December is always one of the warmest times of the year in the Whitsundays. The quality of fishing is usually very good with the warm waters creating lots of fish feeding activity in the saltwater and Peter Faust Dam.
Fish to expect around the saltwater during this month are most of the tropical sportsfish, such as GT, queenfish, golden trevally, tuna, cobia, and mackerel. For the reef species over the islands, expect sweetlip, coral trout, emperor, tuskfish, and for estuary targets in the inshore creeks and rivers you'll find flathead, bream, salmon, fingermark and mangrove jack.
Giant trevally, golden trevally and queenfish should be great fun to catch with luring techniques this month. The Whitsundays holds a huge amount of these fish living and feeding around the islands, creek mouths, rocky headlands, shallow flats and reefs.
These fish love patrolling the shallow sandy flats searching for items to eat. The shallows are prime locations for sportsfish to cruise along hunting baitfish such as herring, mullet, garfish and crustaceans such as crabs and prawns. Large trevally and queenfish will often venture into shallow water for a sneak around with big prey in mind.
Walking along the edges of the shore and casting poppers, fizzers, metal slices and soft plastic lures can be a productive and fun way of targeting these fish. It’s often more stealthy than fishing out of a boat and it can be very exciting watching a pack of queenfish or trevally chase the lure to your feet.
We sometimes get out of the boat onto large headlands and cast for big GT with surface lures. It can be a very exciting way of hooking them! Beware though; a big GT of over 25kg will often be very challenging to land from the rocks, especially if there’s reef bommies and coral around the area. It’s better to have a boat close by so you can get in and bring the fish away from the sharp line-breaking structure.
The warm weather in December heats up the waters of Peter Faust Dam and can create some excellent fishing at times.
During the heat of the day, the shallows can sometimes become too warm and bright for the fish which means fishing cover and features out deeper can be a great idea. Peter Faust Dam is full of timber and this can create great cover for big barra.
Fallen timber that lies horizontal in the water is the best timber to target. A fallen tree lying parallel to the water with lots of branches creates ideal cover for barramundi. The deeper water is also cooler and can sometimes be more comfortable for the fish if the shallows are too warm.
Casting past the timber and slowly retrieving back close to the branches is a great way of checking if the fish are there. If you snag up, freespool straight away and try to flick the lure off using the bow and arrow method. To do this, hold your rod vertically in one hand and the braid in the other and flick the braid like you’re firing an arrow. The lure will often come out after about three to six attempts.
Trolling should also be a productive technique at Peter Faust Dam in December in the deep main basin. The night can be a great time to troll shallow lures in the deep water. Barramundi will often stay near the surface layers at night in the deep water and hunt on boney bream that school in the deep.