The April boom
  |  First Published: April 2014

From all the rain and run-off events in the summer, the barra and king threadfin salmon numbers in the Fitzroy River and surrounding creeks and lagoons are through the roof. There have been some absolute cracker barra and threadies pulled this last month, with more threadfin salmon in the river than ever before.

The recent rains have been fantastic for the freshwater lagoons like the Wool Wash and Frogmore area. However, the most common areas such as the bridges have been heavily fished and are not holding as many fish as you’d normally expect after rains. Taking a walk along the sides and having a crack at the lilies and fallen trees is doing the trick, especially with small plastics and hardbodies.

Unlike previous years when many fish were caught on poppers, the barra have been a little reluctant to take surface lures in recent weeks. However, you can still pick the odd one up with a slow continuous pop. Little 40 and 50mm hardbody lures in shallow diving format have worked well this month, and this trend is predicted to continue throughout the April and May period.

The river has been going well, with barra in the 70cm class being pulled consistently, and there are quite a few crackers amongst the bunch. A lot of the fish have been pulled in the city reaches all the way down to the Devil’s Elbow. As usual for this time of year, a lot of the barra are being captured moving up into the areas they can’t normally get to on low. Many of the land-based anglers have been choosing to run live perch for their barra, and this tactic works very well while there is freshwater flowing from the barrage. The barra and threadfin population is certainly on a high at the moment and this will not drop, however once the months get colder you’ll notice that the areas you catch them in will start to change. The fish will move a little deeper and get a little doughy.

On the lure side of things, there have been many barra taken on lures while trolling in the 6-8ft range of water and using vibrant colours such as yellow and chartreuse. The diving sizes that have been working are anything between 2-5ft. Generally the lures are placed 20-30m behind the boat and trolled at around 2 knots. If there are 2 people in a boat then while trolling the other person can be up on the casting deck if they desire casting lures into the structure on the banks. Some very good fish have been pulled using this technique with hardbody vibes.

Crabbing is exceptional at the moment down on at the port, with many reports on people getting at least 8 crabs a trip per person on the boat and sometimes getting so many they’ve had to throw some back. A good old pack of Tweed mullet heads will do the trick, and lately that’s what many people have been coming and buying to use. The crabs are predicted to be this way at least for the next month, and if the little patches of rain continue and the trickles of fresh keep coming into the river, this trend for crabs will continue.

As always, fish light and get the bite!


Don’t get caught out

To avoid a fine it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with current crabbing regulations:

• Mud crabs are a 15cm minimum across the carapace and have a bag limit of 10 per person with a no take on female mud crabs.

• Crab pots must be labelled with a surname and address of the owner on both the pot and the float.

• Crab pots must have floats and they can be no less than 15cm in any dimension.

• No more than four crab pots can be used per person.

For more information check out the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at www.daff.qld.gov.au.

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