Plenty to fish for in July
  |  First Published: June 2010

July in the Whitsundays is one of the coolest months of the year. The air and water temperatures should be fairly low but there is still high class fishing potential.

Spanish mackerel

July is a good month to try for big Spanish mackerel. The Whitsundays have a lot of productive places that will hold good numbers of these fish.

The most common and successful technique for targeting Spanish mackerel is to slowly troll ribbonfish or large garfish.

This technique is also quite easy to pull off: all you need is a ganged hook mackerel trolling rig, which you can buy from most tackle stores. Then you just need to catch or buy the bait, rig it up and you’re ready to troll.

Some good places to try are Double Cones, Nara Inlet, Dolphin Rocks, Leeper Shoal and Mackerel Bay. The best places to fish can be variable as the fish move around quite a lot. Anywhere there is lots of bait showing on the sounder is always worth a couple of trolls over as there will usually always be bigger fish nearby.

Common captures

If you’re into catching sportfish, the Whitsundays is a very good place to do it. Giant trevally, golden trevally and queenfish are the most common species of sportfish found around the islands, sandy beaches, rock points and shallow mangrove bays.

The small to medium specimens tend to be found in the shallower areas. A lot of the smaller species frequent waters between 1-4m deep, whereas bigger fish tend to frequent the deeper water, or prefer shallow structure very close to deeper water. In our experience big queenfish, GT and golden trevally are nearly always hooked from shallow structure that is very close to at least 15m of water.

In the past, we realised that we tended to fish shallow water too often. So we changed our style and started to fish deeper water and shallow structure right near deeper water. After this change, we started catching bigger fish and it’s an approach that we now use whenever we fish.

These three species can be caught using a range of different techniques, but casting soft plastics works particularly well. A popular plastic to use for larger fish is the 145mm Squidgy Flickbait on a fairly heavy Tackle Tactics jighead, such as a 3/8, 7/0 Tournament Series. With small to medium size fish, spinning a metal chrome lure such as the TT Assassin or Spanyid Maniac at a fast retrieve is a great option.

Big bream

Targeting bream with light tackle is an entertaining way of fishing.

Whether you catch them on bait or lures, they are strong little fish and challenging to land. They eat a range of small crustaceans and baitfish and have a strong set of jaws to crunch up and pick at shells and oysters.

In the tropics, these fish are targeted less than most of the larger, more popular northern fish species. But they can be found all around the rivers, creeks, sand flats, coral beaches and islands. The best places to fish for them in the area are around estuarine structure such as oyster rocks, mangrove trees, roots, and sandy drop-offs.

If you want to fish for bream with lures, you will need a very light rod capable of casting very small soft plastics and hardbodied lures. Most bream fishers fish with 4-6lb braid and 6-8lb fluorocarbon leader.

Lures that work very well on bream are small soft plastics, surface lures and blades. These blades attract fish with a small vibration action, imitating the tiny movements of a crab or small fish. The TT Switchblade and Ghostblade are both highly effective blades for bream fishing. There is also the Stiffy Devilfish vibe, which is also a great bream vibe lure.

Surface lures are also effective when used in the right areas. The Stiffy 50mm Popper and Stiffy Top Dog surface walk lure are highly effective and come complete with quality Owner hooks and split rings.

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