From ghost town to metropolis
  |  First Published: February 2014

‘Fishing in a sauna’ is the only way to describe conditions over the past month. It looks like we are slipping back into the hot, dry years again, and the possibility of a good wet is just about out the window, but crickey I hope I’m wrong!

Lately the only reports have been of a few grunter showing up around the islands and headlands, plus one crew getting onto a few good golden snapper near Eva Island one night. The boys caught 6 nice fish before a bad northerly rocked up and they decided to make for home. Live squid did the damage that night.

The main thing I have been hearing is how bad the box jellyfish have been. I don’t have to be reminded about them though, after a few minor stings already this season. The area has seen these conditions before – we had really hot summers with poor wet seasons some 15 years ago. Everything is cyclic so we just have to put up with these hot conditions for a few more years and things will change again for sure. They always do.

In February we see the start of the barra season, and our ghost town waterways will once again become a thriving metropolis. It’s amazing how many people go out to chase barra because when the season shuts you hardly see any boats out at all. Lucky for the other species I say!

It’s always a good idea to get your gear in order well before the opening. A lot of people leave it until the last minute so the tackle shops get a bit overwhelmed with a rush of reel services and the like. Something to remember for next year.

If you’re into lure fishing, Hinchinbrook offers some of the best country in Australia with a multitude of gutters, rock bars and backwaters. Fish the falling tide, starting off with the smallest drains because they will drain first, and leave the bigger gutters or small creek mouths until later in the tide. The barra like to sit in the dirty water draining from the gutters, picking off whatever takes their fancy. Fishing gutters at the right time will often come after plenty of practice and getting to know the area.

As with everything to do with fishing, the key to consistent results is simply to accumulate more hours on the water. That’s about the best way to understand your local area, so keep putting the time in.

As for the live bait fishermen, the availability of bait will depend on if we get much rain. If it floods, bait will become scarce for a few weeks and would be best targeted on the beaches to the north and south of Hinchinbrook. Getting away from the fresh has always been the trick to getting decent bait.

If all goes to plan there should be plenty of good dirty water lines and ledges to drop your livies in. The best times to fish will be around 3 hours either side of low tide, so make sure you have got yourself sorted and be ready to fish these prime periods.

If you have no luck you can always give us a call and try to get in on a charter, but unless we have a cancellation we usually can’t take people on short notice. If you’re planning on coming up for a charter this year your best bet is to book well in advance, and you can find out more at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com.

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