March should be another excellent month for fishing the Whitsundays with comfortable air and water temperatures and active fish in the salt- and freshwater. And there are some interesting techniques for catching a range of popular fish species in the area.
One way of fishing that can be tricky but very fun when successful is called switchbaiting. It is a popular gamefishing technique for large marlin and sailfish, which can also be used for catching big saltwater pelagics such as queenfish and GT on fly.
The technique involves casting large hookless surface lures that attract fish to the lure, which the fish then attack and chase back to the boat. The lure is then pulled from the water and a large fly placed where the lure exited.
It’s a very good way of finding big fish and getting them close to the boat for flyfishing attempts. A large queenfish or trevally is an amazing battle on a fly rod and a very exciting experience!
The gear we can recommend on fish around 15-20kg is a 12wt rod or larger with intermediate line. Any large, chunky flies, such as the Sal-Mul-Mac, create good interest and a leader around 150lb is a good size.
The locations to try this switching technique for GT and queenfish are around standard GT habitats – deep, rocky points with heaps of current flow, and isolated rocks and reefs that rise out of the deep.
When connected, try to lead the fish away from any sharp coral and into the deepwater as this is the safest place for the line!
During March, there will be active barramundi available to catch at Peter Faust Dam during all hours of the day and night. The lake temperatures should be warm and comfortable for the fish to want to feed often.
Flyfishing for barramundi is a challenging style of fishing but extremely exciting when your fly is engulfed by a big fish! Landing a 1m+ barramundi on fly is an ultimate capture in sportfishing and has become more achievable with the stocked impoundments.
Hardbody and soft plastic lures will generally get more bites than flies as the casting distance is much longer and there’s more fish attracting features on a lure. However, flies also have features that most lures don’t, such as very slow sink rates, translucency and a great natural looking profile.
Places that are good to cast flies for impoundment barramundi are around lay down timber near deepwater. A nice-looking bunch of trees that are lying in 3-4m of water near the deep is a prime spot to pepper with a fly.
We have found using lighter lines and leaders will catch more fish. We recently fished around the NSW coast for bream, flathead and luderick using light 4lb fluorocarbon leader and we caught much more fish than the last time we were there, using 10lb leaders.
We now use much lighter lines and leaders around the Whitsundays and get more bites. However, it is easy to go too light up north, as the bigger reef fish and sharp coral can get you busted off. But going as light as you can is the best option.Reads: 5432