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Blow out the Barra Blues
  |  First Published: November 2010



As expected the recent barra fishing has been excellent leading up to the closure. Live baiters, lure casters and flyfishers have all reported good days on the barra, and as expected I helped a bunch of new metre-plus club anglers achieve their goals.

But not to be outdone by the barra we have also experienced a couple of good runs of big grunter. In fact, I would go as far as saying that just as many anglers target grunter as they do barra during October. Their eating quality is outstanding and they are an easy target for the bread and butter anglers. Just as well they are prolific breeders as they seem to remain sustainable all these years.

The reefs have been fishing well for Spaniards and trout but as predicted the small blacks were quiet during the major tournaments. Sailfish were the main species with plenty of other pelagics thrown in. Hopefully, we should see a good season on the big blacks out of Cairns and Lizard Island in coming months.

The poor showing of little marlin on the inner grounds this year has not come at a good time with the Green’s homeboy Bob Brown saying that the great fish is endangered, which has little to no credibility. I can remember over 22 years ago when I was a pro deckie on the game boats and in those days the world famous Cape Bowling Green billfish grounds were wall to wall sailfish, and a marlin was an uncommon capture. Then they showed from one year to the next in huge numbers and then the sailfish disappeared as the plague of little marlin interrupted the feeding patterns of schooling sailfish and this went on for a number of seasons.

Everything in our fisheries behave in cyclic patterns. The marlin could be on wider currents when we have warm winters. This was the case back in 1991 when Bowling Green failed but boats who ventured out past Davies Reef cleaned up with record stats. So keep your unproven policies to yourself Mr Brown you have already created enough headaches in Australian fisheries!

November is the start of the closed barra season and while many are crying in their soup, I’m excited as this is my favourite month for giant threadfin salmon. Catching a metre-plus barra is all good and a wonderful feat but the Holy Grail fishing the north is a metre-plus threadfin on a lure.

Threadfin salmon are totally different from a barra when they take your lure; they swim at the boat for a few metres first before turning and making a blinding run that even a Spaniard would be proud of. And they can pull a barra around backwards!

The success ratio on big threadfin salmon in Hinchinbrook is very high compared to other parts of northern Australia. During the past month my clients caught 25 threadfin over a metre in amongst the barra with most released, and we still have two more good months at them, can’t wait!

Fingermark would be one of the most popular fish for this time of year with many anglers opting the twilight hours to nail a few of these freight trains. While they are still caught in the day they definitely forage better at night as it’s much cooler than the daylight hours.

Live squid and greenback herring are the number one bait for fingermark. Headland pressure points and deep rubble holes in the creeks are good places to start looking them.

If you would like to come up and join the metre-plus threadfin club call us soon on 0418 538 170.

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