Weipa Fishing Report
March / April 2007
Barramundi where on the bite as the weather began to clear, from another northern wet season. Eating to replenished spent energy used while in the breeding mode. Tuna moved in the Bay, hunting down the vast bait schools that feed on the nutrients that is flushed out the local river systems this time of the year. Jelly prawns swept the shoreline as they made their dangerous trek along the coast heading towards the sanctuary of the upper reaches of our river systems. The minuet prawns will grown-out until the flush from rivers with next years wet season rain. Barramundi, Salmon, Golden Trevally, Giant Herring and Queenfish come to feast in the prawn soup that lines the beaches.
The on shore winds stopped, with the last of the rain around mid March. The last two weeks of March & the first two weeks in April a perfect 10 to 15 knots southeast off shore winds. The Southeasterly offshore winds increased to 15 to 20 knots in late April.
Rivers fished well for King Salmon, Barramundi & Finger Mark. Fishing flies, hard bodies & soft plastics around the rock bars seem to be the most productive.
Saltwater Assassin used with a 3/16 to ¼ ounce jig heads worked well. Soft Plastics worked the best during April however most fish caught on the softies where smaller in size compared to those taken on the hard body lures. Clients had to choose quantity or quality. Schools of Queenfish in the 80cm to 100cm have been prowling the creek mouths intercepting the schools of small Herring as they attempt to make there way into the safety of the creeks. Seagulls where like beacons marking the action with their constant diving into the nervous bait schools. The baitfish becomes confused with attacks coming from both above & below. Small white flies & jigs 50mm to 75mm in size imitate the bait perfectly.
On the Beach with the amount of bait along the beach we didn’t have to travel far to get on to good fish. Spotting schools of Barramundi & Blue Salmon in huge numbers carving up the bait schools. Barramundi would have their days when we would see heaps of fish but getting them to bite would be another thing. Being mainly an nocturnal feeder I expect they would be gorging them self’s on moon lit nights then resting during the day as they digested their full stomachs. Flies and soft plastic would temped the greedy ones but the would turn their noses up to a hard bodies. On the days with little or no moon would see fish in more of a feeding mode. Blue Salmon on the other hand would very rarely miss out on anything that hit the water, “I am going to try a stick one day”.
The Blue’s are on the move, constantly swimming up and down short lengths of beach. So the need to be eating most of the time to feed such metabolism, which is great for us. Always on the move these fish are fit, fast and tough fighters not giving up until they are bought to shore. Fishing from the beach has its advantages, sight casting, you can pick the fish you want to catch not saying that’s the fish you’ll always catch “did I say these fish are fast”. There is also very little to get hung-up on, once hooked-up you can let the fish run as far as they like. With sand paper like jaws Blue Salmon can make short work of leaders, it’s a good idea to keep leaders around the 40lb mark, checking the leader for where each & every fish. To keep up to the Salmon schools a quick walking pace is needed, this would keep anglers with-in casting range the schooling fish, catching them one after another.
Blue water: Tuna have turned up in the Albatross Bay feeding on the offshore bait schools. The Tuna schools are still a little patchy so far which is unusual for April, normally schools are thick this time of year. I am sure May will see the Tuna more predictable down in the Red Cliffs and Pera area. Big Queenfish where found down on the Boyd Bay rock-wall, poppers where the best way to attract their attention. Once the fish are teased to the surface. They are egger to take most things that are put in front of them.
Marlin on the flats, I am sure most of you would of seen the latest articles in Fly Life & Modern Fishing magazine about catching Marlin on the on the flats in the Harvey Bay area. As I was reading those articles I could image how great it would be, sight casting and fighting these marvelous fish over the shallows. We have Billfish in the Weipa area however encounters are a hit and miss affair, they are rarely targeted and most connections are by chance. Late April I was fishing with two lure fishermen that where keen to catch about anything with fins. With the resent success we had been having Tuna fishing down the coast I decide to head for Pera for the day and hopefully a bit of a arm stretching action for my clients. We traveled for an hour down to Pera with not a Tuna in sight we stopped and fished a rocky reef where only days before Queenfish & Giant Trevally where climbing over each other to get at the lures and not a strike. Continuing South on to Thud Point about 7 kilometers pass Pera Heads and still no Tuna. We ventured out to sea and using the sounder we managed to located an area full of bait schools deep down. Sending the jigs down to the depth of bait and nothing not a fish. This had the makings of "one of those days". By midday we had only caught few small fish so we decided to cut our losses and head back towards Weipa. Being lunchtime we pulled into Pera to have bite to eat and stretch our legs before making the trip back. We had lunch on the edge of a small freshwater creek that runs into the sea for a few months after the wet season. This one Weipa’s special places, a local favorite. After lunch and a wade in the cool water it was time to go, giving up on the Tuna, head back to target Barramundi for the afternoon.
The tide was high and the waster crystal clear so we stayed close to the beach as we headed back to Weipa, traveling only a few minutes when something caught my eye, a few garfish skipped across the water surface here the gar had left the water was a huge dark shape in the water. Thinking that I had just spotted a huge Spanish Mackerel I stopped to boat. The fish was swimming straight for the boat so I called out for the guys to get their jigs in the water, because of the chance of seeing a Tuna schools busting up I had the fellows keep the rods with-in arms reach. The jigs where soon in the water, by this time I had seen exactly what the fish was, a 8 foot long Black Marlin, I couldn’t believe it. Eight-foot Marlin in 6 feet of water, with-in 200 meters of the beach “I have got to be dreaming”. The fish was lit-up fluoro blue, swimming along side the boat swiping at the jigs like there was no tomorrow. Grabbing the jigs about three times before a hook found it mark. Once hooked the fish came to the surface, swimming very slowly like it didn’t believe what we had just done to it. We notice that it had been bitten by shark maybe only a few days ago, with a chuck of flesh about the size of a softball missing from it’s lower back, not that this seemed to worry it at all.
I guess the weight of the fish would have been around the 100lb mark? Not sure, but I know one thing, the angler got his work out all right. For the next hour & a half the fish dragging the boat about three kilometers out to sea. Sometime during the fight 30lb Fire Line made it’s way around the fishing tail. The Marlin was tail raped not a good thing, with the fret of sharks attack or the fish drowning we decide to up the pressure and tighten the drag. Unfortunately the line couldn’t cope the added strain & broken on the double attachment. We where happy with our decision to make or break but it would have sure been nice to land such a fish.
Strikezone fly & sportsfishing
A harbor Queenfish
Marlin in flight
Marlin up close
Marlin just hooked.
A Blue Salmon school