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In full swing
  |  First Published: March 2013



Everyone has been hitting the water lately; never a day goes past that you can cross the bridge without seeing a boat with a fish hooked up. Not only are the barra and jacks going well but the bream and mud crabs are exceptional at the moment too.

The freshwater lagoons still need a decent flush out and the freshwater creeks are still a little hot compared to the salt. Barra are still being pulled in the fresh but more numbers have been seen in the salt in the past month and that’s likely to stay that way.

Estuarine inlets have seen very large numbers and sizes of bream and jacks. With the plentiful supply of baitfish around all you need to do is either match the hatch by gathering this bait or using a lure with a very similar size, action and colour.

As usual any herring style lures are getting the fish. Use a gentle flick and slow retrieve hardbody out of the snags for these estuary species, and a slow retrieve plastic with a fast rod tip lift to get a sharp jerk action from the lure going up through the water columns.

Pre-set your drag if you’re going to chase jacks as they will pull you back into the snag before you know what has happened. If the jack pulls you into a snag give the line some slack and place your rod tip down to try and clear the line from touching around the mangrove, then after a while try and pull it from its hole.

Taking a little metal out early morning on the headlands in the estuaries can see small pelagics taken, such as trevally and queenfish. The metal is best worked so it breaches the surface a little just to create a bit more of a visual effect for the fish and ensure you get the follows. This retrieve is also good for sinking stickbaits and hardbody style spoons.

Crab pots placed well up in the mangroves will see many big bucks caught, especially in areas where the crab pot is out of the water on low tide. The crabs in these areas are very active and more likely to be the big bucks everyone is looking for. Bait such as mullet head, chicken frames and even out-of-date steak has been getting many crabs. Other people have had luck on dog food biscuits but they seem to dissolve really fast and have nothing left in the crab pot in really tidal areas.

As always take only what you need, nothing more as the estuaries have been hammered over Christmas, New Year’s and Australia day and are recovering until they get hit hard again over the Easter period. Mud crabs size limit is 15cm minimum across the carapace and they have a bag limit of ten. The orange crab measurers are the best way to measure the carapace and have all the regulations on it.

Fish light get the bite!

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