Barra not in winter yet
  |  First Published: June 2013

After a lack-lustre wet season, the last of the autumn months have seen plenty of wet days in Cooktown. Although most of the rainfall has been misty drizzle, it is still enough to bring a change of clothes for a day on the water. The good news is that the damp conditions have not put the barra into full on winter mode just yet.

There have been good reports of barra being taken on lure and live bait in the Annan. Cooktown Barra Charters have been reporting great catches of table-sized barra up to 700mm long from the Endeavour River with live sardines claiming about 99% of the fish caught.

Many of these fish have been falling to lightly weighted sardines fished right in the middle of the snags between the Wreck and the Marton Stonewall. During winter the sardine schools can be found in huge numbers right through the system as they follow the clean water on the incoming tide. The mouth of Four Mile Creek is usually a guaranteed net filler when chasing livies.

Local Butcher and keen jack angler Ian Ramsey recently had a red hot session on jacks in the Endeavour. While practising catch and release using pilchards for bait, he nailed 42 jacks in the one session! A 3 hour fishing session like that can only be described as red hot to say the least.

The offshore scene has really started to fire and, along with the decreased action from the local shark population, anglers have been finally getting some decent numbers of reds in the esky. The wider grounds around the back of Big Uncharted Reef has been producing some great fish including trout, green jobfish, red emperor and some thumper saddle-tailed sea perch around 10kg.

Spaniards are back to their typical winter numbers and can be caught just about anywhere from the local Endeavour Wharf to the furthest offshore grounds. I have been saying it for years now, but for any tourists that bring a boat up if they troll around Cape Bedford and across to Snake Reef they would be doing something drastically wrong if they came up empty-handed.

Lakefield has been fishing a bit slower than usual at this time of year from reports of grey nomads, however a few locals have had quite a few 50+ fish days in certain spots on lure.

Timer lures have been claiming plenty of fish for land-based anglers, especially the smaller size. The hand-made Herring from H.J Lures in Townsville in blue and yellow and the 75mm Sard by Twin River Lures in colour #4 and #10 have been producing the best results.

Land-based anglers should be working the weedbanks that get the afternoon sun with a loose, irregular twitch with 3 second pauses doing the damage.

Remember to be crocodile savvy when fishing Lakefield and don’t leave any fish frames on the bank to attract crocs. Until next month, stay safe on the water.

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