Finger Focus
  |  First Published: October 2010

The weather is really starting to heat up and species like barramundi will soon to be off the take list. This will draw our focus heavily on the glory species – fingermark.

The end of winter (if you could call it that) and the introduction of warm humid days can only spell one thing – October and the built up to the inaugural wet season. It’s at this precise time where we hope to find barra boofing at small tinny’s props in our warm foreshores. The fishing should be first class as most species bulk up and get ready to spawn.

This time of year has to be one of my favourite periods to chase big barra and mangrove jacks, and the warmer the days the better. A fishing veteran once told me that if you’re not getting mauled by swarms of sandflies while the sweat pours off you, then you’re not in the game for some hot fishing action.

So dust off the hardbodied lures and start your search for big barra at areas like Cape Cleveland, the Casino rock wall, the rock pool on the strand and Pallarenda. These are all notorious big fish hang outs and don’t be afraid to throw some BIG lures. Even if you’re a novice these areas have walked anglers into the metre plus hall of fame putting many of the more experienced anglers to shame. But as the old saying goes…you gotta be in it to win it!

Remember November 1 is the end of the line for barra anglers and please handle big fish with care prior to release. By all means take a happy snap to boast to mates but I encourage the release of all big barra as they are so important for the future of our fishing industry.

While one species is left alone for one more year, another serious and more talked about fish becomes the prime target over summer. That is the humble fingermark; a beautiful yet powerful adversary that shouldn’t be tackled lightly. October through to February is arguably the best time to chase this eccentric sport fish and evening sessions focused around the lead up to either moon will prove more productive.

I would strongly recommend the need to use 50lb braid to even raise a scale from one of these bulldogs and 80lb leader is also a smart choice. Live mullet, herring or yakkas are always a reliable bait source but the all time best live bait has to be live squid.

Die hard chopper chasers will construct an underwater light to attract the squid close to the boat and a simple dip net is all you need to scoop up the precious squid. Pinned to the back of your favourite hook of choice, a paternoster rig should keep the squid well off the bottom and in valuable fingermark territory.

If baits not up your alley then try proven artificials like the Berkley Gulp soft plastic and the 60mm Koolabung blades. At times these lures have out fished the more traditional techniques and have transformed many fishers from bait to artificials.

Deeper holes and lumps around Maggie Island, West Point, Cape Cleveland and Bowling Green Bay will start to hold good fish and at times can produce some epic numbers as well. With sure fire spots kept tight lipped and undercover as these hotspots are responsible for the capture of fish around 1m long.

I’d like to point out that these fish age very slowly and the practice of catch and release is encouraged.

To give you an idea on how slow they grow, an 80cm specimen may be up to 30yrs old, with these fish reaching sexual maturity at around 70cm. Remember the future of this species lies in your hands and if everyone does their bit to protect this great fish, then we can be confident they will be there for our children to enjoy. They are too good to only catch once!

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