Barra going off their chops
  |  First Published: March 2014

The barra season is in full swing and we’re getting some settled weather again which is great. I bet most tackle shops have just about run out of lures now as anglers have started to take advantage of some prime conditions for hunting down Australia’s most sought after sportfish.

The waters are a little warmer this year and most of the fish are in the shallows. On a number of occasions we have found deep water barra very reluctant to bite, but a quick change of methods can change your fortunes dramatically. You should try different ideas when the fishing is slow because you just don’t know what you might stumble on. Funnily enough, some of the most important tricks I have learned over the years have come to me by pure accident when I was trying out a new idea.

As well as the barra going off their chops, the king threadfin salmon have also shown up in good numbers, probably due to the salinity dropping after a very dry year. The kings can be a strange fish because they come and go seemingly without rhyme or reason. Their lack of a set pattern makes it difficult to confidently target them on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes they will hang in an area of bait all day and at other times you will only get a bite around the change of tide before they move on. I guess that’s why they are more highly regarded than barra for many sportfishers. Barra are relatively easy to catch when compared to threadfin for most anglers.

Big grunter have been prevalent up the channel, and there have been some reports from the outer islands as well. One group of outer islands that you can’t fish is the Brooke Island group. The marine park maps will show you where the green zone is; it’s quite large and is the only green zone at the top end of the island. You might not be able to fish there but it’s well worth a snorkel as the marine life is amazing.

Fingermark have been a little hit-and-miss since the fresh came down the rivers but catches should improve as the fresh thins in the coming weeks.

Small tuna should soon arrive to feed in the nutrient flows that came from February’s rains. The medium size marlin are also known to follow these schools, and the area about halfway to the reef is a good place to look for the baby tuna that the marlin feed on. Fish up to 400lb have been encountered at this time of year while trolling big baits around the tuna schools. If you have a gamefishing interest, fishing for these middle size marlin on 30lb and 50lb stand-up gear can be a whole lot of fun. It’s a great way to fish what was generally thought to be a slower time of year for billfish. Give it a try.

On another topic, it’s been just over 3 years now since Cyclone Yasi hit Hinchinbrook, and let’s just say today you would not know it (aside from the still broken marina, but that’s another subject and the only sore point left in our recovery). Our new foreshore development looks awesome and plenty of travellers are pulling up to spend a few bob in town which has been great for the community.


During March I would expect to see much the same on the fishing front but it will all depend on whether we get another chapter to our wet season. If not, we will see much more settled fishing conditions as the inshore water quality improves. Around the end of March we may see an improvement on the reef fishing scene as we approach the better time of year for offshore fishing.

I hope you all get a good wet season and your fishery continues to thrive.

If you would like to come up for a fish call us on 0418 538170 or at www.hookedonhinchinbrook.com. Charters are booking out so get in early to get the best tides. Also check out our additional new website at www ryanmoodyfishing.com.

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