Gettin’ Jigging With it
  |  First Published: September 2009

We have done several jigging trips in the past month and have had some outstanding results!

When it comes to using deep-water plastics the trick is to jiggle it, just a little bit. I think the Bozo mullet patterns work the bests at jigging. These garlic-scented, hardwearing plastics are designed to cop the punishment that our tropical nasties can deliver.

On one recent trip I had one lure which caught four scarlet sea perch to 12kg, five gold spot cod and five trout to 5kg before the lure was knackered.

Jigging is a fun way to fish and it’s growing in popularity up in the north, so much so we have been offering jigging charters as part of our services.

On another jigging trip with fellow guide, Eddie Riddle from Townsville, we managed some 50 fish between two boats jigging the deepwater headlands off Hinchinbrook. Dr Ian Davies and his fellow dental colleagues had a ball catching GT, queenies, big fingermark and coral trout and now can’t wait to get back up for more.

Early reports point to a good billfish tournament this month. Mick Edwards from Moonshine Charters raised seven black marlin out the back of Otter Reef on one recent trip. I have also seen some free jumping blacks just wide of Eva Island while on charter.

We also witnessed billfish feeding on bait schools off Mission Beach while on a social trip out to the reef

While we didn’t stop to play with the billies, we sure had some fun at the reef getting our bag limit in the first two spots. The coral trout just went berserk, especially in the shallows, and I lost count of how many we let go.

There was also some magnificent barramundi cod caught and released, as they are now on the protected species list. Make sure you’re familiar with the rules when fishing up north.

Barra fishing in the past month has been a little scratchy, but has just started to pick up again and with the onset of October I would expect them to fire right up.

October is generally the best month of the year for barra, as all the oceanic fish are coming back in from their winter hideaways getting ready for their summer run.

Another species that will fire up in October is the golden grunter. A good place to start looking is the drop-offs around Gould and Garden islands, as well as the rubble pads in Missionary Bay and Cape Richards.

I generally use either fresh squid or live greenback herring for bait when targeting grunter. Last year we discovered pilchards are a top bait for them too.

As the weather warms many changes do occur with fish and their habits. The fingermark and jacks will improve their performance over the coming summer and the Spaniards will move offshore to spawn and spread out until next winter when they will aggregate inshore again.

Many of our reef species will head for deeper waters too. Coral trout are often caught in the shallows during winter but the larger fish will head out into 40-50m.

In summer anglers also often capture large reef jacks up to 10kg, predominately at night. These fish look awesome but are quite easily confused with red bass, which is now a no-take species.

Consequently many anglers have either thrown them back thinking that they are a bass, or worse, they have taken home a red bass, which is known for ciguatera poisoning, thinking it was a jack.

Once again be a little wary when fishing up here, as you don’t want a dose of ciguatera or a fine for mistaking a fishes identity.

If you would like to come up and jiggle it on a jigging charter give us a call on 0418538170 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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