Big barra and mad macks
  |  First Published: June 2010

If the fishing in July is as good as June then it will continue to be awesome.

Dale Richardson has been catching plenty of mackerel and reef fish at the top of Mornington Island. Sweers Island has also been going off with plenty of reds to catch and mackerel starting to turn up as well.

At Karumba it has been the best season for at least 10 years with plenty of visitors catching their bag limit of barramundi and grunter.

There are currently spaces in the Gulf Country Caravan Park (07 47459148) and the Karumba Point Caravan Park (07 47459306) which were full last year so take the opportunity to get up here and enjoy the weather and fishing while you can.

We will hopefully get our reliable southeast winds in the morning with northwesterly winds in the afternoon.

Mackerel are the prime target out the front of the sand island and time and berley will get the job done. You will need to anchor up on the outgoing tide and consistently send out berley for some time to attract the Spanish mackerel.

The best bait is a pilchard on ganged hooks attached to your line by a short length of wire trace. Float it out and wait for the big boys to come and play.

It can be a good thing to have another rod set up for grunter and blue salmon as they are about as well and these fish will give you something to do while you wait for the mackerel bite to begin.

One way to spend an afternoon is to travel to Normanton. The place to fish is off the old bridge where the target is king salmon. You will need to take your own chairs and accessories as the ones on the bridge are usually taken very early in the day.

Prawns are the bait of choice but live bait with no sinker is also a great option.

After the sun disappears and the lights come it’s prime time to fish for the salmon. It can get cool as night descends too, so take a jumper with you.

Lance Butler has had an awesome time up here catching barra for his customers with his longest barramundi measuring 1.32m. He has his own lures that work very well as anyone who has fished with him will confirm.

Rob Erskine from Erskine Tackle in Cairns was also up here in June and caught barramundi up to 1.17m. He is a good person to talk to if you’re heading up from the east coast, so give him a call on (07) 4051 6099. Not only can he advise you on which lures to buy, but he can also sell them to you at the right price.

The winds can and will blow hard at times. In this instance the best thing to do is head up the river to the Power Lines.

This is a good location to catch grunter and salmon on the rubble patches. Just wait until after 10am to head out and you will be able to see the other boats already anchored up on the right spot.


The big wet did leave its mark on the Gulf with the late rain resulting in a bumper banana prawn season, fine catches of reef fish and one of the best red seasons seen at Sweers Island in recent times.

The guys have been heading to the reefs off the top of Sweers. The perfect light winds during May and early June made for some very calm conditions and it would have been relaxing out in the boats if not for all the action in the water.

Kevin Moss’s group traveled all the way from Perth and were rewarded with some fine catches of nannygai, cod, coral trout and some early Spanish mackerel. They used a combo of live bait and lures, citing red and white as the mack’s favourite colour this year.

The water was slow cooling down this year, but by June it had finally dropped to the temperatures preferred by the pelagics and we started to see more than the adventurous solo Spaniard. It is all looking to be an exceptional pelagic year and we look forward to breaking some old records and creating some new legends.

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