It is this time in the year that I am thankful for computers. Writing out this column by hand would be rather difficult as currently I have a slight twitch in my casting and writing arm caused by a combination of warming weather, humidity and glimpses of silver.
Yes it’s barra time and although the entire year has produced good catches it is the next few months in the lead up to the wet season that will produce the best and most consistent results.
October is a great time of the year to be fishing the channel as it will be providing excitement in so many fishy ways. The creeks will have the barra and jacks on the chew, and they will be fattening themselves up for the approaching wet season. Find yourself a nice mud bank, some scattered rocks and a dropping tide and hang on - this time of the year both fish are going to smash your offering.
The sand and mud banks around the Seymour river are excellent as they will offer large drains flooding out from the mangroves as the tide goes out. When fishing drains I like to switch to spinning gear as it enables longer casts. You want to be landing your lure or plastic right up in the drain and working it out. The fish will normally be sitting just out of the mouth in the discoloured water facing towards the drain and eating anything that goes by them. Surface lures such as poppers, fizzers and walk the dog type lures are great for this scenario.
The many rocky bays around the ocean side of Hinchinbrook are also providing some great fun. Mulligans, Sunken Reef and Zoe bays have some nice schools of spotty and school mackerel as well as packs of very aggressive queenfish.
I had an amazing session fishing solo last month that saw me drifting by the rocks lobbing poppers and metal slices. Nearly every cast had big spotties and queenies fighting over my offerings. Add a perfect day with no wind, lots of sunshine and some packs of dolphins with the odd whale or two and you have a recipe for perfection. I was just hoping for a GT to complete the day.
Last month saw the grunter making a run and you could tell by the boats anchored in the same areas that these were the spots to target. The many areas around the bluff and Haycock Island will produce fish, the first few hours of the run in tide will normally see the best results. When fishing for grunter remember to use as lighter gear as possible to increase bites. Supple fluorocarbon leader will help when fish are timid and hooks no bigger then 3/0 will see more hook ups and less missed fish. If your serious about grunter fishing then a bait feeder reel is worth looking into - grunter tend to pick the bait up and swim off with it and striking early will see you miss most fish. A bait feeder reel will allow a fish to move off with your bait with very little resistance.
The reefs are all producing good consistent results, the main problem we are faced with is getting the weather to get out there. Wind has been consistent for the last few months and only small windows of opportunity are offered. Heading out at night time has been the better option with the wind normally dropping overnight then blowing up around lunch time.
Plenty of smaller trout are being captured and the red throat are about in massive proportions. Night time is a great time for big emperor, nannygai and trout, so giving up your comfy bed and a nights sleep is well worth it
October is a great month to be drifting around the reef edges and holding onto your rod for dear life as you attempt to arm wrestle some big GT. Days offering big tidal movement are the best for this type of fishing as the old saying goes 'no run, no fun'. Look for areas that have strong current pushing by it and a little white water also helps, these areas should hold bait fish. Did I mention to hold on to your rod? Don't say you weren’t warned.
Again if the weather allows it this time of year is perfect for loading the family and some camping gear onto the boat and heading off to the islands for a night or two. Check the National parks website if you need a permit. It is very hard to beat sitting on the beach of your own little slice of tropical island watching the sun set over the mainland whilst you rest the arms for the coming nights or days fishing or in my case both.
For the family chasing squid is an enjoyable way of spending a few hours as well as securing some great dinner for that night. Squidding is easy and a few jigs is all that is needed if they are about in good numbers. As it is normally so visual the kids will love it and boredom won’t set in.
Now my only problem is choosing what to fish for. Will I head up and bag a few barra or should I chase some queenfish, maybe I should compromise try for some threadfin - gosh it’s tough living in a place where these decisions need to be made everyday. I suppose someone has to do it!Reads: 2833