Barra right on night
  |  First Published: May 2012

Recent heavy downpours in the Rockhampton to Gladstone vicinity have laid waste to many fishing holes but improved others.

Saltwater areas are copping it hard from all of the freshwater with many salty areas, such as Auckland Creek, Boyne River and The Narrows shutting down. In the last month, large lagoons, such as the Wool Wash, have seen a massive volume of water stir things up and sending the fish wild.

At this time of year the lagoons normally fire up at night but all the recent heavy rains have flooded these areas creating a muddy mess, which for some reason only the barra love. Fish like tarpon and even sooty grunter have now shut down from this recent impulse of water. The barra are still in large numbers but the time to fish for them is later in the afternoon; the best time is between 5-7pm.

Through this past month places like the Yeppen and Wool Wash Lagoon have been fishing well with fish responding mainly to surface lures, such as poppers and stickbaits, and even unweighted plastics.

The main trick for productive surface fishing in muddy water is to wait for the barra to hit the surface and cast out to it. Chances are after a few short sharp bloops in the area you will have a fish on fairly soon after. Be patient, best results happen after the lure is blooped and left there for a half minute or so.

Surface lures that have tight actions like the Sebile Splasher and R2S Bubble Pop have been smashing the fish population, and shallow divers like the Bomber Long A, Rapala X-Rap and Sebile Koolie Minnows have taken some decent fish just below the surface.

The rains in Gladstone should push the prawns towards the beaches for eager cast netters. If the rain keeps up the prawns may move somewhere else, but for now reports of good prawn sizes and decent catch amounts have come through.

All of the recent rain this month has been terrible for the Fitzroy River putting it in flood, with waters expected to steadily rise. The fish that had pushed up into creeks, such as Gavial and Casuarina, to escape the large volumes of fresh water pouring out will now have moved further up or even gone elsewhere. These fish are somewhat shut down still although 8cm brightly coloured minnows with a short diving bib seem to be doing the trick.

These minnows can be slow rolled back from a snag or sharp short twitches with a little pause can get the fish stirred up and jumping onto the trebles.

Awoonga Dam will now be shut down from volumes of rain and if you are planning on staying at the bush camp, plan again because GAWB will be telling people to leave soon as it is about to be flooded over if the rain doesn’t stop.

In the next month, prawns are expected to be gathered a lot more easily and crabbing should be worth your while if the rain eases.

Just before the river went into flood, reports of extraordinary mud crabs from The Narrows came in.

Land-locked fisheries are expected to quieten down as the days get shorter and the temperature drops, but a decent effort will still see you landing the large specimens. Fortunately with sun-baked water rushing in off farms the water in the lagoons should stay warmer for yet another few weeks. With the water comes insects and other foods stirring up the fish and creating a great experience.

For an unknown reason, signs have been put up at Roopes Bridge stating you can’t fish there. Whether this is official or somebody has just become sick of people being there is unknown.

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