At the time of writing we are mid way through a howling southeaster which has shut down another weekend to all but the most sheltered spots. The wind has affected the whole marine industry in the bay so far this year, with tackle shops and marine mechanics feeling the pinch. That's not even taking in to account all the frustrated anglers driving their family crazy because they are champing at the bit to get out and wet a line!
This is the first part of a two-part series on how to prepare squid.
What a mixed up wet season we have had this year? Plenty of rain, strong wind warnings and potential cyclone threats. Still the wet has rejuvenated the creeks and river systems, stirring up activity and while the dirty water has not been easy to fish, the systems have all benefitted and April will see the last of the wet and the weather settle down into autumn proper.
As is typical for this time of the year, locals start dreaming of calm winter days as they are by now sick of the turbid weather patterns, and are ostensibly caught up in its hot and muggy summer trance.
As some of the anglers are heading offshore in search of one of those Spaniards or yellowfin, some are almost forgetting about how good the canals are this time of year. There are bream, GTs and jacks on topwater with the odd flathead on the bottom which can't resist a plastic or a bit of bait.
We’re already well into autumn and the shorter days will soon mean cooler air temperatures as well. If you’re into freshwater fishing, now is the time to make the most of it. Soon the cooler weather will have an influence on the core temperature of the freshwater lakes and rivers. As the water cools off, it will become harder to lure quite a few species. Golden perch and barramundi are prime examples of fish which have a slower metabolism over the colder months. If these fish are on your hit list, get stuck into them now before they get tougher to catch on lures.
The change of season weather is upon us, with windy days outweighing the calm ones. Let’s look at how the fishing has been.
So have you been enjoying our summer of fishing? Whether it’s estuaries, rivers, inshore and offshore waters there has been a little bit of everything for everyone in all corners of the northern bay. Last month’s run of southeast winds pumped our northern waterways with good schools of hardiheads, giving predators the excuse to stay close in our waters. Partner this up with the annual prawn run we have had through this month and the past month, and you have a recipe for good fishing.
Over the past couple of months the weather has limited the number of days for offshore fishing but the mackerel, as well as the reefies, have kept us all busy. With a bit of luck, this will continue into April and we usually see the bigger Spainiards and wahoo turn up to play.
April should be a good month to chase bigger Spanish mackerel and wahoo. So far the mackerel season has been excellent with a lot of smaller Spaniards and a lot of spotted mackerel caught on all the close reefs inside of 24 fathoms on a fairly reliable basis. There has been plenty of bait and a lot of boats have been out chasing a feed of mackerel.
The weather god has given us a decent flood and the fishing has been red hot in places this year, in stark contrast to last year when it was hard work to catch fish.
The wet season thus far in tropical North Qld has been what locals would call a ‘normal’ one, or what the Bureau of Meteorology calls a ‘neutral season’. It hasn’t been dry, but we haven’t been inundated with excessive rains or floods either. We’ve seen a season that has seen a healthy supply of rain which in turn will have benefits for our fisheries for the coming year.
With a warmer than usual summer behind us we are looking forward to the cooler nights and milder days that April and May have to offer. The previous month’s fishing has been a little slow due to some monsoonal weather patterns that have threatened our region, but when the weather stabilizes the fishing is back to usual.
February and the start of March has shown the true value of the past years rainfall, with abundant muddies in Thirsty Sound along with barra, mangrove jack, fingermark, grunter and king threadfin salmon.
I’m predicting big things this April, we have had a tonne of rain in the previous month to give the rivers a flush and stir up the offshore species. So get ready this month as it should hold some hot action!
April is one of the crazy months where you never know what might turn up in Bowen waters. The reason for this uncertainty boils down to how quickly water temps drop and whether we see an earlier than cool change.
When anglers choose a particular type of braid and leader, the criteria usually revolves around breaking strain, how well it casts, and to a lesser degree colour and knot strength. Surprisingly few anglers fully understand the inner workings of braid and leader material and exactly what makes each type look feel and fish differently.
Nissan’s luxury Maxima sedan was always going to be a hard act to follow but the Altima looks as though it’s going to do the job with ease. As a mid-sized sedan (think of the Toyota Camry or Mazda 6 rather than Holden or Falcon) the Altima comes in 3 levels of luxury trim: ST, STL, Ti and Ti-S.
Nestled right on the foreshores at Mooloolaba are 2 popular Sunshine Coast Council operated holiday parks. Although they are 5 minutes’ drive apart they are both named Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park, so to avoid any confusion I’ll review them separately according to their street address.
While our local tarpon won’t ever grow to the proportions of their north American cousins (our biggest are around 80cm, while theirs are twice that size) they still have a great following here in Australia. They are a definite flyfishing species and pack a punch well above their weight.
As we move into April and the early mornings get a slight chill, it’s time to start thinking about which species to target.
Last month cyclone Gillian loitered for over a week and brought good rain and wind. Gale force northwesterlies buffeted most parts of the coast at some stage during her stay, really stirring things up and keeping most fishing to a minimum.
If there is one word that we could use to describe the summer weather it would be ‘windy’. It’s funny how it can put a bit of a dampener on the fishing, however the positive side is that the fish are just waiting for a good feed so it has its advantages.
It has certainly been a mixed bag with the weather recently. One minute it’s been sunny and fine, and the next windy and wet – but I suppose that can still be expected this time of year. At least we’ve had better wet season than last year, it’s and interesting to note that most of our rain came from small cyclones or lows and not really anything associated with the usual NW monsoonal flow. Hopefully we have had enough rain to see a good stimulus in the fishery.
Fishing Jumpinpin in April should produce the usual mixed bag of fish that the Pin is famous for. The weather should start to calm down and bring us a few less windy days (fingers crossed) and allow us to sneak outside the bar and chase a few pelagics that are still hanging about or a few reefies on the close reefs like Alf and Sullys.
From all the rain and run-off events in the summer, the barra and king threadfin salmon numbers in the Fitzroy River and surrounding creeks and lagoons are through the roof. There have been some absolute cracker barra and threadies pulled this last month, with more threadfin salmon in the river than ever before.
April is a magic time to be exploring the wilds of Cape York and the only thing preventing this from being amongst the fishiest times to fish will be access. Rivers, particularly in the central and western Cape, have had some large rain events.
April signals the start of the changeover period, and every year is a different bag of marbles. Some years the hot weather hangs on and the tropical summer species bite well into May, and in others the winter species start arriving early April. The positive is that April can bring the best of both worlds.
Weather is dominating most offshore anglers’ conversations at the moment. Good weather is not lining up with weekends at all and it is only the guys getting out mid-week who can get to the fish. The fish are there though when you can get out.
With a good lashing of rain from the few category 1 cyclones that were hovering around Cape York during early March, most of the Cape and Gulf received some much needed rainfalls. The good news for Cooktown is that with the March rains giving the system another flushing, both the Endeavour and Annan rivers are experiencing a great run of prawns.
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