No rest during the great wet
  |  First Published: February 2008

February in the north means one thing: rain. While it doesn’t necessarily rain all day everyday it is one of the wettest months of the year. Overnight and extended camping trips away on Cape York at this time of year are not a great idea as flooding can occur within hours on roads and storms can make even the smallest trip a real mission.

With this in mind, the closer estuary and land-based fishing will be the real winner this month. The annual closed barra season comes to an end on January 29, so it will be out with the lures and live baits to snare that first keep-able barra of the year.

The land-based fishing is set to fire this coming month with large rainfall totals triggering fish such as grunter, particularly along with the other estuary species, into feeding mode. An amount of water flow, either run-in or run-out, coinciding with early morning or evening should see plenty of fresh fish being served up.

Freshly caught bait is the way to go for most of the estuary species with fresh prawns being the pick of baits in my experience. These can be caught in a cast net around river and creek mouths during the last of the run-out tide and up in shallow bays and accessible drains on the top of the tide.

For this type of land-based fishing I prefer a spin reel (bait casters and sand don’t go to well together) spooled with 30lb braid on a light tipped 7ft rod, a leader or 40lb and a 5/0 chemically sharpened suicide hook. Sinker weight can vary depending on the amount of current there is or if you want some weight to get that bait out as far as possible.

Lighter leaders and smaller hooks will get you more bites particularly if the fish are a bit finicky, but be aware that meter long barra, salmon or queenfish could be just around the corner.

The wet season can be seen as a great time of year to carry out maintenance on tackle and boats whilst keeping one eye on the cricket. However always have your fishing gear ready to go as a break in the weather can often throw up some of the best fishing of the year.

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