Results have been very consistent on most fishing fronts recently, regardless of what the weather has been doing. Fine and still or wind and rain we seem to have been very lucky of late with some good reports all month.
Golden snapper have been the most consistent on the islands and headlands as well as rubble beds in the channel. Night fishing has the best proven results by far, and jigging plastics is also easy as you don’t have to worry about live baits. Fish up to 96cm have been recorded and released, and anyone who has caught a golden snapper over 90cm can attest to their endurance and speed.
We have also seen some steady sessions on the black jew fish at night and day. This year has been the best for jewies for some time and it has been great to be able to drop plastics and soft vibes at them. They take the artificials well and hook up very well on most occasions. We often find them while targeting golden snapper on deep pinnacles and rubble pads. Some of the locals have also said they have seen jewies while chasing golden snapper.
King threadfin salmon have been fishing well, which is expected at this time of year. We rarely miss out on them as there is so much country up in the channel that suits their habits. They should continue into the open barra season and as usual will become a very welcome by-catch.
To catch a thready the best tip is to fish deep on the neaps and up on the shallow flats on the larger tides. All methods work well with plastics becoming my favourite method for them too.
Grunter fishing has also been on fire but be careful as big forktail catties lurk among the grunter schools. They pull hard and are a nuisance while trying to remove them. A long handled set of fishing pliers can be a handy tool for the catfish, and it’s a whole lot better than one of their spines in your hand.
The reef reports have been a bit slow so not a lot to report on the bluewater scene.
February is the start of the silly season up here and that’s mainly attributed to the opening of the barra season. No doubt anglers from Townsville to Cairns will infest the local waterways flogging every last litre of water to foam. Unless we get a cyclone at the opening of the season as we did with Yasi. February is usually our prime month for cyclones and we might see a quiet season again this year. On the 3 February will mark the second anniversary of cyclone Yasi and I’m sure that will be a sombre day for many of the remaining locals.
The easiest way to target barra in the channel is to throw shallow diving minnows into receding drains, backwaters and dirty water lines. Slow and steady twitches for the first couple of metres will be the best time to get hammered. Live baiting into dense shallow timber lines will also account for many school-sized fish with the preferred baits being mullet and mud herring. A dropper rig is best suited to this style of fishing as it will eliminate many snags and suspend just right for a barra’s feeding habits.
The best way to experience Hinchinbrook barra is to hire a guide and if you would like to do so give us a call on 0418 538 170 or through our website at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.comReads: 644