Fair Fishing for the Willing
  |  First Published: February 2009

As the wet weather continues in the far north, the chances of getting out on the water and having a fish have been greatly reduced. Once the weather clears enough to get out, reports have suggested that the fish have been quite scattered and tough to locate, however, those willing to put in the effort have reported some quality fish.

Fingermark in the 4-5kg range have been found in good numbers when fishing reefs to the south and north of Weipa. The most successful method has been using squid bait fished on the bottom with a simple rig consisting of a 4 bean running sinker above a 7/0 hook.

Plastics have also been producing the goods on these tasty table fish, with the most productive being either a 5” Bozo Mullet or a Berkley Gulp in the 7” shad. The Bozos range of plastics are extremely durable and tend to last much longer on the hook than other plastics, they are well worth having in your tackle box and work on a wide variety of tropical fish species.

When plastic fishing for fingermark, I generally use a 4000 size spin reel fitted to a 6-8kg stick. You need to run a minimum of 20lb braid and a 60lb leader to stop these thugs breaking you off in the reef. Depending on the depth of water and the amount of run, jigheads used for this type of fishing usually range from 1/2-1oz. I have found the TT jigheads rigged with owner hooks to be the most effective.

Catches of cobia and black spot tuskfish have also been common while fishing these reef structures. Both species make for a great fight and fare very well as an eating fish.

Spanish macks have been a little quiet lately, however the bay is now loaded with schools of baitfish so the pelagic action will not be too far away.

The flushing out of the river systems from the monsoonal rain has produced some large trees and logs floating in the bay which provides a whole new angling experience. These logs provide structure for baitfish to hide and in return bring larger predatory fish, generally in the form of tripletail, otherwise known as jumping cod.

Tripletails are amazing fish to catch and will usually fall for a barra lure worked along the log with a slow to medium retrieve. Alternatively, an unweighted bait left to drift under the log will also produce exciting results.

Fishing in March will depend largely on weather and the amount of fresh in the river systems. The bait in the bay should see the return of the longtail tuna and Spanish macks, and I would also expect to see some great size queenfish patrolling the river mouths.

With the return of the southeast tradewinds due anytime this month, I would expect to see the swell disappear and the beaches provide some awesome fishing. Barramundi should be relatively easy to locate, and with the season now open they will be a popular target fish for anglers.

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