Barra Close, Options Open
  |  First Published: October 2010

October, for the most part, is a hot, dusty, dry, fire-filled event. A far cry from only six months earlier when everything was green, lush and full of life. However, the start of this arid month is good news for anglers.

Each year brings big rains, usually between December and April, and fish, birds and many other critters space themselves out during these times. However, when the big rains stop and there is less water around the fish have little choice but to gather together.

Search places where there is less water than there may have been earlier in the year. Fish such as tarpon, sooty grunter, archerfish, saratoga and others hang out in isolated pools near to the main west coast rivers. On the east coast you can expect mangrove jack, tarpon, jungle perch and coal grunter to be trapped in some of the larger watering holes now isolated from the sea.

In the later months of October, November and December, these pools of relief find themselves home for an array of different animals. Reptiles, such as snakes, goannas and turtles, are joined by fresh- and saltwater crocodiles that can add a little unexpected excitement to your fishing experience. Likewise, bird life too extensive to list will also make these watering holes home in the latter parts of the dry season.

A shady lagoon that has been landlocked for six months, ravished by the bitter cold (27ºC) during winter and now warming substantially in October, will often fish well late every afternoon. Fizzers, poppers, crawlers and bloopers will draw the attention of any bigger predators as the light gets low and it is a pleasure to see a bow wave heading straight for your surface lure.

With the season for barramundi now closed, anglers are looking at different options for getting a feed in the estuaries, bays and gulf areas of the Cape. The water temperatures are now getting plenty of warmth and fish, such as fingermark bream, mangrove jack, threadfin salmon and black jew, should be well and truly on the chew.

This month will see brilliant conditions for plenty of fishing opportunities. The only downside to this may be the onshore breezes that begin when the hot land mass begins drawing in air from the vast expanse of the gulf, producing blustery conditions in the afternoon.

Muggy conditions and strong build up with the forthcoming wet season should also be expected throughout October, so keep a close eye on the weather and be prepared to move on the event of a quick squall.

Remember that little gutter you had fished a few times after the wet, when everything was swollen and brown tinged? Well, it now may be clean and green water, coming in gently on a neap high. You will get days in October fishing these seemingly indifferent shallow banks and snags when on the change of tide, all hell breaks loose. They bite their heads off until dusk, making a quiet afternoon into a brilliant one!

October is a month of boom and bust, so stick with it, be prepared to tough it out and the results will be there, lurking.

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