Prime time to wet a line
  |  First Published: September 2009

October is often a great month for fishing in the Whitsundays with a variety of fun and productive options in the salt- and freshwater.

The temperatures should be gradually getting warmer this month and if the weather is favourable there should be some excellent fishing available.

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are a truly amazing place to visit. The group is made up of 74 islands and many of these boast towering pine trees, fringed with crystal clear, sandy beaches and vast coral-lined edges.

The islands are home to an incredible amount of fish-holding structure and have endless, promising fish locations. Having access to a boat in this area the ideal way to travel and fish the many unique islands.

Queenfish are a great fish to start searching for around the islands. These fish are an entertaining sportfish and will eagerly chase and strike baitfish on the surface, which make surface lures perfect tackle for these speedsters.

The first challenge is to find them. Queenfish will hunt around deep areas with lots of structure such as rocks and reef. They are also partial to hunting in bait-filled shallows and anywhere there is a large drop-off into the deep water, queenfish should be nearby.

To improve the look of a surface lure for queenfish tie and super glue some feathers to the rear treble of the lure. This modification gives the lure a more natural look in the water making the back of the lure look like the tail of a moving baitfish.

Other targets that will be great to fish for around the islands include big reef fish such as coral trout, emperor and sweetlip. These fish should be fun to catch around the islands’ many reef edges and will readily strike plastics and small topwater lures retrieved over and through the coral.

Saltwater Inshore waters

Like queenfish, big GT should be a very productive target around the islands but can also be caught in the shallows of inshore waters.

We recently had a good session casting plastics and small surface lures from the shore in a shallow inshore bay.

We’d caught some nice grunter, flathead and bream using Squidgy Lobby plastics on light TT jigheads in ultra shallow water. There was a large school of garfish just out from where we were fishing on dead low tide.

The garfish were under constant attack from very small trevally and were nervously moving around on the surface. All of a sudden a very big GT came in and chased the bait, making the garfish and small GT leap out of the water.

Armed with a small Fireblood 1000 reel on a Millerod BreamBuster rod we tied on a small surface lure and cast it out into the vicinity. As the lure sped back in it was inhaled by the GT and it started cruising out over the shallows.

A few minutes later, after almost getting spooled several times and wading out to clear the line from the reef, the estimated 20kg GT finally wore through the 10lb leader and escaped.

After this, we had another couple of strikes from GT around the same size in the shallows so don’t rule out very shallow water when targeting these fish.

This can be a good technique if you don’t have a boat and can often provide a range of fish from small sweetlip to large queenfish and trevally.

Peter Faust Dam

October is usually a good time of year to fish the barramundi impoundments, one of which is Peter Faust Dam.

A lot of barramundi should be active and willing to eat over October with some days being better than others in terms of fishing action.

The fishing might be a little sporadic, as the fish’s mood, hunger and behaviour are results of the weather, water temperature and other variables which might not have settled into typical summer conditions yet.

But even if the fishing is tough if you’re switched on, confident and ready to put in time to search for fish then you’re going to catch them in almost all conditions!

Topwater fishing should be a good choice for this time of year, especially in the morning or afternoon. A big strike on a surface lure has to be the most exhilarating way of getting a bite from a barramundi!

Topwater lures seem to have an average hook-up rate, so if you do get a strike and miss the fish, casting a soft plastic back into the exact area can produce another strike from the same fish.

We’ve experienced this many times while topwater fishing and this has produced a landed fish rather than just a strike. They don’t always come back for a second bite though, meaning they’ve probably felt the unnaturalness of the lure or don’t like something they’ve touched such as a sharp hook!

All proven techniques for barramundi should be worth trying in October and even experiment with your own – you never know what you might find!

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