Fish friendly weather
  |  First Published: July 2009

Mixed results in the estuaries over the past month have been a little frustrating. One week we are catching top fish including some metre long barras and the next it’s hard to get to the fish to bite thanks to an inundation of bull sharks and big whalers.

When the sharks show up most fish in the estuary seem to go into a wary mode, then when you do get them to bite they get nailed on the way in. Luckily the sharks only hang around for about a week and then they are gone out to sea again. When the sharks do turn up, there are other options; we usually target other species like Spaniards and fingermark out around the islands.

The inner shoals and wonky holes have produced some top fish recently with large-mouth nannys to 12kg and some quality bar-cheek trout. Live greenback herring has been working a treat, along with plastics like Bozo Grubs, which have been taken by a few trout.

August Fishing

In August our offshore reefs experience top fishing, with coral trout and red throat the most targeted species. The fish will be a little shallower at this time of year, rather than in the 50m of water like they are in summer. Also if the current slows drop a little berley at each spot before you fish. Remember to limit the fish you take – only take enough to feed the family for while, not a whole year.

As usual the month of August is also the pick of the months for the inshore run of Spaniards. Smaller boat fishers should take advantage of this before they head out to the reef in late September to start their spawn. Cobia and golden trevally also frequent the inshore bays and islands in winter. There have been a few reports from locals of these species trickling in. but the fish are a little late this year, which is most probably due to the delayed winter.

Red Throat Return

This year we have had much better weather with many periods of calm conditions. It seems that we are heading back into the older weather patterns that we experienced some 12 or more years ago. In so far 2009 we had longer summertime conditions and the weather did not start to cool down until mid-June like it used to back then.

It was during these warmer years that the red throat emperor were around in good numbers. In the past decade or more they have been rather scarce, but suddenly this year they are back and in good numbers and size. Changing weather patterns like this have a bearing on how many species behave. In the case of the red throat, they don’t just turn up at full grown lengths they obviously have come back from somewhere else like the deeper waters off the shelf.

I wonder what the slightly warmer waters might hold for our billfish season this year? Either way I don’t think the return of the red throat emperor means the green zones working. Similarly I also don’t believe periodic changes in the climatic patterns have anything to do with climate change, which the greenies are preaching.

DPI Regulations

A reminder to southern visitors: you must clip one pectoral fin on the coral reef fin-fish species that you catch. This was brought in to try to stop the black market but someone forgot to tell the DPI that the black market is mostly fillets, not whole fish and there is nothing that this ruling can do to stop it.

Some visitors that I speak to either aren’t familiar with the rule or just completely forget about it. Either way you don’t want to give the state government any more of your hard earned cash in the way of a fine that is derived from one of the most pathetic and dumb rules ever created.

The DPI has also recently announced the new arrangements for the fin-fish closures for this year. In 2009 they are between 15-19 October and 14-18 November.

If you would like to check out our fishing packages to Hinchinbrook give me a call on 0418 538170.

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