Barra really fire
  |  First Published: April 2012

Recent weeks have seen mixed results for many anglers. It’s been pure luck for those catching the best fish, simply by picking the right times in the patchy weather.

There have been great reports coming from out wide with big emperor touching up some local fishos. Most have been taken out at the shelf in around 80m of water. This is a great time of year to get to the shelf as the pelagics are also quite active.

Bigger yellowfin can be caught just wide of the Continental Shelf, as well as dogtooth tuna around the seaward drop-offs and openings of most the outer reefs. If you are keen on targeting these speedsters, there are a few charter boats up here that cater for that style of fishing, I’d be happy to put you in touch if you drop me a line.

It’s been business as usual in estuaries with the big barra really on fire. Around the Benjamin flats area seems to be fishing best at the moment as this area is far enough away from the Herbert River floodwaters muddying the southern part of the channel. Lure casters have been reporting some reasonable captures around the drains and snags, but that should get better once the floodwaters run away.

Crabbing has been excellent with both commercial and rec anglers finding good hauls. The prawns have also been plentiful with good prawning along the Cardwell beachfront, which should continue into next month, especially if we get some more rain. Remember though, you can only take a 10L bucket of prawns each and the fisheries do enforce the prawning grounds.

April should start to see a slight change to our fishery. While the barra and estuary species are still very active, we should start to see a couple of other favourite species becoming available again.

The giant threadfin should start to show up in deep water again especially when the fresh has run off. I am looking forward to jigging some plastics on their heads again and smashing some of those 15kg models. Plastics are becoming more and more popular for targeting threadfin right across the state.

Late April could also see the start to some early season Spaniards around the islands and the shipping lanes. Spaniards can be targeted in a variety of ways including trolling with wogheads and large shallow minnows, to drifting pillies and casting metal slices. All methods work well and it’s usually fishing the bigger tides that you will have the most fun.

For those keen to catch a monster Spaniard, learn how to rig a wolf herring as they are very effective. However it’s strongly advised that you do not eat anything over about 18-20kg as fish this size and larger can suffer from ciguatera. Anyone else who’s had ciguatera will back me up on that!

Other species that will become more prevalent during daylight hours are fingermark and golden grunter, with both being readily taken on live greenback herring. The only thing that may slow down these two species is if we get a late burst of freshwater.

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