Monsoon March
  |  First Published: February 2009

Despite heavy rainfalls in the region and the wettest time of year looming close there are still some bright moments in the angling world for March.

The build up to a big wet and several days after a downpour is when the fishing has offered the best rewards. March is traditionally a very wet period so just hang in there.

Barra catches have definitely been on the increase with the opening of the season. The majority of barra catches have been along the coastline beaches, headlands and just inside some of our river and estuary mouths. It’s no surprise such locations have been fishing well, as a lot of prawns and baitfish have been flushed into these areas. At the height of the tide live baits have been productive, whereas lures have been top notch on the ebb tide.

Days after a big downpour (at least ten inches of rain in 24 hours is considered a downpour here in the tropical north) when salinity levels regain composure have been the most favourable conditions. The Dickson Inlet and Muddy Creek systems recover the quickest after a downpour as they receive the least run-off from our mountainous region. Next to recover are the Mowbray, Mossman and Daintree Rivers as well as Saltwater Creek.

Beaches firing with barra include the stretch of Four Mile Beach around small creek run-offs and the adjacent headland. Cooya, Newell and Wonga Beach have also been fishing well as they hold a high concentration of bait, and so attract the predators. Other species to cash in on the food supply have been tarpon, trevally, queenfish, flathead, jewfish and blue salmon. Low light periods and overcast days with a bit of run-in tides have been the pick.

Reef fishing has become a bit more of a challenge recently especially after a monsoon trough has passed through the region. Fresh water can be dispersed up to 20 miles offshore often shutting down the fishing. Miles of floating debris including trees and monster logs also come in tow of the fresh, making the water a minefield at times where extreme care must be taken.

But the reef has produced some bumper days fishing leading up to the new and full moons and as a low pressure system develops across the region. Escaping fresh water run-off, may entail travelling further north or out wider, is another key element for success on the reef. You'll definitely notice the colour difference in the water between fresh and clean.

Large mouth nannygai have been biting in 30m plus water where there are structures holding bait. These fish have also been very aggressive on the turns of the tide. Mixed have been small mouth nannygai, red emperor, golden trevally, tealeaf trevally and coral and bar cheeked trout. Sweetlip and pink eared emperor should also be around in solid numbers too. There have been quite a few solitary Spanish mackerel caught exceeding 12kg. A live fusilier cannot be knocked back if a razor gang member is in the vicinity.

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