Getting back on track
  |  First Published: May 2015

The past rain and cooler nights has worked wonders for many species in the region, with bait in abundance and plenty of predators in pursuit.

It’s good to see plenty of people getting out and having a fish, and the region as a whole getting over the affects of cyclone Marcia. This month’s report will cover the fantastic crabbing the river is offering up, along with the bread and butter species around the creeks and some inshore pelagic species just out of the mouth of the port

The recent rain has created a massive run off in the freshwater areas and has produced some great fishing as a result. People have been catching some very large barramundi and tarpon in the lagoons and creeks on the flood plains, but this most common size has been around the 60cm mark. The influx of water has produced a spike in food courtesy of all the small aquatic animals and bugs coming off the flood plain making the lagoons and creeks full of healthy baitfish, and happy hunting ground for hungry fish..

The port and river mouth has been fishing well with many of the bigger fish moving to this location from the recent flooding. The islands just out from the mouth have been fishing extremely well with lots of bait in the area. Trolling for mackerel with baits can be made easy with a chin guard fitted to the bait. The weight keeps the bait straight and sinks it down into the water, and a slow speed will allow the bait to swim. Positioning the ganged hooks on the back of the hooks also allows for optimum hook-up.

As far as baiting for the region’s most iconic fish, the barramundi, a cast net is an easy tool to productively gather the baits required, in this case the prawns and mullets that reside on the flats and along banks of the river. A simple running rig for both baits is an easy way to set up; sinker, swivel, leader, and 6/0 circle hook. The optimum sinker size is one that’s just large that the current flow will move it very slowly, letting the bait cover ground. For hooking the baits, pin the mullet through the shoulders, and the prawn through the back section of the tail. This will give both baits the most amount of movement.

On the lure side of things for barra there have been many caught by anglers trolling vibrant coloured lures (yellow and chartreuse) in 6-8’ of water. The best lures have been those that dive between two and five feet. Lures are best positioned 20-30 metres behind the boat, and trolled at around 2 knots.

In the next few months once the river calms down and the freshwater influx subsides the river will be fishing well with standard techniques fished around the rocks and drop offs go-tos to catch fish. For anglers in the fresh the key areas to target will be the shadows and overhangs, instead of the pressure points and back eddies that have dominated for the last few months.

The mud crabs have certainly been kicked into gear with all the stuff coming down in freshwater run-off. Many pots have been coming up winners with little to no females and some of the big bucks. Reef fish frames have been doing the trick, while pots dropped adjacent to creeks and areas of inflow have produced the better hauls. Generally the pots are best put in a straight run with 20-30 metres between them. Remember fish light get the bite.

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