Barra beauty bounty
  |  First Published: March 2013

It’s great to have the sun out again and the barra season going off. Anglers have been taking advantage of some great conditions for hunting down Queensland’s most iconic sportfish.

The waters have been a little warmer this year and most of the action is in the shallows. On a number of occasions we have found deep water barra a bit reluctant to bite, but a quick change of methods and your day can change dramatically.

It does not hurt to try different ideas when things are slow because you just don’t know what you might stumble on. Funnily enough some of the most important tricks I have learnt over the years have come to me by pure accident because I was trying out a new idea.

It’s not just the barra that’s been fishing well. The big king threadfin salmon have also shown up in good numbers at times. They can be a strange fish as they are either there or not and don’t really have a regular pattern to confidently target them to a tee. Sometimes they will hang in an area of bait all day and other times you will only get a bite around the change of tide before they move on. I guess that’s why they are regarded higher than barra for many sportfishers. Barra are so easy to catch when compared to threadfin.

Big grunter have been prevalent around the trenches of the outer islands. Some good reports from the Family group, Gould and Eva islands. Remember to keep well away from the Brooke islands as per the Marine Park maps that will show you the location of the green zone. It is rather large and the only green zone at the top end of the island. It’s well worth a snorkel though, as the marine life is amazing.

Golden snapper have been a little hit and miss since the fresh came down the rivers, but it will improve as the fresh thins in the coming weeks.

Another species that will show up are the small tuna that arrive to feed in the nutrient flows off the coast. The medium size marlin are also known to follow these schools. Fish up to 400lb have been encountered this time of year while trolling big baits around the tuna schools. If you’re new to the region and have a gamefishing interest then fishing for these middle size monsters on 30-50lb stand up gear is a great way to fish what was generally thought to be a slower time of year for billfish – give it a go!

Back on the 3rd of this month marked the second anniversary of tropical cyclone Yasi. While Cardwell has pretty much bounced back it is an uncertain future if repairs are not made to the North’s tourism infrastructure. The marina, Blencoe Falls and many other issues regarding tour operators seem to keep slipping through to the keeper. We have had plenty of tourism but not enough activities available. If the marina were underway again there would be more tourism opportunities available for water-based activities. Mmm, election year looms!

During March I would expect to see much the same on the fishing front but it will all come down to whether we get another chapter to our wet season. If not then we will see much more settled fishing as the inner waters quality improves. Towards the end of March we may see an improvement on the reef fishing scene as we start to wander towards the better time of year for outside.

If you would like to come up and support Cardwell’s tourism call us on 0418 538170 or at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com .

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