog biscuits. Throw in a few chook pellets and some tuna oil and you’ll end up with a slick behind the boat that could attract anything. What out for the tiger sharks.

Idiot of the month

The coveted award of Idiot of the Month belongs to the several fishermen who were mackerel fishing on the outside of the Sand Island and using pieces of polystyrene and balloons for floats. Every time a fish hit, the blocks of polystyrene broke up from being dragged through the water and the bits happily floated away with the wind and the tide. Not much good for the environment, but I suppose it saves the August Idiots a dollar or two on floats which they could re-use a hundred times. On one afternoon I picked up six different pieces of styro and one balloon. Good work fellas.

Until next month.

1) Big mackerel are still a chance this month at Karumba.

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