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Waiting for the weather
  |  First Published: March 2014



By now everybody has started to get over the barra fever and, all going to plan, there have been plenty of jumping chrome bullets on the end of lines.

March is a very interesting time in the tropics as normally it means rain and plenty of it. So far we have had barely anything and this means that fishing for the coming year will be tougher.

Fingers are crossed that the sky opens up and plenty of fresh water flows through the channel bringing life and spectacular fishing action for the rest of the year.

Bring it on!

Hinchinbrook Channel

Tough days up the channel have been the norm for most anglers, as the barra fishing after the opening was tough with dirty water and big tides. This is only going to get better with the wet season kicking off and, with the barra really firing up, there should be plenty of fun and games for those that put in the time and effort.

During the run-off period I spend most of my barra days lobbing shallow running lures into the many drains that Hinchinbrook has to offer. This type of fishing is very easy and effective as it means that casting does not have to be pin-point, meaning the family can get amongst some lure caught barra as well.

For those that are new to the area I would suggest heading out and looking around at low tide to find yourself a bank that has plenty of drains coming from the mangroves. Drains don’t have to be big, the smallest trickle that causes a colour change will hold feeding barra at stages.

For best results, start fishing the drains about half tide down as the water just recedes out of the mangroves. Try to use the tide and any wind to quietly drift down the bank keeping close enough to allow your lure or plastic to land right on the edge of the bank, but stay far enough away to not spook the fish, this is important.

Nice slow twitchy retrieves keeping the lure or plastic in the fish’s face for longer will bring more hits.

Don’t be surprised to catch jacks and small GT as they will hang about looking for that easy feed. If you get lucky you will find yourself the perfect drain, which will be pushing discoloured water and heaps of baitfish out and will feature a nice snag sitting in the front. This will have fish written all over it and this type of spot should be given a good amount of time, throwing the anchor out nice and quiet and peppering this spot could see multiple fish in the boat.

The other type of area to spend some time in is the rocky headlands; once again Hinchinbrook has plenty of this on offer. When fishing the headlands a quality sounder is very important as it means you can actually sound around and find fish then drop down into them or cast at them. The side scan technology that is on offer is great for this fishing as it very possible to find fish hanging off the points and target these fish instead of blind casting all day.

Structure, discoloured water and baitfish – put these three factors together and you are very close to getting into the barra.

Islands and Reef

Getting out wider is very dependent on the weather and what it will allow us to do. The fishing should be going off, especially if you head out after a period of rough weather. For those that wait for the perfect flat seas you may be making it hard on yourself to experience insane fishing sessions. It is very clear to me now (after bashing into messy seas for a few years) that even well fished spots fish extremely well after rough weather. So if you are prepared to get a little wet and salty you should be rewarded with bent rods and action aplenty.

Nannygai are about in good numbers and there are some big ones on the closer spots that will pull your arms off, especially when you’re using lighter gear. Nannygai, small and large mouth, are schooling fish and when they come on the bite it is very easy to get your limit. They also suffer from baratrauma and will die if you release them. Once you have enough for a feed it is best to move away from them so to not kill them unnecessarily.

Mac tuna may not be much of an eating fish but they are providing amazing sports fishing for those that enjoy that type of stuff. I must say that plenty of my reef trips have been spent chasing tuna schools around the ocean and I normally head home with nothing but a couple of those for reef baits in the future.

For me casting a small slug into a feeding frenzy of tuna and watching 100m of braid rip off my spool is hard to beat. I am very happy to watch endless boats fly by me as they head for the reef, leaving me the school to fish on my own.

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