Aftermath madness
  |  First Published: April 2013

Recent rains and flooding in the Rockhampton to Gladstone vicinity have turned those little local waterholes into land-locked fishing madness for the past month and, if occasional light rain continues, we are likely to see some very healthy specimens pulled out before the fish shut down for the winter.

Freshwater areas have produced some great fishing in the aftermath. Anglers have been catching some very large barramundi and tarpon in lagoons and creeks on the flood plains. The occasional rain that keeps happening causes the water in these lagoons and creeks to flow, aerating the water. This is making the fish capable of fighting harder and are much more silver than usual in these areas.

Through this past month places like the Yeppen Lagoon and Wool Wash Lagoon have been fishing well with fish responding mainly to surface lures such as poppers and stick baits, and even unweighted plastics. It is expected in the next month or so when the fish are a little less active and likely to surface feed the shallow divers and lightly weighted plastics will pick them up pretty well.

The main trick I have found in these spots is in the open patches of water; wait for a boil or bit of activity then cast the surface lure right into the middle and slowly twitch it through. This method is best in the afternoons or during overcast day when the fish are constantly surface feeding.

The river has been going well but mainly smaller barra are being pulled in the Rockhampton vicinity. Many people are having luck off the rocks between the two bridges on low and on all the pontoons along the river.

Many of the land-based anglers have been choosing to run live perch for their barra, which work very well while there is fresh flowing from the barrage. These perch can be caught in the Yeppen or Moores creeks on tiny suicide hooks and some worms.

On the lure side of things there have been many barra taken on lures while trolling in the 6-8 foot range of water and using vibrant colours such as yellow and chartreuse. The diving sizes that have been working are anything between 2-5ft.

Generally the lures are placed 20-30m behind the boat and trolled at around 2 knots. If there’s two people in a boat, while one is trolling the other person can be up on the casting deck throwing lures into the structure on the banks. There have been some very good fish pulled using this technique with hardbody vibes.

Once the beaches clear up and the river is back to its normal salty flow the prawns should be on in numbers in all the gutters and mudflats. An 8’ 3/4” mesh draw string net is plenty to snatch up all the good prawns and if you’re not too sure on how to use a net there are many good demonstrations on YouTube and various other sites.

The muddies are set to fire up in all the areas of the river with great success on mullet and catfish. The best bait presentation is to tie the fish in the pot with wire then make incisions along the fish’s body just to let the scent disperse easier. Any old steak past its use by date in the fridge is also a great easy to get crab pot bait.

Look for muddy areas around mangroves to place the pots in or if you’re land-based place the pots around the creek mouths.

Fish light get the bite.

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