All the rain and run-off events, although less than previous years, have significantly helped the newly recruited fish stocks to move up into the freshwater and there has been a massive boom in bait. A lot of this rain did come late February to mid-March from the monsoonal low, ex-cyclone, and it was a welcome relief not to be belted by one this year!
The river has fished well with plenty of barra in the 70cm+ range pulled in, and many anglers smashing meter mark barra. There were even reports of a few 130cm+ fish! A lot of the fish have been pulled in at the city reaches all the way down to the Devil’s Elbow, but the bigger ones have been more common down the Port, Narrows and Thomsons Point areas. As is usual at this time of year, a lot of the barra are captured moving up into the areas they can’t normally get to on low. Many of the land-based anglers have choosen to run live mullet for their barra which is a very effective bait. They commonly pick up threadies and sharks with this method. The barra and threadfin are certainly high in population at the moment and this will continue, however you will find them in different areas once the weather get colder, as the fish move a little deeper and get a bit doughy.
Barra have taken vibrant coloured lures such as yellow and chartreuse trolled in 6-8ft of water. The diving sizes that have worked are anything between 2-5ft. Generally the lures are placed 20-30m behind the boat and trolled at around 4 knots. If there are two people in a boat while trolling the second person can be up on the casting deck if they desire, casting lures into the structure on the banks. Some very good fish have been pulled using this technique with hardbody vibes.
The local creeks leading into the river are still trickling with fresh water run-off, and finding the areas where this water meets the tidal saltwater makes for brilliant fishing. A variety of species can be found in these areas but the most common is barramundi. Flick around smaller 5-7cm hardbody lures and live bait to productively fish these areas. Many of the fish are smaller barra trying to push up into the fresh to get to the plentiful supply of baitfish and grow, however there are quite a few large specimens around that can be gone as quick as they hit the lure. Along with all the barra trying to push up, many other saltwater species such as bream and flathead will still be readily available to target at the back of the saltwater creeks.
The recent rains have been fantastic for the freshwater lagoons and creeks like the Wool Wash, Frogmore and Headlow areas, however the most common areas such as the bridges have been heavily fished and are not holding as many fish as is normal after rains. Take a walk along the sides and have a crack at the lilies and fallen trees, especially with small plastics and hardbodies. I found sx-40s, Pointer 48s and 3” ZMan Grubz do a great amount of damage as they closely matched the smaller bait hanging in these areas.
The fish have been more open to taking poppers this year than in previous years, which is likely due to the increase in moths and other insects around the area. Use a slow continuous twitch to work these lures effectively. The amount of bugs is likely due to the rain kick-starting all the vegetation. Some viable options for this kind of fishing include Lucky Craft G-Splash, R2S Bubble Pop and Kato Karnage micro poppers.
Crabbing is pretty good at the moment with lots of anglers catching a heap of bucks at the Port, Narrows and Coorooman with many reports of at least six crabs a trip per person on the boat. A good old pack of tweed mullet heads will do the trick. The crabs are predicted to be active like this for at least the next month, especially if the little patches of rain continue and the trickles of fresh keep coming into the river. Remember – fish light, get the bite!Reads: 480