Report 30/3/17

Erskine's Tackle Wolrd
51 Mulgrave Road, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: 07 4051 6099
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Nicole Penfold
Posts: 3196
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:08 pm

Report 30/3/17

Post by Nicole Penfold » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:22 pm

The rain that we all hoped for has not eventuated and if we don’t get some serious rain over the next month we will all feel it. The lack of rain has meant that the water temperature has stayed higher than usual, so the fishing has been a bit all over the place and won’t settle down until the season does. That is not to say there hasn’t been any fish - on the contrary there have been some great catches being reported, but there have also been some anglers doing it tough and scratching for a feed. Coral Trout are still about in fairly good numbers when you find them. They are schooling up in areas of water temperature that is comfortable for them. If you know where these spots are, keep it to yourself and it will produce when most other areas are hard work.

Mackerel are also around the usual spots and those targeting them have been getting good catches. Best bait is anything live and caught on location. Fusilier would have to be my favourite and if you find a school showering on the surface, you better believe there are large fish below them and you are in for a good chance - don’t pass it up.

Nannygai and Red Emperor have also been showing up inshore on any Wonky Hole or rubble patch. Quite unusual for this time of year but welcome for those catching them.

The wrecks seem to be covered with Cobia and a live squid or crab sent down will normally be devoured in short time, but be ready for a battle Royal because they never give up. Even when you do gaff them into the boat, they want to smash anything in their way so treat them with care. Their strong flavour may not suit everyone but it can be prepared in so many different ways and have the strength to carry the taste through. One Cobia is plenty to take home as they have plenty of fillets to give. Let the rest go for next time. Plenty of reminders this month of the dangers that we all face out on the water.


With the lack of rain we have only had a small run of prawns, which are very important to many of our target species. Barramundi always show up after the rains give us a flush of prawns, and the poor start to the season has been reflected by a less than hoped wet season. Salmon, both Blue and King are the species that I relate to a good wet giving us a full flush of Prawns. I must say there are a few around which is pleasing when you look at how poor the wet has been. Obviously live Prawn or at the very least fresh are my preferred bait but if you can’t get them, a live Sardine or Mud Herring will do.

It is a compromise on leaders for them as too heavy and they will shy away and too light they will rasp you off with their sandpaper like teeth, as happened to me last weekend. The big tides produced some quality Grunter on the flats for those who put in the time. This is another species that benefits from the flush of prawns and also love them for bait along with a fillet of fresh Mullet or Garfish. I hope it rains some more but I would like it to also cool down. There is a danger fishing during the heat of the day of dehydration which can have some frightening side effects on the body ranging from Headaches to complete collapsing, so be aware and drink plenty of water not beer.

Again I mention Mangrove Jacks as the species that has been good all year and continues to be both inshore and at the reef with numbers turning up on drift baits intended for Mackerel. Inshore wrecks and rubble patches have had them mixed with some Fingermark and various Cods - a mixed bag of good eating fish for the table. With some talk of a late season Cyclone I think that will be the only chance to get enough rain to top up our systems and save us from a severe shortage later in the year. Not that I want to see devastation, just rain.


On the freshwater scene the only silver lining to the dark cloud of low rain has been the numbers of Mangrove Jacks being caught a long way up in the freshwater reaches of many of our local rivers. They must have headed upstream to try and catch some cooler water or at the very least, the bait species that have moved up into the fresh. There are enough that they at times are the dominate fish caught over Sooty Grunter and Jungle Perch. Everyone knows my love of this species as they fight well and are a prolific lure cruncher, and I do mean cruncher as they are as aggressive as any fish in our local waters. They show up good on the plate so don’t be afraid to grab a handful of 3” lures and head up stream.

Please be aware that the saltwater crocs also head up stream in low water conditions and we are seeing them in areas that I have never before seen them, so stay alert and don’t get in the water if you have any doubts. Jungle Perch have also been on the chew on small poppers and stickbaits. They were known as Mountain Trout by the early settlers and at times they can be that flighty so keep quiet and don’t stomp around the fishing spot or you may never see any. As they are slow growing I encourage you all to carefully release them when you are lucky enough to catch them.


At the current level of 49% we still haven’t reached ½ full which is a major concern at this time of year. At current usage levels, unless we get that big late rain I am hoping for we will be in dire trouble by the middle of the year. We need at least 75% by now to be anywhere near what we need. This hasn’t changed the fishing however. There are still some big Barramundi being caught. There needs to be a big rise in water level before the fish will move away from the areas they have been for the last year. The water Temperature has kept them active and on the bite. Many Barramundi move up onto the shallow areas at night chasing the bait and this makes them a target if you are land based without a boat. The night is also much more pleasant conditions to fish, with middle of the day being so hot that fish and fishermen alike head for cover to stay cool.

Soaking a bait has turned up a few good Sooty Grunter recently so if the Barramundi aren’t playing the game, that may be an option. Not much good on the plate so a release fish as well. I haven’t had any reports of the condition of the Red Claw in the dam, so if you have been up there chasing them recently let me know how you went. It would be great if they showed up for the long weekends that we have coming up, it is a great family activity. That’s another good reason that we need the dam levels to come up heaps, to give everyone more area for whichever water activities they have planned for these weekends. If you are planning to fish these holidays don’t forget your Permit.


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

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