We have been enjoying a particularly warm extended summer up here in the far north and as I write, the fishing conditions have been absolutely perfect with light winds, calm seas and hot humid temperatures.
The boat ramps have been extremely busy as many boaties take advantage of the favourable weather. April looks like being a top month for local anglers with plenty of options and we should see some cooler water temperatures develop and hopefully spark up the offshore fishing. The wet season run off is still happening in the rivers and creeks and although this will taper off, unless we get some more sustained heavy rainfall, there are still ideal conditions to continue the chase for barramundi. Some years we seem to just have summer and winter up here and no other seasons. This month is also the start of a transitional period inshore as the long summer months give way to a cooler more sustained drier period which guess would pass for the season known as autumn.
There has been some good bottom fishing offshore with many days providing calm conditions and most boats have returned home with a few nice trout and handsome accessories like sweetlip, cod, jobfish and reds. In amongst that the added bonus of Spanish mackerel for those who made the effort to set up the ever-reliable floater rig.
The night fishing opportunities for reds, both emperor and large mouth nannygai, have been somewhat on standby as we have watched a procession of thunderstorm activity fill the night skies and make those twilight evening trips extremely risky.
Looking ahead this month and I would expect the bottom fishing to pick up a little with some cooler water around so expect to see some nice trout around during the day. The evening fishing chances should improve as the storm activity tapers off this month and there should be some good nannygai and red emperor on the chew in the rubble sections between the reefs.
Inshore fishing and the feeder creeks and drains have been a smart choice for many anglers who have been looking for a barra. The abundance of rain about means more food flowing through the systems and you can be sure the predators are never too far away. March was a prime month for prawns in the local systems particularly the Cairns Inlet and this month there should continue to be a steady supply of prawns and this will keep cast netters motivated for a bit longer. Targeting drains near the low tide change period has been bringing results as these are areas where bait such as the prawns will accumulate and attract fish like barramundi and mangrove jacks out and about looking for food.
April usually sees the arrival of some bigger queenies into our estuaries and rivers and there should also be plenty of school sized GTs about. The Daintree and Russell/Mulgrave will be well worth a look for the queenies and working the deeper gutters on the tide changes with live baits should produce fingermark.
I would imagine many fishers would agree about the special memories you can get while sharing time on the water with friends and family. Many of us would have gone through those times when you don’t fully appreciate what you have had until it has gone.
Last month we lost a very popular and highly respected fishing buddy in Jeffrey Hollands. Widely known for his talent in the airfreight transport industry throughout Australia, this former Cairns local and accomplished fisho inspired others with his sense of adventure, unique sense of wit and humour. Jeffrey recently lost his courageous yearlong battle with a brain tumour and we now reflect and realise about the precious time we had with him on our last Cape fishing trip a few months ago.
On this trip Jeffrey managed to catch the fish of a lifetime in a 117cm saltwater barramundi. The huge barra was hooked while fishing with Col Upham and was trolled up on a rock bar. The fish was released unharmed and was a fitting way for Jeffrey to end his fishing journey. He will be sadly missed but not forgotten and condolences go out to his wife Susan and family.Reads: 974