The fishy food court
  |  First Published: September 2014

As the seasons change and we move from the grip of a tropical winter, the T-shirts are stored away and we once again reach for our singlet. So what’s in store for us over these next few months as temperatures begin to warm? Read on!

For many anglers the excuse of sitting out the winter and watching as the high-pressure systems float over southeast Australia can all too easily lull us into a period of heavy sedation. If I cast my mind back to earlier Septembers, images of beautiful conditions and startlingly clear waters come to mind. But admittedly, it is a bit of a lottery at this time of year.

As a guide working up in Cape York, something magical happens on September 1. It’s as if the winter blues have suddenly washed off and you begin to picture hungry barramundi again. Fish will be feeling far more sociable after their winter slumber and mullet schools will begin to get extremely edgy.

It’s true to think of barramundi as social creatures. Lets imagine that there are 50 of us walking around the mall. Why are we at the mall? Conditions are comfortable, it’s easy to get a feed and others are also gathered there, giving it a sociable vibe. It’s about lunchtime and everyone is beginning to get a little restless around the food court. Next thing someone yells out ‘fight’ and everyone heads over to check out what all the ruckus is about!

You can use this analogy to catch far more fish in September. Conditions are settled, fish are moving into feeding locations like the mall and, once you figure out where they are gathering with the tide, it’s best to concentrate all your efforts at the food court! Sometimes it will take a bit of time for the fish to show up, but good scores are the result of patience in September.

A good example comes to mind of some very consistent fishing we have had during September in one of the Gulf rivers, but the concept is similar for most of them. Especially where a shallow bay or tidal lake is a feature near the mouth, the shallow gutters feeding deeper water can be a great place to target barra. Sometimes trolling shallow divers a long distance from the bank in around 8-10ft of water can be hugely productive on a slowly receding or making tide.

If you find the fish sitting out wide but well concentrated, try lowering your pick just upstream from the feeding patch of barra and begin casting shallow divers, vibes and soft plastics to pinpoint them. Small black jew, grunter, golden trevally, mangrove jack, fingermark, queenfish and trevally will also feed out on the sandy current lines if bait is sweeping past with the tide.

September is a great month to use visual clues to unlock the best fishing around the inshore grounds and estuaries. Snags will be very visible by now, as will some of the deeper rock bars that were hidden for months following the wet season.

It is for this reason I do a little more trolling this time of year to search out likely stretches of river and wider areas that I expect to hold fish. Looking for converging currents and visual clues of bait locations plus a sharp eye on the sounder will yield great results.

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