Another dry year, but not dry fishing
  |  First Published: October 2015

I apologise for missing last month, but it seemed the world threw everything it had at me and finding a spare few hours to type just didn’t happen. But let’s get down to business and see what fishing options should be on fire during October here in Lucinda.

The first thing I must point out is it’s already warming up and winter is all but forgotten. We have also had a very dry year and the odds are its looking like another non-existent wet season. But anything is possible here in the tropics, so let’s wait and see what mother nature throws at us. What I can say for sure is that there will be fish to catch and it’s just a matter of getting out there and having ago.

Hinchinbrook Channel

This time of year is always an exciting time to be heading up the Channel as everything is possible. Fish that have been quieter through the cooler months are now waking up and getting active as the water starts to warm. This is great news for fishos chasing barra and jacks as these fish have been slow for the last few months.

Also, the seasonal run of grunter (javelin fish) should have started and they will be hungry and putting smiles on anglers’ faces as they fight very well and taste even better.

For those wanting to get a few barra into the boat and most probably into the esky, I would recommend live baiting for better results. Unless your confident with using lures and plastics, live baiting should give you a good shot of hooking up to better numbers. My favourite barra live baiting locations all have the same things in common. Shallower areas, around 2-5m and they’re at mouths of smallish creeks or large gutters with baitfish (especially mullet) in proximity.

I like to spend the last few hours of the outgoing tide collecting good quality baits, most live fish or prawns will do but mullet and gar are favourites. Getting yourself a good supply is very important as you will be amazed at how quickly you can go through baits if picker fish are about. Spending a few dollars and getting a good quality aerator will make sure your hard earned baits stay alive. But simply putting several holes in a bucket and hanging it over the side of the boat will also work well.

Put the majority of your baits in this bucket and leave a few in the boat for first use. Rigs for live-baiting are simple and using a sinker running straight to the hook or a trace rig is the best by far. Make sure you use good quality leader, and no lighter than 50lb as barra have very rough mouths and extremely sharp gill plates that will part finer leader like cotton.

There is also a lot to be said about leaving rigged rods in the rod holder and letting the fish hook itself. I always make sure there is a little slack line so the fish doesn’t feel any resistance when checking out your bait.

Fishing these locations will also put you in with a great chance of the odd mangrove jack and if you also throw out a fresh cut bait (prawn, herring or squid) then the grunter should play the game between the livies going off.

Jetty, Islands and Reef

It’s a great time to be heading out into the blue water with the fishing action normally red hot. The reef fish are normally biting their heads off with catches of coral trout normally making up the majority when you’re cleaning fish that evening. Trout should be hanging around in the 20-30m mark and a dead give-away is the front of large bommies with fusilier hanging off it and good current. You want to position the boat so you are fishing baits down into the front of the reef area that the current is hitting, as trout will be sitting there waiting for the bait to get pushed into them. They normally don’t go too far from home to feed so you need to get baits close to where they are holding.

Another tip to improve results is to move spots after pulling a few fish. Some locations may have loads of trout holding there but in most situations a spot will go quite after putting a couple in the boat. I like to find a good area with plenty of fishable locations, drop anchor, fish the first spot then let out enough rope to fish a new area – which may only be 10m away.

Mackerel will still be in good numbers and the reef edges and points that offer stronger currents are the first location you should look at. Setting up a good spread of lures (or gar) and trolling while keeping your eyes on the sounder is the best method to find where fish are holding. Gar trolled on wog heads is the gun way to consistently catch mackerel and this is what the pro boats do. But normally it’s as easy as setting a floating pilchard on a set of gangs out the back of the boat while targeting trout or reds.

You also never know what you will hook as there have been plenty of rare captures on a floating pilchard over the years. I’ve heard of plenty of marlin, big tuna, mahimahi and monster barracuda all coming boat side.

The red fishing is also at its best this time of year. Big emperor and nannygai will be schooled up in the deeper areas and if you are lucky enough to know the spots or stumble over a good area you should fill the esky with delicious red fish.

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