The year’s best fishing
  |  First Published: March 2010

No one can complain that we did not have a wet this year. Hopefully by April the monsoons have dumped the rain and clear days have become the norm. This month can also yield some of the best fishing of the year.

The weather tends to be fishable and because the wet season has kept most anglers at home the fish have had an almost natural closed season.

After months of floods and winds the offshore boys will be itching to get out there. Not that they haven’t had good breaks in the weather, but when the freshwater starts to filter out from the salt we can expect the fishing to get better.

Most reefs start to fire and great catches of reefies can be made. If we still have freshwater run-off this month try to find blue water.

Where the water is murky or green head further out offshore if your boat is big enough, if not, try to find deeper water. For example West Point is quite shallow and affected easily by flooding but Orchard Rocks have deep sections not so easily affected.

I would expect to see the Magnetic Island Shoals starting to produce excellent trophy fish in the upcoming weeks as we head towards autumn. This maze of small shoals, rubble, islets and wrecks are famous for extra large emperor, scarlets, cobia and mackerel.

If you’re yet to find this huge area try getting about 8 miles off Maggie Island and troll some mackerel lures. Keep a good eye on your sounder for any amount of structure on the bottom. Some local tackle stores will also give you a GPS mark to start you off.

Those anglers keen on a feed of trout have been heading well offshore to the outer reefs with good reports from Faraday, Chicken and Pith reefs, unfortunately these spots are a fraction too far out for most fisherman and trailer boats.

Try fishing the reefs closer in that may not receive the pressure that popular areas do. For example Rib, Pith, Brewer, Broardhurst and Grub all fish well. All it takes is a small amount of research trips to find the fish in your new area.

The beach fishers have probably been the hardest done by this wet season as the beaches have been either covered in debris or running fresh water for at least a couple of kilometres.

But it hasn’t been all bad news as a massive run of prawns on the full and new moons have made their way along all the northern beaches and should run again this month.

The beach on the inside of West Point is a personal favourite and rarely lets me down at this time of year when the freshwater dissipates into the salt.

Along with the reefs the beach fishing will also fire as the saltwater starts to push back up the beach. Any new snags washed up will hold barra on the bigger tides and expect the best catches to come at night.

The same goes for gutters and rubble pads; the best way to find these is to go for a walk at low tide. Then fish them on the next run-in with a variety of baits to see just what species of fish is working that particular piece of structure.

Live mullet fished around new snags and gutters on the northern beaches will see you getting plenty of action on incoming tides and the start of the turn.

The creek fishers have had a mixed bag so far with very few anglers getting consistent results. Some anglers have caught large numbers of good barra on certain snags only to return the next day with no success.

The only sure thing of late has been crabs. By April the crabs should have worked their way back up into the creeks, so work the drains and gutters up the tops of the smaller creeks draining into the main systems. But if your favourite creek is still a little fresh then try just outside the mouth to catch them on their way back in.

Finally, while floating logs and debris are a boating hazard they are also home to some top fish, such as triple tail cod. Whether you’re out around Maggie or Rattlesnake islands or even fishing Balgal Beach, floating logs and debris are well worth aiming a few lures or unweighted baits to for these aerial tricksters.

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