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Excellent Estuary Extras
  |  First Published: July 2010



The Whitsundays is an angling haven. It not only has great fishing and a wide variety of species on offer, the area is beautifully scenic and interesting to explore.

There’s always plenty of fishing options on offer throughout the year and August is no different. Here’s a range of options that will work well this month.

ESTUARY FISHING

The local creeks and rivers can really light up during the cooler months of the year. Flathead, bream and mangrove jack are good targets and can be caught casting soft plastics to the many types of cover and structure.

Places worth casting to are sandy drop-offs, oyster encrusted rocks, rubble bottoms, mangrove roots and anything that looks like it has the potential to offer cover for an ambush attack from a predator fish.

One of the simplest and effective ways of fishing for these targets is to use jighead rigged soft plastics on spinning outfits. You can do this style of fishing anywhere really; targeting fish like jewfish down south to big barramundi up north. All that really changes is the size of the soft plastic, jighead weight, retrieve speed and tackle to suit the targeted species. It’s a simple technique, just cast out to the spot you want to fish and bring the lure back through the zone, with a series of light jigs and twitches to improve the look and sound of the plastic. Make sure you let it sink every now and then and also rest it on the bottom if the area isn’t too snaggy.

TT jigheads are simply the best we’ve found for all different types of soft plastic fishing. They have a huge range from ultra fine, needle sharp bream jigheads to large, super heavy versions designed to probe the depths for big toothy fish. We like to match these up to soft plastics like the Squidgy Fish, Wrigglers and flick baits. They are an excellent combination for catching a range of fish.

SHALLOW REEF

The shallow reef edges and coral drop-offs of the Whitsunday Islands will definitely be worth a fish during August. There will be some big coral trout on offer fishing soft plastics tight to the structure.

One thing to remember when targeting big coral trout is that most big saltwater fish love big baits. This is something we’ve keyed onto over the last year and we now seem to catch more, larger fish in the saltwater. It’s not a magic formula, but it’s something that seems to tempt the bigger ones.

Coral trout will eat very big baits, such as large garfish to fusiliers, and even other reef species. If you want to catch the biggest trout on lures you need to stimulate them with a large offering and a strong vibration, right outside of their lair. This is usually near some type of structure, where the fish can make a surprise attack on baitfish.

These fish like the same type of structure as other reef species so there is always competition to get the food first. You will often get by-catches of sweetlip and red emperor when targeting big trout.

BARRA AT FAUST

Impoundment barra at Peter Faust Dam should be a good target during August and will be feeding well at times.

To catch these fish, you need persistence. Being able to keep on fishing when you haven’t had a bite for hours is tough, but these fish seem to reward angler effort. We’ve experienced this many times on different lakes, fishing for countless hours to suddenly come across a ‘loaded’ spot, full of active fish.

The north, west side of Peter Faust Dam is where all of the standing timber is. The Sticks or the ‘Faust Forest’ as it’s sometimes called is home to a huge scattering of dead trees which weren’t cleared before the dam rose. The dead trees provide extra cover for the barramundi that live in the lake. The many fallen branches can become perfect holding spots for barramundi if positioned right and can improve fishing spots.

An electric motor is a great tool for slowly moving around and peppering different areas with casts. We use a Minn Kota Maxxum bow mount and it’s one of the most important pieces of equipment on our boat. Not just for sneaking up on fish and slowly covering ground, it’s also great for manoeuvring around boat ramps, getting out of tight, timbered spots and getting back to shore if you’re outboard breaks down.

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