Fishing still firing in winter
  |  First Published: July 2009

The water temperature in August here in Weipa is at its coldest at this time of the year. While this isn’t the ideal situation in the estuaries there has still been good hauls of fingermark, black jew, mangrove jack and barramundi reported. Offshore fishing has hot with the annual run of Spanish macks really firing up and large schools of longtail tuna filling the bay.

August is a great time of year to chase pelagics such as northern bluefin tuna and Spanish mackerel, and can also produce some excellent bottom fishing. Macks have continued to run rife throughout July, with some great numbers being located close to the coast.

Large bait schools holding up in the bay have attracted these hungry predators, and trolling deep diving lures has produced results. Finding birds working low on the water will help you identify these schools of bait and enjoy some awesome pelagic angling.

Good numbers of school sized large- and small-mouth nannygai and fingermark have also succumbed to well worked soft plastics and squid fished on the bottom. Fishing patches of reef in Weipa is somewhat of a lucky dip, drop your bait to the bottom and you never know what will return to the surface. Dozens of different fish species call these rocky habitats home.

With the drop in water temperature over winter, the barramundi and other estuarine species have become very lazy. The river fishing has become patchy, with some days fishing better than others, but with some fresh live bait and a bit of patience, you will see some good results. Snags and shallow creek mouths have been fishing better than other areas, and a decent run-out tide also seems to get the bait moving and the fish actively feeding.

Moving into September, I expect to see a change in the barramundi fishing. As the water temperature begins to rise, these fish move out to the salt water to begin breeding. Fishing rocky headlands and areas closer to the river mouth will produce some great specimens, both on shallow diving lures and live mullet.

Threadfin or king salmon will also be found patrolling these areas and make for a great meal after a big day in the sun, especially with the closure of the barramundi season fast approaching.

If you do happen to accidentally capture a barra during this season, you must unhook and release the fish as quickly as possible and with as little disturbance as possible, to allow these magnificent fish to return to the wild and continue breeding.

Until next month, tight lines and happy fishing!

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