Xmas in the Gulf - what’s in store
  |  First Published: December 2004

As of the beginning of November, the local weather has been looking better than the last couple of years. Isolated showers are putting some green into the situation, but at the same time it stops any idea of driving around.

What’s been happening

With the lack of a big rain for the last couple of years the fishing has been following suit. On the smaller tides there have been a few nice grunter out in the channel along with some remnant blue salmon. As usual, they disappear as soon as the bigger tides arrive and dirty up the water.

There have been a few nice king salmon being caught on the beach on the run-in tide. Live mullet have been good as bait but not essential. Mullet fillets also do the job but attract more catfish.

What’s on the Cards

December sees the start of the big spring tides with little or no respite; even the neaps are on the large side.

If you can find some clean water up on the flats (or anywhere, for that matter) there is a chance that a grunter or blue salmon will be there hunting in the clearer water. Clear water can be found further offshore but the weather gods must be smiling for the ongoing northwesterlies to be light, or for a quick southeasterly change to shoot through. With them, however, come the storms.

King salmon are also prevalent this time of year, and we can expect the numbers to pick up now that all the foreshore set nets will be out of the water for the next couple of months. Live mullet work the best on king salmon but if the water is dirty don’t be afraid to try a fresh strip of mullet. King salmon use all those sensory organs to locate food, and the next time a mullet fillet out-fishes a live mullet in the soup won’t be the last.

Crocodile DANGER

After the tragedy in the Northern Territory earlier in the year at the Finnes River, and the latest crocodile attack at Bathurst Bay in North Queensland, I decided it’s time to remind everyone of the threat of crocodiles in and around all Gulf waterways.

Those three lads were near the water in the Northern Territory in the height of the wet season, and obviously thought they were safe enough to go near the water. Apparently, no large saltwater crocodiles had ever been seen that far up the Finnes River. Well, nobody told the crocodile.

The latest incident, which saw a man plucked from his tent, highlights the fact that just because other people have been there before without incident doesn’t mean the crocodiles have stopped being what they’re designed to be: supreme hunting and killing machines. We are coming into the crocodile breeding season and they’re on the move, fired up and aggressive. Females are protecting the nest and the larger males are protecting the harem.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see any sign of crocodiles, be very cautious. They don’t like boats and will disappear before you see them, but over the next few months anything invading their territory is fair game, and these blokes play for keeps. They spend their entire lives learning to be cunning.

With the incident in North Queensland came the public outcry for more culling. I even heard one politician calling for firearms laws to be relaxed further in North Queensland so people can protect themselves against crocodiles. What a croc of you know what. If a pedestrian gets run over in the middle of a four-lane highway, should we then arm ourselves with guns to shoot all the cars?

The bottom line is this: if we go into a croc’s territory it’s the law of the jungle where the smart shall survive. I can see how the Steve the Crocodile Hunter gets so annoyed with general ignorance in relation to these magnificent reptiles. Crocodiles should be seen as something to be in awe of. They are unchanged from the dinosaur age, and are still top of their food chain with only one real threat. They deserve our respect.

Until next month, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you after the wet.


1) This king salmon was caught casting a lure at a creek mouth.

2) Yes, he is that wide. This is a slide from a croc that lives near Karumba. He is bigger than most of the tinnies that the tourists use and deserves right of way in any situation.

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