We have now seen the mass exit of all the southerners as the humidity and temperature rose, leaving just us hardy locals and some keen fishers not afraid of the heat.
October was a great month for fishing with some nice catches of grunter and king salmon out the front despite the strong winds and dust. The winds blew hard enough to take half a metre off the top of the tide so that when some people thought they had enough water to come back past the tavern they ended up high and dry. This can happen when the winds blow from the south for a period of time, so be warned.
November is definitely here with 15-20 knot wind, temperatures in the high thirties and 95% humidity. The storms start to show up towards the end of the month, which add the finishing touches to an unfriendly setup for fishing.
The best way to go in these conditions is to sit on a deep hole in the river from two hours before low tide until two hours past. Have plenty of shade and water and remember to keep drinking. Black jew are the target and they love to get active when the current stops. A big piece of squid or mullet on a 7/0 hook placed in the bottom of the hole will usually get them to bite but remember that they are timid feeders so do wait before striking to allow them to swallow the bait
Do not forget your crab pots as this is a good time to chase mud crabs. Make sure you have correctly marked both your pots and your floats so you don’t cop a fine. Place your pots along the mangroves and space them out approximately 200m apart. You will need to move them around to find the crabs but they sure are good eating so it is worth the effort.
Well, all good things come to an end – but it is only the end of the tourist fishing season on Sweers. The resort will be open again after the cyclone season and hopefully after a big wet like last year!
Now is when the locals get a chance to wet a line and the fish take timeout to spawn. With several months every year of extremely limited fishing, they can make whoopee virtually undisturbed.
Last year’s big wet may or may not have had any impact on the fishing, but it was a very good season for the area, with quite a few scarlet sea perch and larger than usual Venus tuskfish.
The Spanish mackerel record last season was smashed when Canberra couple Gary and Debbie Collier brought in a 27kg monster – Deb hooked it and hubbie helped land it, what a perfect marriage! Last year’s winner, Doug Peachy, came back for another go and he was presented with his engraved trophy and his name will go on the perpetual trophy, along with the Colliers.
The mackerel season runs from late April through to early August, and remember to bring heavy gear for this gamefish of the Gulf.
As expected, the barra came on the bite towards the end of the season, giving latecomers a chance to target this iconic species before the local closure period.
All in all, another great year on Sweers! See you after the wet! ‑ Lyn BattleReads: 994