The build up to the wet season has been progressing nicely since the start of the year with decent rainfalls falling across the region without causing any major flooding. It is what many would say to be a traditional wet season to date. In fishing terms this translates to a transitional period of new life from the ground up with plenty of food available along the coastal systems and extending out to the Great Barrier Reef.
Inshore the rains have stirred up the rivers and creeks and in between the heavy rainfall when the water settles this has been prime time to target our predatory species including mangrove jack amongst the snags and now also includes the barramundi which are now in open season since the 1st February. The two iconic species have welcomed the abundance of fresh bait inclusive of prawns and small fry and have been a regular catch for those who have obtained similar live bait or used similar imitation lures. The mouths of smaller feeder creeks running into the main stretch of water have been dynamic and the edge where the dirty water meets the clean has been the ideal strike zone. Out in the mainstream there has been a steady supply of mid sized queenfish and trevally and have been most prominent when the waters begin to clear. Small soft plastics and hard body lures have worked successfully. With a lot of new bait being tossed around the beaches have really come into play and have seen tarpon, queenfish, trevally on patrol and now the breakthrough creeks are fair game for barramundi. There has also been a lot of shark activity as batches of small sharks have been born in the shallows and they are learning their trade. Black tip and bull sharks have all been quite active especially later in the day. The next couple of months should see a few big Gt’s enter into the shallows taking advantage of the rich food supply.
Further offshore the rains have assisted in revitalizing the reef scene with a wide range of species biting with more regularity. Coral trout have been consistent, the nannygai both small and large mouth have improved considerably following the hot, dry spell and there’s always your bread and butter species on the chew. These have included sweetlip, moses perch, stripies and various trevally species. The black kingfish cobia have continued to show up consistently and their numbers have been really good for over 6 months now. The Spanish mackerel have seemed to have dried up completely with the odd big rogue being caught here and there. Even light tackle efforts trolling lures have often gone unrewarded in and around the outer reefs.
On the shelf there has been some good light tackle sportfishing on offer. Dolphin fish numbers have been up there with some big bulls reaching 15kg and the yellowfin tuna up to 25kg have also been in the mix. Searching for bird life on the surface has been key and they tend to feed off the skip jack tuna schools. Naturally for the food chain follows on from this. There have been some handy sailfish caught along the outer reef edges but they seem to be the only billfish around as black marlin numbers have shriveled up.
Looking ahead the big question is how much rain are we going to get this year because too much can shut down our fishery. The other elephant in the room is what sort of cyclone activity are we going to see this year. Predicted forecasts suggest we might see a bit of both. If so the fishing will be best in between these dark periods when conditions settle and quite often it is red hot.
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