Winter Wet Wows
  |  First Published: April 2009

The wet was just the beginning the north needed.

The signs of a good winter have been hard to miss: schools of doggie mackerel at West Point and the shipping channel markers at the end of March, and large banana prawns on the beaches and creeks in early April. And big reds and Spaniards on the shoals all point to a great winter season ahead.

The only downside to May is the possibility of strong winds and restricted fishing. The standard answer is to fish the creeks, but you still have to get out of the wind. I find that the fishing is always better in the creeks if you have very little or no wind.

When it’s blowing 20-30 knots try to find a pocket of protected water. Look for areas around bends or along high banks, obviously you then need to sound around and find the fish but you should find you have a better chance of getting them to bite as opposed to fishing open areas. Deeper creeks like Crocodile, Alligator or Morrisseys will fish better because of the availability of cleaner water in the upper reaches of the waterway.

For land-based anglers stuck on the banks look for areas that have the wind at your back as you’re fishing, and hopefully some wind protection. A couple of good examples of this are Balgal Beach boat ramp and Dungeness boat ramp. Both spots have southeasterlies blowing on your back and also have buildings and high banks, and the water is protected enough not to shut down the fishing completely. There is a huge range of areas available to the land-based fisher so it’s a matter of taking a drive and finding them.

One of my favourite fishing styles during high wind periods is chasing sooties. The Burdekin River west of Townsville is a personal favourite for ease of access and the great fishing on offer. Sooty grunter are an aggressive little fish that will hit lures regularly and if the wild figs are in fruit on the banks any red lure with a fat body like a little fig will prove irresistible to them.

If you happen to camp on the river overnight look for some fresh pig diggings as they will show you where there is an abundance of earthworms. As soon as the sun goes down large eel-tailed catfish feed and fresh worms are the best way to catch sooties. It’s also worth mentioning the red claw that can be found in the Burdekin River and any number of baits will a catch a feed but my favourite (socially unacceptable or not) is still fresh kangaroo.

If we get a period of flat windless days now is the time to check out the beaches as schools of whiting, flathead and winter bream will be starting to make their presence felt on the yabby banks. Like any other form of fishing the key is research. Go down to the area you intend fishing and look for yabby banks and hopefully they will have some flathead around the edges, which mean you could have found your own little fishing paradise.

Beach fishing in the north tide is dependant, as we have no swell to dig out deep gutters, on an incoming tide that covers the spot that should put you on the money. As always fresh or live bait from the beach your about to fish is the best way to go. Check out your local tackle store to find out what’s available for collecting bait on the beach in your area.

The only reason I haven’t mentioned anything about blue water fishing this month is because on the May Day long weekend Townsville’s richest fishing competition will be hosted by the Townsville Game Fishing Club. In the past a few mates have accused me of giving away their secret spot and cost them the win. Although with that said and the amount of bait out in the blue water you can bet tuna and mackerel will be an easy target for any boat heading offshore. While the reef boys will find big trout and reds the further out they head, places like Faraday or Pith reefs will see plenty of boat traffic if the weather allows.

So next month I can give you a full run down on who won what and where they were caught to keep regulars happy.

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