Report 6/10/17

Lynton 'Heff' Heffer
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Report 6/10/17

Post by subeditor » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:38 pm

Well the seasons changed early this year with a lot of fishing activity involved as part of the parcel. It all started at the beginning of September with a shift in the weather pattern and this flowed on to nature itself including our tropical fish species.

The first indications included a shift in the current changing from the south to the north and this was a month earlier than expected. This then triggered off a series of events including our reef species spawning in September which also brought in a population of whale sharks which dine on the eggs and sperm which are discharged during this process. The first spawn was due in October but it happened a month earlier. Experts agree that October should produce another spawn but the November prediction will be void of activity. Another very interesting occurrence was the arrival of the big black marlin in September in preparation for their annual aggregation to breed on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef. 1000lb fish were being registered a month ahead of normal forecasts, something we haven’t seen in quite a few years.

So in terms of fish catches what has this meant overall?
The reef fishing itself following the first spawn has become a bit patchy. With water temperatures rapidly rising the coral trout have been very up and down having had a very strong period prior to this. The trout are generally overall smaller in size and quite skinny looking. The nannygai have also had swaying moments biting well on some days and disappearing the next. The trevally species however have done the opposite and gone into overdrive on most days making up for the spasmodic activity. Tea-leaf and gold spot trevally have been the most common and been of good size around the 6-7kg range. The Spanish mackerel also picked up a bit of moment with larger fish being caught up to 20kg. Another notable species which added a lot of value was the spike in cobia catches and these fish were tipping the scales at around 15kg on numerous occasions. Other than this bread and butter species such as moses perch, stripeys and sweetlip have been regular enough. The reef fishing will continue to become a bit more challenging as the days get warmer. In saying this night time fishing for red species is probably your winning ticket if you can coincide with very calm weather.

On the game fishing scene the small black marlin season went gang busters with plenty of juvenile fish being caught right into October on the inshore grounds. This would be the best small billfish season according to many. As already mentioned the big girls turned up early and are biting well as we speak. A huge flotilla of boats are in the region fishing from the top of the Ribbon Reefs to right down south of the Linden Banks. There seems to be a good spread of fish across the board running down the edges of the continental shelf. With these big results coming in so early it may also pan out to be a heavy tackle season to remember. The Port Douglas Marlin Challenge between the dates of November 9-12 will be certainly one tournament to keep an eye on. In between targeting the billfish there is also some great light tack action on the shelf tangling with the likes of mahi mahi, wahoo and tunas.

Closer to home it has been a good time of year with more settled weather for the small boat brigade to explore the coastal fringes and there has been sporadic bursts of mackerel running along with long tail and mack tuna. On the bottom legal sized nannygai, grassy sweetlip and some big fingermark have featured quite regularly on the inshore reefs and headlands. In the rivers and creeks it has become extremely hot work during the day with lowlight periods offering way more action on the likes of trevally, mangrove jack, tarpon, grunter and barra which are now off the menu list with their closures taking effect on the 1st November for three months to come.

In saying this all the main focus will be streaming towards the heavy tackle marlin season for the coming month which has the makings of being an absolute belter.
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