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Dated: 31st March 2005
Location: Australia/Western Australia /Pilbara Region/Port Hedland
Something had noticed the erratic activity of the mullet attached to the end of my line and utterly inhaled it.

A generous sized Queenie burst into a display of mind blowing aerobatics as it tried to free itself from the sting of my 5/0 chemically sharpened hook”.

This could be any keen sport fisherman in the throws of relating his or her latest encounter with what could be described as the most exciting sportfish in the North West.

Queenfish, or queenies as they are often called, provide anglers with mind-blowing action as they leap into a series of aerial stunts and scorching runs. Targeting this species can be a bit of a challenge if your unfamiliar with its habits so I have put together a ‘how to’ so you might be in for a chance next time your on the water.

Queenies are ‘pelagic’ which loosely translated means living in open waters; therefore they are accustomed to moving rapidly through creeks in order to get a feed and then move out to deeper water when the tide falls to wait for their next feeding session.

As a result the best time to target them is the incoming tide. They feed on small baitfish like mullet and garfish so gathering a supply with your throw net (licence required in WA) is a must, if you intend to use bait that is.

By far one of the best ways to enjoy what these sportfish have to offer is to target them with lures.

Arm yourself with a light spinning outfit spooled up with around 5 to 8kg monofilament line, some polarising sunglasses and a selection of fast moving shiny lures and poppers, and get ready to test your tackle to its limit.

With polarising sunnies (in clear water) you can see queenies wildly chasing your lures, and when one makes contact they wind things up a peg or two giving you a display that will have your heart pounding and tongue wagging.

If its baits you prefer a simple rig consisting of a 60-80lb monofilament trace and a chemically sharpened hook (no bigger than 7/0) will suffice. Hook your live bait just in front of the dorsal fin (being careful not to pierce the spine) and lob it into the fishy water of your favourite spot.

If you’re fishing rivers aim for creek mouths and eddy currents or in the blue water concentrate your efforts near structure such as channel markers.

When using lures the channel markers are an excellent place to find queenies.

The eating quality of these athletic speedsters is not the best you will encounter but eaten fresh or as a fishy base for a curry they will put smiles on the faces of most fish eaters. Another delicious variation for queenies is nummus. This traditional Thursday Islander dish is made by cutting very thin strips of flesh and bathing them (raw) in a mixture of lemon juice, salt, sugar, garlic, ginger, chilli, onion and white vinegar. Eat straight away or let it sit for a couple of hours to enhance the flavour (if you can).

Now is the best time of year pursue these pelagic predators so get out this weekend and treat yourself to the unique action of a Port Hedland queenfish.... Shane Baker