Plenty to grab in the Gulf
  |  First Published: October 2013

October is without a doubt one of the premier months to wet a line on the western side of the cape. The barra are now having a well-earned break in the annual closed season, so let’s hope for a good wet season and some cracking fishing to follow.

Although the barra are having a break it’s the diversity in the fishing around Weipa that sees our Octobers booked out 12 months in advance. The first thing that works in a fisher’s favour is that the ever-present southeasterlies begin to drop off, particularly in the afternoon, with a westerly sea breeze the norm. The Gulf’s weird tides also come into play with days of 16 hour slow run-ins making for beautiful clear warm water. On beautiful sunny days, the fish can be caught wide and far using all forms of fishing.

Fly fishing will be at its peak with near perfect sight-casting conditions on the flats with anything that will take a fly the target. Permit will ‘daisy chain’ and pair up as they look to spawn, while blue bastards and black spot tuskfish will roam the shallow reef flats on these slower tides. Large numbers of queenfish and golden trevally will keep you casting between sightings of these tricky customers.

The reefs and shoals, shallow and deep, will fire with overnighters a top way to get a feed of reefies, particularly before the evening storms start to roll in later in the month.

Further offshore Spaniards will continue to school on the deeper shoals while longtail tuna will cruise the clearer water and current lines eating anything in their path.

October is also the pick of the months to target a billfish on the wider grounds. The Weipa Billfish Club will be holding its annual Billfish Tournament on the 5, 6, and 7 and with reports flooding in of epic days on sailfish in the past month it looks like it will be a great comp. Bait rigging and tackle nights will be held prior to the comp for those new to this form of fishing, the Friday night prior will see a great night held at the Carpentaria Golf Club with teams able to nominate and the added fun of a Calcutta will be thrown in this year. Full results will follow in next months report.

September started off pretty slow on the fishing front with nearly two weeks of strong wind warnings to start the month. These brought all sorts of funny weather, including unseasonal rain and cooler nights but, once the wind dropped, the warm days followed and the fishing really picked up.

Offshore Spaniards have been biting well prior to and after the moons but with most schools down a bit deeper it has been jigging and crazy deep Halcos that have done the job.

Those willing to put in the effort and be prepared to travel a bit have done the best on the bottom fishing, steady catches of golden snapper and tuskfish have trickled in with quality rather than quantity the norm. Expect this to pick up as the weather and conditions improve.

The last month of the barra season started slow in the ordinary weather but two warm days later and they switched on the chew. I spent a few days fishing the upper part of the Wenlock and Ducie rivers for some really nice fish; most of which I imagine were on their way down river for the annual spawn.

Beautifully conditioned barra of nearly every size took well presented lures around most snags and creek mouths we could find. There were also plenty of bycatch, such as blue salmon, in the estuaries that were alive and well in the lead up to the wet.

Locally the Weipa area has given up some big barra to those in the know, or just plain lucky. Metre-barra were taken throughout September with big live mullet the go-to bait, closely followed by a fresh slab. However, with the season now shut give the barra a break, let them breed in peace and have a crack at a new species that you may not have targeted before.


Barra will be off limits as of October 7 so avoid targeting them and let them do their thing.


I’ve been busy jumping on crocs with the Australia Zoo crew, here’s Boothy cuddling a 13 footer from a few years ago.

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