Stable weather, ridiculously hot
  |  First Published: February 2014

Stable weather patterns and ridiculously hot, still days have seen boats of all shapes and sizes exploring our pristine oceans to sample the delights of nearby reefs and shoals.

Reports of hot surface temperatures has seen those anglers targeting top table fish, such as trout and red throat, faring better in deeper waters, with isolated shoals producing some nice specimens by dropping assortments of jigs, plastics and fresh baits. Areas such as Maggie and Shark Shoals as well as Keeper and Lodestone reefs have received their fair share of pressure in recent times, with most success generally for those anglers willing to push the envelope and travel further.

With this month hopefully providing some much need rainfall, take heed of floating debris, these can and have destroyed many trips and vessels of anglers in the past. If you do happen to stumble across these mini ecosystems, take your time and place some casts with any small plastic or hardbodied lures. You might just be lucky enough to tangle with the less common Triple Tail or jumping cod, something which local gun angler Peter Robinson had the pleasure of recently. A brilliant sport fish in their own right and a top table fish to boot.

The open barra season – what keen angler’s dream of and your day job dreads, it’s game on! As attention is turned towards what some anglers refer to as chrome perfection, a reflection of what has passed can not be forgotten. Fantastic reports of golden snapper and mangrove jack continue to flood in, with the Haughton, Morrisseys and further a field Hinchinbrook accounting for a lot of these. Most techniques appear to focus on weedless plastics in exposed snags, with a lot of golden snapper accounted for on FLT Transams in deep water, with ledges and sunken snags holding a majority of the fish.

With the barra season now gaining acceleration, anglers should have their plan of attack in full swing, tides and moon phases mapped, ready to tangle with our premier sport fish. A couple of set ups, including 6-7’ baitcaster, 30lb braid and a 7’ spin, 3000-4000 size reel running 20lb braid should cover all bases. Lures should target all depths and situations to give more consistence results. My chosen arsenal includes Lucky Craft Flash minnows and 100 Pointer XD’s for shallow and deep water applications with a variety of plastics, soft and hard vibes and lipless cranks providing the spice needed for hard bites.

My tips for success this open season is to focus on deep bends and exposed snags, which provide a good obstacle to tidal flow and fish at the right stage of the tide. When is the right stage of this you may ask? Well this will vary day to day, hour by hour. Obviously sounders will help in locating fish and bait, however visual concentrations of bait, deflections of current, transitions of structure and depth variations are observations that cannot be ignored.

With these tips in mind, I hope you all get amongst the fish. If you do happen to land a trophy fish, remember that a high percentage of fish over 90cm are female and should be released to promote future health fish stocks. Fish for the future, bragging is best done by photos, they last longer!

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