Fishing…too dam easy
  |  First Published: April 2009

May marks the end of our long hot summer conditions and is a transitional time in the tropics.

Over the last month, temperatures have dropped to as low as 17ºC on some days. This has created a fishing opportunities as the winds are calm, offering picture-perfect, postcard conditions. The extensive wet season we have had will soon give way to the familiar onset of the trade winds that dominate our shores for months on end with their strong southeasterly wind patterns, which blow right up the Queensland coast line.

What’s been happening

The windy conditions have already put the brakes on many offshore fishing trips, particularly for the weekend warriors. However, there have been some quality fish for the taking when anglers have been able to get out.

Those anglers who have made it out to fish the deepwater between the reefs have been rewarded with quality red emperors and large mouth nannygai. Fishing in close to the reefs there have been some nice coral trout along with the usual by-catch of cod, sweetlip, reef jacks, and rosy jobfish, which should continue.

The Spanish mackerel are also starting to show up more consistently with some real beauties among those captured. This is a great time to chase the Spaniards and this will only get better as we move through May into the prime winter months.


Inshore action has been steady, turning up a few jacks and barras for lure casters along with by-catches of flathead, small GT, and estuary cod. Baitfishing has produced grunter and blue salmon on the flats, a few fingermark in the deepwater and jacks and barras in the snags.

This month there will be some excellent queenfish and GT action arriving in all of the local rivers as conditions settle out for the dry months. Chase the queenfish on the top water on an afternoon rising tide in the vicinity of the river mouth sand bar systems. Use your casting rod to present poppers and soft plastics.

Cairns locals Andrew and Christine Tivey, along with their children, enjoy their boating and fishing and now are having heaps of fun catching fish in their own private lake. The Tiveys decided to stock the dam on their tableland property with about a 100 barramundi fingerlings in January 2008. A previous owner had already stocked the lake back in 2005 with new fingerlings and over the years they have really grown and provided great angling action for the family. Some have even topped out at the magic metre mark.

The dam is about the size of a football field in surface area and according to Andrew hosts thriving populations of bait including mouth almighty, banded grunter, bony bream, perchlet, rainbows and red claw. The barra seem at present to have an endless supply of food and obviously no competing predators or bird life to dent their population and this is reflected in impressive growth rates.

The fingerlings stocked last year are now being captured at lengths of between 47cm and 66cm and are in a very healthy condition. The barra are there ‘on tap’ for whenever someone feels the urge and are becoming quite a handful as they start to really pack on the kilos and length.

As is the case with some impoundments the fish can get a bit ‘gun shy’ and may at times be hard to entice on artificials. Andrew has caught the barras on a variety of lures from hardbody swimming minnows to surface poppers and soft plastics, although currently they have a preference for live rigged mouth almighty.

One night recently while serving himself a cold tinnie from the bar fridge Andrew heard a barra boofing and like any dedicated barra fisherman would do, was able to deploy a casting rod he had strategically placed for such an occasion. As luck would have it, the outfit happened to be already loaded with an X-Rap lure which on the second cast produced a very healthy 99cm barra that was released following a couple of happy angler pics.

Apparently there are some bigger fish in the dam that have straightened hooks and will no doubt be captured soon. If the barra keep growing at this rate, I am sure the Tiveys are going to find they suddenly have a lot of friends wanting to drop in on them hoping to join their magic barramundi metre club.

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