Fresh Fishing Fun
  |  First Published: January 2010

The Whitsundays has a lot to offer in February. The warm temperatures create a lot of fish activity in both fresh and saltwater and there should be a lot of fun fishing options throughout the month.

Peter Faust Dam

Just behind Proserpine lies Peter Faust Dam. It has a fantastic array of impoundment barramundi, sooty grunter, baitfish, such as boney bream and barred grunter, and the lake is alive with fish activity.

During February, the warm water temperatures will make the barramundi active and willing to feed. Night fishing can be very productive with the right weather conditions. It is an awesome experience getting a bite from a fish and hearing a big barramundi leaping through the water in the dark.

The dark hours are likely to be when barramundi are feeding the most so it’s a great time to fish for them. If casting, doing some planning before the night session is a good idea. Drive around and use your depth sounder to search out good looking areas and edges to fish during the night. Having a GPS is invaluable for finding your spots in the dark. We use a Lowrance HDS8 sonar/ GPS and it is perfect for finding areas holding barramundi and baitfish.

When fishing your chosen spot, make long casts over the area and mix-up the retrieve with jigs, pauses, very slow winding and super-fast speeds to imitate a wounded baitfish moving through the water. This retrieve sends out more vibration through the water for the barramundi to detect in their lateral lines.

Surface fish

In the saltwater, it is always exciting to see schools of surface feeding tuna. These fish are great fun to target and can be fairly easy to catch when they are in large schools and keen to feed. It can be very exciting watching them tear through bait schools and leap out of the water while you cast into the frenzy of white-water.

The best lures that seem to work are small metal slices with an ultra-fast retrieve through the schools. Instead of casting into the middle or behind the tuna, try to make a long cast to where they are heading. Also, try to position the boat where they are moving towards so they come to you, giving you more time to hook one before they move deeper.

Some days the tuna can be hard to find on the surface and will only show up for a couple of seconds and then return out of sight. Other times, they can be in large schools and remain feeding on the surface for several minutes. It depends on the amount of bait there is, the size of the tuna schools and how keen they are to feed.

Giant Trevally

The GT fishing in the Whitsundays is consistently productive. With the many islands creating all sorts of fish holding structure, there are lots of different areas to catch GT from. We recently fished with QFM’s Travis Davies around some of the outer islands.

On the day we found the weather and tides were suitable for GT fishing, but it turned out a bit tougher than usual. We continued to fish our usual GT areas mainly using large surface poppers, the Halco Haymaker and FCL Ebipop with a fairly fast and noisy retrieve. We kept moving to new areas until we finally found a good spot that was holding fish.

We decided to cast in Nomad Ulua stickbaits with a much slower retrieve than normal and with lots of pauses. The first casts into the area produced a double-hook up on the slow retrieved Ulua stickbaits of fish around 20kg and 25kg. The next 20 minutes produced another double hook-up and another three strikes on these lures. The biggest GT landed was around 28kg – a great looking fish! This session shows the value of trying new approaches and how it can bring great results when the fishing is tough.

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