Temperature rising, bring on that heat
  |  First Published: October 2012

It is all getting rather exciting in Lucinda.

The tropical north is warming up at a quick rate of knots and I am willing it on. It’s no secret it’s barra time and if you haven’t already gotten out amongst them then grab the baitcaster and hit that water.

October really is a magical month as it kicks off the early build up of heat and humidity – perfect to get the estuary firing and those barra boofing.

Hinchinbrook Channel

The barramundi is on top of everybody’s wish list; closely followed by the mangrove jack.

The water temps are climbing, meaning that the bait moves into the creeks and the fish really start to feed up. For lure fishos this means that lures and plastics aren’t just being nudged out of the road, there getting smashed with savage strikes and aggressive fish. Are your hooks and knots up to the challenge?

For those interested in getting into a Hinchinbrook barra then spending the last half of the run-out tide quietly drifting around the mud flats or down a snag-filled bank is a great way to do it. Targeting the small drains and the abnormalities in sand or mud banks with shallow running lures will be effective. Using plastics that imitate prawns and grubs will also get you into the fish.

Around this time of year I find most of my fish in the snags up creeks. Maybe I am a little biased as I spend more time snag bashing than on the flats but the fish seem to be waiting for a feed more so in the snags around this time of year in my local creeks.

When fishing the snags it is important to choose the right lure to give yourself the best chance of hooking up. I see too many people snag bashing with shallow lures, such as Bombers. They will get you fish but a quick deep diving lure will get more hits. This is because it will get down into that strike zone quicker and, by slowly twitching, it will stay there for longer. Deep diving lures can also be worked shallower by using a high rod tip and slow retrieve.

Gathering some live bait and letting them swim around in a hole or creek mouth is a deadly technique. Anybody still not taking the time to secure some fresh live bait is missing out.

Mangrove jack are sharpening their teeth and doing push ups in readiness to smash the daylights out of whatever you throw at them – did your casting arm just twitch? An exciting and highly effective technique for jack fishing is the use of small floats and live bait. Find yourself a snag-filled creek bank and position the boat in easy casting range of the snags.

Choose a time when there is some run in the tide as you want to slowly ‘float’ your baits into the snags. Set the bait about 1m underneath and then hold on. I suggest hanging on to the rod as it can (and will) be over in seconds.

Islands and Reef

FNQ has had a great run of juvenile black marlin and sailfish over the last few months with plenty being caught.

Heading out about halfway to the reef and trolling skirted lures or slowly trolling live baits around bait schools and current lines normally saw a fish, or several. There were mornings where the small mac tuna seemed in football field size schools and it really was exciting trolling around them with lures.

It was my first experience in my boat chasing these fish and I loved it. I will never forget how it can turn from boredom to the most adrenalin pumping moment in your fishing life.

In saying that, just breaking out the light spin gear and chasing the bait was fun and I had to remind myself to keep my mind on the prize – something with a beak.

There will still be mackerel hanging around and normally in big schools as they feed and breed. When they are like that it is easy to boat plenty of fish so please remember to keep only what you need.

Fishing the reef for trout will always be rewarding and as water temps increase the trout will move back into deeper water. Dropping fresh fish bait or pilchards into 30-40m should see you with a few delicious trout in the esky.

There have been some terrific nannygai being caught at the moment but sharks are being a nuisance and many moves are needed sometimes to escape them.

I’m off to Japan this month for a holiday and am looking forward to checking out their tackle shops. Apparently there are other things to look at, but you have to have priorities.

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