As we move through the last of our spring into the summer months, some would say we’re in our prime fishing seasons of the year. With water temperatures warming nicely, and if the early catches are anything to go by, it should be a cracker season for the almighty mangrove jack.
Other shining stars showing their presence in our waters are of the pelagic kind. Marlin have shown out wide and on one of my last trips out, it was standing room only for the birds who were feeding off the mac tuna and mackerel runs, no more than a kilometre from the coast line. These are very exciting times ahead.
With barramundi off the fishing menu for a few months, it’s a natural progression to target jacks. They’re fierce fighters and excellent table fish. Mangrove jack will happily take well presented baits such as prawns, mullet and sprat both live and dead, or hardbodies and soft plastics. They’re predatory fish and unless they’re on the move, they’ll be holding hard to structure only moving to take the unlucky bait swimming past, or lucky in our case.
You’ll find them around any structure – rock walls, concealed rocks or timber, mangrove banks, bridge pylons and pontoons. Land and boating fishos have plenty of options to target them in both Calliope and the Boyne rivers, however the Boyne is starting to show signs of a great season ahead.
Golden snapper are fishing well at night in the Boyne River, fish up to 70cm have been caught on live and dead bait like herring and mullet. Grunter are fishing well on the gravel grounds in the Boyne, around South Trees Inlet and up around the mouths of Targinnie north to Port Alma. Grunter are showing excellent numbers with well sized threadfin and king salmon.
Mulloway are still fishing well in the harbour, both undersized schools and fish up to 12kg are around the deeper holes on the north side. Soft plastics work well further north at Connors Creek. There have been great reports of very nice mulloway up around Rundle Island caught on whole mullet working the outgoing tides at night.
Pelagic action is starting to stir, both in close and out at the reefs. Spotties and mac tuna are hitting floated baits and trolled skirted lures around the mouths of the harbours and along the coastline up to Cape Cap. I’ve had reports of marlin being caught on pink skirted lures out at North West and along the shelf, which is very exciting for those who can travel that far. Spanish are active around Masthead and Erskine Island along with big golden trevally.
The reds seem to have slowed a little, but are still being caught around Wistari and Sykes. Coral trout catches are on the increase and this should only get better as we move through November into summer. All reefs are fishing well for redthroat and tuskies, so no matter the target, most will come home with a nice feed. I hope everyone got involved in the national fishing day last month, it’s an excellent way of showing how popular our sport is and how strong our voice can be. This day grows year by year and the idea is brilliant.
Juvenile reds don't come much prettier than this beautiful by-catch for Trent Hall.
Nicholas with his tagged jack, ready to release.
Nicholas Hamilton caught and tagged some beauties on Eden hardbody lures in the Boyne River.Reads: 2017