The harder it pours, the more fish come aboard
  |  First Published: May 2017

The wet season is still in full swing up here in the Cape and the fishing is still going off. The drains aren’t flowing as hard and the spawning time of most fish is over. The hot humid temperatures still result in explosive fishing. Offshore reefs, estuaries, beaches and even freshwater creeks are going off at the moment.

The activity has been absolutely red hot lately when it comes to offshore fishing, whether it’s dropping baits onto the reef or flicking lures around bait schools. Golden snapper, barracuda, giant trevally, tuskfish and others are being caught. The amount of big queenfish and golden trevally around the bait schools lately is insane followed closely in numbers by brassy trevally, Spanish mackerel and cobia.

We cast out a big saltwater Chug Bug Popper and didn’t even have to wind it to end up connected to a metre-plus queenfish. Stickbaits, vibes, metal jigs, Gomoku jigs, deep divers and live baits are being destroyed.

The estuaries are just as impressive with big barra still on the chew. Mangrove jack and rat barra are a common catch when flicking snags up the creek. Larger fish are to be caught on vibes or big plastics in the deep holes around the mouth of the river/creek.

A few locals have been catching lots of black jewfish and golden snapper around the Mission River Bridge. Most golden snapper are under 40cm and most black jewfish are under 70cm.

The blue salmon are in huge schools on the beaches and in the estuaries and can be caught in their hundreds on lures or fly by anglers putting in the time to find their concentrations. There are always dark shadows lurking just near these schools however. Whether it be big bull sharks or monster giant trevally, always pack a big popper just in case.

The freshwater billabongs and creeks are full at the moment, which can lead to some explosive fishing on light tackle chasing sooties, barra and saratoga. The author recently had a good session chasing big togas and landed several nice ones around 55-70cm.

These fish are great to catch but are very delicate and must be released carefully, with minimum time out of the water to ensure survival. Always be on the lookout for big gators, especially around creeks that are regularly visited by fishers and wild mobs of pigs, or creeks that have large concentration of fish in them.

There is a view in this area that the ocean is unlimited and you can take whatever you want to and it will be all good the next day. In reality, fish stocks can’t last forever. I have seen dozens of fish like catfish and blue salmon tossed up on the bank or chucked back dead, because they are seen as a pest but without them, the food chain would collapse.

Many anglers keep undersized fish and exceed possession limits for no apparent reason. They just have to kill what they catch. While the fishing here is exceptional, those that live here are spoilt. Where I am originally from in Hervey Bay, these kinds of actions have already destroyed the fishing and it will never be the same again.

We must try to protect what we have while it is still good. Think twice before killing a baby shovelnose that ate your barra bait, or when you catch the bag limit of golden snapper and continue to haul them up. Good luck to all anglers over the holidays and remember to think like a fish.

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