Fire Up after Paul
  |  First Published: April 2010

April was such a wild month with Cyclone Paul sending more rain and strong winds to make fishing tough in the early part of the month, but as soon as things calmed down the fishing really hotted up!

Plenty of barramundi were caught at Normanton off the bridge and this will still be a good option until the temperature drops. Live bait is the best choice off the bridge when the sun goes down and the lights take effect, and you’ll probably also run into some nice king salmon as well.

The weather in May is always fantastic with plenty of calm days to enjoy the sunshine and fish. It is a good time to visit the rubble patches out the front if you have a capable boat, as the grunter and golden snapper can really turn it on.

I like to troll lures in gold for golden snapper as it is lots of fun if they are around. An hour fishing will confirm if they are about, if not, start bottom bashing for grunter and other species.

Do not forget to keep checking the weather out there as it can become rough within a short time.

I love to do fish stock research in May as the water temperature cools and the grunter turn up alongside the mackerel.

Grunter in schools can be found out the front on the north eastern side of the sand island. They can also be in the grunter hole if you know where to go. A good rig to use for grunter is the main line tied to a swivel and then 40lb mono leader to a 4/0 hook. Squid and peeled prawns purchased locally (make sure they were caught in the gulf) are good options.

Mackerel start to show up as the water cools and they can also be found on the outside of the sand island. You will need a wire trace tied to ganged hooks with pillies being the gun bait. The right place to be is easy to find by leaving a bit later then following the crowd. You will see them on the drop-off so just join the line. Please leave at least 100m between boats to make things comfortable.

Our fishing competition has been run and won and I will supply the winners next month. I would just like to thank Anaconda, Skytrans, Erskine Tackle and all the other sponsors who make it such an awesome event. All proceeds go back into the local community for the Barramundi Discovery Centre and other organisations.


The big wet continued right into April, with Cyclone Paul dumping another lot of rain on the already soaked Gulf. While this did play havoc with the Easter fishing comps around the region, it should result in an excellent fishing season for the next few months.

On Sweers, the jewfish are on the bite, with regular visitors Greg Tom and his friends Derek and Brad catching some nice specimens at the aptly-named ‘Jewhole.’ Derek also caught several nice big parrotfish – remember, the Gulf parrot is actually a Venus tuskfish and is superb eating, with firm white flesh.

The Wellings group are also regulars and on their first of several trips this year, they caught a nice mixed bag of jew, cod, sweetlip, and shark (they’re from down south, where they eat shark!)

May should see the start of some cooler weather, and as the sea temperatures dip into the low twenties, we might be lucky enough to get an early Spanish mackerel. These fish need big gear, so make sure you are rigged with some heavy-duty wire trace. Lures or live gar work well as bait. Just troll along the gutters and headlands and you could be in for the fight of your life.

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