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Report 18/5/17

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:10 pm
by subeditor

The weather is starting to cool down towards winter and that is good news for all the Blue Water fishermen who have been waiting for some decent weather. I was hoping it would have settled earlier than this but that hasn’t happened yet. Those brave souls that have headed out have reported Tuna and Mackerel, while not in big numbers they’re enough to make the effort well worth it. The bottom fishers have also been finding quite good catches including Coral Trout, Nannygai and assorted species making up a decent feed. As soon as the weather drops I think the Mackerel will be about, so make sure you are ready. As the water surface temperature falls, the Mackerel will move up in the water and be much more accessible to shallow and topwater lures. Around structure they will be accompanied by Trevally and Cobia at the moment. These will range in size from illegal up to giants that will really test you out on any tackle. Live bait or fresh dead bait fished around these areas could turn up anything. There has also been a number of small Marlins showing up. This is very unseasonal, or is it because we never go out and look for them at this time of the year? If we did put in the effort we may find there are a few out there all year round. Only one way to find out and that is to get out and spend some time targeting them and not just stumbling onto them as you are chasing Mackerel or other species. I am hoping the schools of bait will still show up in spite of our low rainfall, otherwise it may be a fairly slim season.


The surprise for me is the numbers of Barramundi still about as we get into the cooler weather. Reports are coming in from all over the region, not huge numbers and many undersized but at this time of the year it’s a good sign. The influx of Grey Nomads has been a little late as we normally see them start to pour in from Easter onwards. I put this down to the milder weather down south which hasn’t chased them up as early as usual. The ones that have arrived in Karumba and the other haunts have had fairly average fishing so far. The cooler weather should bring on the fish and the tourists. Most just want to catch a feed for themselves so if you can help them do that they may come back. The ones that take everything they catch only have a few and if caught deserve everything they get. Mangrove Jacks are still the mainstay of catches and have been all year. The deeper water is also showing up some Fingermark (Golden Snapper) jigging soft vibes like the Fuse Pulse around these areas is a great way to cover more ground to find where the fish are sitting. If however you know where they are or find them on your sounder, there isn’t anything better than a live squid dropped down to catch them. Second to that are live Sardines or any live bait for that matter. We all know how much Fingermark and Cobia love crabs and a few have cottoned on to the new soft plastic smash crab and been dropping them around the local wrecks with some surprising results. They have enough weight to get down and their size makes them very attractive for the larger fish; give one a go. Up the creeks and rivers the schools of Trevally and Queenfish are starting to make a presence for the lure tossers and bait fishermen alike. I enjoy them fresh on the BBQ but they don’t freeze very well, so take a feed and release the rest.


As the remote area roads dry up, many are planning trips away chasing Barramundi. Some areas have had decent rain and will hopefully make the fishing red hot. The areas that had the rain and rivers flowing high were a chance for the Barramundi to swim back upstream into the freshwater reaches, and many of the spots they haven’t been for a couple of years. Look for the rivers that have had a decent flush and I believe you should find fish. As we have been speaking about Crocs a fair bit lately, let me say that they are in areas that I haven’t seen them before. A couple of smaller Freshwater Croc’s won’t trouble you and are probably a fair sign that there isn’t a large Salty in that area, as he would have chased or killed them. There is however no guarantee, so always treat it like they’re there unless it is somewhere impossible for them to reach. Sooty Grunter and Jungle Perch will still be on the bite until the water gets so cold you don’t want to wade in it, so keep chasing them. The Red Claw should also be in the rivers on the west coast that have had a flush, so take a couple of Opera pots and they will keep the kids entertained for hours and turn up a feed to boot.


The current level of 50.4% is way too low from what it should be at this time of the year. This is good and bad, the bad is that the level will be very low later in the year with the amount of water they are pumping out of it all the time. We will again be exposing stumps and other dangers to boating. This shouldn’t be a problem for those who are on the dam regularly but for the infrequent visitors, the lack of knowledge as to where the dangers are should be offset by a higher degree of care. The good news for fishermen is that the Barramundi seem to be much easier to catch. This could be put down to a number of factors. One being the low water means the temperature should be higher in the shallows, as the sun penetrates better and the warmer water gets them more active and hungry. On the other hand, it could be as simple as less water and more competition for food makes them more willing to take a lure or bait. Either way, if we don’t get serious winter rain the dam level will be critical later in the year. Good winter rain that floods over some of the grassy areas may be the solution to the lack of Red Claw as well. The recently flooded grass areas not only create a great food source but an area to drop eggs and give some cover for the small ones to get a start in life. It would be great to get the Red Claw back to something like the numbers from years ago as they provide a great family activity and attract many people to the dam. Remember your permit if you are going fishing.


Winter is coming and is bringing the winter species with it. Bream, Whiting, and Flathead will become more prevalent as the water temperature drops. The tip for this month is to lighten up your gear and not only will you catch more fish but you will have a more enjoyable time doing it. Using a 10lb (5kg) line or under is a good start. If you follow with the rest of the setup and bring your sinkers to the old rule, and that is as light as you can get away with. It follows that the hooks also need to come down in size, because the fish we are targeting are smaller and it is much harder to set the hook with light line if you are using heavy gauge hooks; not that we need heavy hooks for these species. So get your light gear out and chase yourself up a feed as they are all top table fish.

Erskine's Tackle Wolrd
51 Mulgrave Road, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: 07 4051 6099