Sharks shadow fishing catches
  |  First Published: November 2013

The barra season has been a good one with plenty of happy clients, but a few frustrated ones when their fish were intercepted by an unusually bad run on bull sharks.

Maybe the early NW winds have brought the sharks in early. Some days we have had every fish tampered with, including some lovely metre-plus barra and king threadfin salmon. We always have a run of sharks at certain times each year but this year has been the worst. Even offshore anglers are bleeting that they can’t get fish past them. Hopefully they will be finished soon and we can get back to some unhindered fishing.

Bread and butter anglers have been reporting some great catches on the golden grunter or javelin fish. Fish up to 75cm have been reported and they have been caught over a wide area.

Squid and mullet strips are always a popular bait, but you can’t beat a live greenback on a running rig for the really big grunter. They would have to be one of the most targeted species among rec fishers in northern Australia; probably because of their superb eating quality.

We have been catching some outstanding golden snapper otherwise in recent weeks. Soft vibes have been accounting for many decent fish to 78cm. Deep rubble areas and pinnacles seem to hold the best fish and if you can find a new spot that’s never been fished then some entertaining sessions can be expected. Remember only take a couple and let the rest go as this could end up a vulnerable species if it’s overfished.

It has been a reasonable Spanish mackerel season with some great captures coming from the reefs, such as Otter and Britomart. Most Spanish are now offshore until next winter and let’s hope they get in a good spawning run to keep them ticking over.

The light tackle billfish tournaments are now all finished for this year and once again some good numbers of billfish were tagged. If we can get a good wet this year it should see to it that there will be plenty of baitfish out on the grounds, and it should produce some excellent fishing next year too. Great to see the tournaments raise the line classes to 10kg these days.

In November I’m looking forward to targeting black jew, king threadfin salmon, and golden snapper with the barra being off limits.

November is the best month for black jew. They are mainly an accidental capture while targeting golden snapper. They respond well to live mullet and greenback herring, as well as soft vibes and plastics. They are a stunning fish to eat but they are not that plentiful in northern waters as they used to be. Over fishing in the early days saw their downfall but they are slowly making a return.

King threadfin salmon are a popular fish and these days I’m doing almost as many thready charters as I’m doing barra trips. They are so hard to capture that most anglers give up trying and many sportfishos will say they hold a threddy more prized than a barra. We will be mainly using soft plastics on them during the warmer periods.

Deep water and hard mud or rubble bottoms that house many small crab are a good place to start looking for the king threadfin salmon. They run their whisker through the bottom as they forage along looking for tasty morsels. They are also the number one target for bull sharks so be a little wary if handling them alongside with no landing net. We do lose a few to sharks every year but that’s nature doing its thing and we just have to put up with it sometimes!

• If you coming up this way in November or December and would like to do a charter contact us via our website at www.hookdonhinchinbrook.com.

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