Fresh chases fish offshore
  |  First Published: February 2008

January has seen its share of inclement weather that has been responsible for the inconsistent fishing.

Many inshore species will head for deeper water when the freshwater run-off period arrives. Some don’t like the fresh and others don’t get along with the bull shark populations that turn up with the flood run-off.

The fresh also chases the squid offshore, which then makes fingermark fishing at night a little more difficult.

But its not all doom and gloom. The offshore areas are still doing well with pelagics and there is still good numbers of bottom fish willing to take baits during the day as well. A low barometer associated with storm and monsoonal activity does wonders for offshore activity however you may have to put up with the odd torrential downpour.

This same scenario could continue through February, as we will still be in the middle of our monsoon season. I would recommend that if you are visiting in the next month or so to stick to the offshore and islands. Try targeting coral trout, nannygai, GTs and queenfish. There has also been a fair number of northern bluefin tuna about and they should continue for a few more months.

February, however heralds the start of the barra season and both recreational and commercial fishers will be geared up to target them. The good rains we have experienced in January would have done the species well allowing them to spawn and if February experiences the same sort of rainfall you would be better off targeting them well upstream around drain run-offs.

As the floodwaters subside the barra will make their way back to the estuary mouths and inshore islands and headlands. After the fresh disperses they will start to congregate back around the river mouth awaiting one more downpour. If that downpour does not happen and the wet season is finished then they can become an easy target right through to the end of autumn.

I allow clients to take one each day per person and many of them don’t take any at all. It has been good to see people’s attitude change over the last decade. Barra are a hardy species, they breed well and grow quite fast and that always seems to help the species through season by season.

I hope this year is as good as the end of last season. In the dying hours of last year’s season I took Julie and Angie Poile from Anglers Warehouse in Tweed Heads out for a fish. They caught 34 barra over 80cm with most of them better than 90cm. Angie caught the biggest at 106cm and Julie’s biggest was 104cm but she was also unlucky when the last fish of the trip was a monster that took off down the creek and cut us off on something. We used soft plastics and deep trolling methods however the windy conditions pushed the fish deep and they responded better to livies and strip baits. The women only kept two smaller barra around the 80cm mark to take home as well as a memory chip loaded with images of their memorable journey to Hinchinbrook.

If you would like to book a charter this year give us a call early to secure the best dates. You can get me on (07) 4068 6057 or at --e-mail address hidden-- .

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