October has earned a reputation as being one of the best times of the year to catch barramundi, and so far this year it has exceeded expectations. Catches of 20-30 barra in a day’s fishing has become the norm, with some days producing in excess of 50.
Most of the barra in Weipa are relatively small specimens, ranging from 45-55cm, however some large females have also begun to rear their heads and fish up to the magic metre mark have been released – usually before entering the boat!
Fishing areas close to the river mouths and in the bay has certainly produced the most consistent fishing during October, and I would expect to see this continue into November. Falling tides with plenty of run and low water have seen the gutters and creek mouths fire. Higher, neap tides have also produced great results on otherwise high and dry mangrove banks.
Live bait has been accounting for lots of larger barramundi specimens, however, lure casting can produce far more fish if done correctly. I often get asked which is the best lure to use when barra fishing in Weipa, but there is no black and white answer. In most situations, shallow diving lures will work best. This entails all your B52s, Rapala X-Rap, the good old Gold Bomber, and my all time favourite the Leads Hijacker. Colour choice will depend primarily on the water colour in the area you are fishing, but as a general rule, brown, gold and natural silver seem to work in a wide variety of situations.
Not only has the action increased in the estuaries, but the offshore fishing in wonderful Weipa has also continued to impress. Spanish mackerel are still patrolling the area in more than sufficient numbers, and provide some great entertainment for visiting anglers, as well as an excellent meal at the end of the day. Most of these fish have fallen for deep diving lures trolled behind the vessel at around 4-6 knots, in areas where large congregations of bait have been found.
Tuna are still around; however extracting them from an ever-increasing shark population has proven extremely difficult. Expect to donate plenty of tackle to the ocean when pursuing these animals!
Large queenfish and GT have been caught with poppers and metals in shallow reef areas that create plenty of current and water movement. Fishing the bottom in reef habitats has also been working well, with large numbers of fingermark and black spot tusk fish being taken on soft plastics and squid.
I would expect to find more great fishing throughout November. As the barramundi season is now closed, targeting mangrove jacks and other lure crunching species will become much more popular. Please ensure to take care when releasing barras, as this is their breeding season. Ensuring their survival will help to keep the stocks as plentiful as they have been in the past.
GT have been crunching poppers throughout October, as Graham Schlenker displays.
The author’s daughter, Mia Wright, with her first barra at age 2. Anyone can have a go at these magnificent fish over the coming months!Reads: 1724