King Salmon Cut Loose
  |  First Published: November 2005

The summer winds have found their way to the Southern Gulf, unfortunately bringing with them dirty water, big tides, box jellyfish and humidity.

As expected, the black jewies have arrived in the river and boaters have experienced some good fishing. Beach fishermen who have spent some time fishing the deep water situated just off the beach at Karumba Point have had success with jewfish and salmon.

King salmon have started to show up in the river. They are eagerly awaited at this time of year because they are a challenging sportfish and are also great on the table. Anglers fishing livebaits during the start of the run-in tide on the shallow flats have taken some good fish. Another way to target these fish, especially in really dirty water, is by using mullet fillet instead of live mullet.

Some good fish have also been taken at night by anglers fishing the edge of the light that is cast by the numerous wharves in the Norman River. King and blue salmon become quite voracious as the bait is forced along with the strong current, and they are a viable target on surface lures and fly gear. Hooking a big threadfin or blue salmon on an 8wt in strong current is great fun.

Big barra also hunt the edge of the light as the tide strength drops a little. Be aware though that the changing trends in security have now reached Karumba and there is an exclusion zone around several of the wharves in the river as part of the Port Security Plan. The zone is signed and if you are found inside it you will be asked to leave.

What to expect this month

Black jewfish will still be on the go, and king and blue salmon will be following the bait up the river every night. In previous years there has been a good run of prawns in the river at this time, with plenty of casting producing decent catches of prawn cutlets. Crabs should also be making their way into the Norman River.

Watch your pots

Crab pots are silent killers when discarded, lost or not checked for an extended period. It is a vicious circle: pot catches crab, crab dies, crab attracts fish, fish dies and attracts crab again. Newer model crab pots with orange or blue scallop mesh are great, however they don’t rust out and continue to catch various animals for a long time. Here are some simple rules to help you hang on to your crab pots.

1. Remember where you put your pots. If possible, use a GPS to mark the first in a run of pots, as a lot of creeks in this area look exactly the same. If you put your pots in deep water, make sure the tides are small.

2. Use adequate floats on your pots. If you use half a cubic metre of Styrofoam on a small collapsible crab pot, they will simply float away.

3. Make your floats out of something pretty tough. I have plenty of floats at home with croc teeth marks in them – perhaps they mistake them for water birds.

4. Add some weight to your crab pot with a house brick or alternatively, tie the pot to a tree branch. This will stop big tides from rolling your pots along the bottom.

5. Don’t put your pots way up a creek at high tide and expect to get them on the low tide the next morning before you go home. We have 12-hour tides here in the Gulf and a lot of pots are left behind when the owner doesn’t have time to return to them.

King salmon fight well and are delicious eating.

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