The strong winter pattern of southeasterly winds has continued to prevail, allowing only limited offshore fishing opportunities. This should start to turn around a little this month though as we move into the beginning of what is usually a warmer and lighter pattern of weather heading forward into spring.
For those anglers who have been able to get out offshore, the usual bottom-dwelling suspects have been captured. These have included some quality reds, both nannygai and emperors, in between the reefs. Closer to the reefs, some excellent coral trout have turned up as well.
Locals have enjoyed excellent catches of mackerel, including lesser species and Spaniards, which is to be expected during these prime mackerel months. These highly sought-after fish have been taken using a variety of fishing methods. During bottom fishing sessions for reef species, many anglers have been deploying the tried-and-proven floater rig and have often succeeded in picking up a mackerel or two.
September should continue to be a top month for mackerel and I am looking forward to getting out amongst them. Trolling big baits such as wolf herring continues to be a popular and successful way to target the bigger fish.
Fortunately for those anglers with the smaller boats, who have been thwarted by the strong winds, there has still been plenty of action available inshore within the protected confines of our rivers and estuaries. Some decent catches of mangrove jacks and the odd barra have been made in the local systems including the Cairns Inlet. There have also been some quality queenies and school GTs taken in and around most of the rivers along the local tropical coastline.
Along the northern beaches there are still runs of blue salmon and on the Esplanade flats out from the city there are a few grunter about for the bait fishers. There have been some excellent flathead inside the rivers on the sand bars on the bottom half of the tide as well.
As the water warms up this month I would expect some good fingermark to show up in the deeper holes and gutters of all systems.
I recently headed off on a Gulf trip with some old fishing buddies, including a few old North Queensland mates who have been lost in the Brisbane precincts for way too long. The trip will hold special memories for us all but one of the biggest highlights was mate Jeffrey Holland’s big barra. Jeffrey injured his back on day one but managed to put the pain behind him and troll up the largest barra of the trip. His fish nailed a green 8’ Barra Bait and stretched the tape to 117cm.
I was also amazed at first time barra fisherman Dave Hanby who had never used a baitcaster in his life! He quickly picked up the rudiments of casting and before long was landing barra after barra, including an 80cm specimen caught while casting a B52 around some rocks. I soon forgot Dave was a barra novice and left him to his own devices, and he promptly got done over by a lovely barra courtesy of the outboard leg, and neither fish nor lure was ever seen again. To his credit though, he didn’t get even one bird’s nest for the whole week of fishing.
The most memorable occasion for me was catching a barra with my bare hands. It appeared to be swimming alongside a branch but was actually completely snagged up by a mono leader attached to a brand new RMG Scorpion. Can you believe it, the guy who had lost the barra and lure the day before (Schwilky) actually wanted the lure returned to him. Eventually my good nature took over and I complied… I’m still waiting on the stubby though!
Until next month, good fishing.Reads: 904