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Dawn of the prawn
  |  First Published: March 2014



The southeasterlies have been relentless over the past couple of months with only a handful of good boating days. This should start to ease off a bit this month but I wouldn’t hold my breath as the monsoon season is still in full swing in the north of the country. Your best bet is to plan a few trips around lakes, rivers and creeks and if the Huey the weather god decides to give us a break grab your chance while you can!

The Burnett River

The river has been firing up with some of the local young guns getting some nice fish on light gear and soft plastics. The grunter have been the main talking point with most guys getting into them with the plastics and bait. As the river has been full of small prawns the grunter have been gorging themselves so obviously the best bait has been fresh or live prawns and the best plastics have been small prawn imitations. Other species have also been chasing these little crustaceans, with lots of bream, flathead and trevally taking prawn baits readily.

As we are now into barra season there have been plenty of anglers out getting into these awesome fish while they can. In my over 20 years of lure fishing the rivers and creeks of our region I have not seen so many barra and this is great. The dam escapees have certainly moved far and wide and, judging by the big numbers of 30-40cm fish being encountered, some of them or their wild cousins have been hard at work.

It’s amazing how these fish have made such an impact in our region, with a massive increase of interest from local and travelling anglers. This of course is a bonus as last year’s floods really hit our recreational industry hard, with months of unfishable water. It’s also great to see the numbers of anglers keen to catch and release barra, giving these fish a chance to increase the population.

The guys fishing the river are getting into the barra in most of the popular spots but the key is being there when they are biting – that’s the real challenge. The change of the tide is always a good option, as is the early morning and late afternoon and evening. Once you get a bite, don’t stray too far. The fish have been schooling up, so where you catch one there should be others not far away.

Baffle Creek

The Baffle is always a very popular spot over the holidays so now is the time to head up there without the crowds. Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan Park tells me the flathead are still around and responding well to soft plastics and slowly trolled lures. The bigger tides have been producing the better fishing with less water for them to hide at low tide.

The barra have also been on the target list again up here, and as this system is very large the fish have been a bit harder to find. Those anglers who have put in the time have certainly been rewarded with some really nice fish.

My favourite species, the mangrove jack, really got hammered over the barra closed season. I can imagine they’d be pretty happy that the barra season is open again! The middle reaches of the Baffle would be well worth a fish this month. Putting in at the ferry crossing and not venturing too far from here should see you tangle with a jack or 2.

Woodgate

The secret’s out: there are some prawns showing up in better numbers again around Woodgate, not just out the front but up the creeks as well. As much as I love a good feed of prawns, I love even more their effect on a river or creek. Just about everything eats prawns, so if they are on the move then the fish will be too.

So get down to this beautiful part of the world, and have a fish, prawn and a swim.

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