Prawn: Back to School
  |  First Published: February 2011

Prawns will start schooling up this month so start your attack now.

The easiest way to locate the prawns is to take a run up the creek on low tide, if you come across a string of boats throwing cast nets then you’re on the money – it’s that easy. If there aren’t any boats around, take a good look as you will often disturb the prawns as you motor through the schools, they will jump around as your wake makes contact with the creek bank.

You don’t need a great big net to catch prawns; they are more trouble than they’re worth as they quickly cause fatigue. You will find smaller nets are much more manageable and don’t wear you out. I use a 8ft net, but anything from a 7-9ft are best when cast netting from a boat.

There are lots of mud crabs around with all the fresh dirty water making it easy to catch a feed. There seems to be a lot of empty crabs around that are not worth taking, but as usual there are a few good rusty crabs in amongst them, you just have to sort the full from the empty.

There have been some good bream and summer whiting getting caught, they seem to like the dirty water and all the food that is getting washed out with the fresh. Bream are the most reliable fish to chase in the passage at the moment.

There have been some good mangrove jack and estuary cod being caught on the mangrove fringes of the creek mouths on the larger incoming tides. There are quite a few bull sharks and tigers cruising around the passage that can be caught if you have the right fishing gear to stop them.

The passage has more to offer than just fishing, the sights and experiences you can endure on the water are amazing. I’ve seen dugongs the same length as my 4m tinny; my brother-in-law had one scratching its back on his anchor rope. I’ve seen dolphins in big pods come within arm’s reach of my boat, rays leaping 1m clear of the surface, turtles just about everywhere you look, stingrays swimming in the shallows by the dozen and too many bird species to list.

With this in mind, I recommend a day of fishing on the passage this summer. If the fishing doesn’t please, the ambiance certainly will.

Kit out

I often get asked what’s my favourite rig or lure, which is like asking my 3yo daughter what’s her favourite ice cream! I have so many favourites it’s hard to know where to start, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Rule number 1 – don’t buy cheap hooks, swivels, leader or line. It is your connection to the fish and the cheap stuff will let you down, you don’t want to lose a good fish just to save a few dollars.

Hooks: Gamakatsu, Owner or Black Magic. As with all types of hooks, watch your tips as the saltwater can take the edge off. I use Black Magic KL as they get solid hooks ups and the fish don’t tend to throw them during a fight, plus you get very few snags on them. They are a light but very strong hook that don’t lose their tip edge.

Leader: Sunline or Black Magic are my pick.

Swivels: I put my trust in Black Magic.

Main Line: Sunline braid or Finns. Sunline is a lot smoother, rounder and holds less water than Finns and doesn’t go furry or lose its colour. I know Finns fans may get cranky at me for saying this, but I find Sunline is far more advanced, has a better life span and creates less drag when flicking and retrieving.

Reads: 1865

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