Offshore fires while inshore suffers
  |  First Published: September 2016

I certainly picked a good couple of months to have a break, with the barra fishing being at an all time low. With nearly five failed wet seasons under our belt, northern Australia is certainly feeling the effects of the lack of barramundi recruitment versus the catch effort of both commercial and recreational fishing.

This always happens at the end of every dry cycle, and take another two years of good rain to get back to normal before we see the boom period, which can last a few good years before entering another dry cycle, and things will slowly back off again.

Hopefully as the weather warms, we should see the barra come back on the chew and start to see some reasonable results again. The problem with fishing in the winter for barra is that they need to be in numbers before you get them to bite, as it all comes down to competition in numbers. If there are 100 fish in a school, it is much easier to get the bites, whereas if there are only five fish in the school, it becomes very hard to even get a sniff. With the La Nina weather pattern breathing down our neck again, I think the boom years are not too far away.

Fishing offshore has seen some outstanding results, especially on the making tides up to the new moon. Good-sized trout have been the pick of the catches, although red-throat emperor are still lacking in any numbers. Some big tuskfish have also been coming over the side for a couple of groups of anglers I spoke to. Tuskies are without a doubt one of the nicest eating fish on the reef and will take a variety of baits, but if I had a preference, whole prawns and small crabs are definitely the most attractive options.

Other reports out there is that some of the Wonky Holes are starting to open up again after the slightly better rains this year, although not a full blown wet season. Good-sized scarlet sea perch and cobia are some of the species I have heard coming off them. Wonky Holes are a bit hard to find for most anglers, but for the few in the know, these little underwater gems can hold some impressive fish. Spaniards are quite often found hanging around them during the winter and spring months too.

September will still see some great offshore fishing available, as it’s one of the best months out. Coinciding with the Spanish mackerel run is the run of small marlin and sailfish. It’s also a great month for the lesser pelagics, such as golden and diamond trevally further inshore around the islands. The holes around the headlands are the best place to look for these guys

If you’re a keen sport fisher, the schools of northern bluefin or longtails can pop up anywhere around the inshore areas, just watch for the flocks of terns diving into the water. Small slices and vibes cast into the feeding school is the best way to go about getting a bite from them.

For those of you wanting to learn more about Wonky Holes, we have some free training over at our new website www.fishsmarter.com.au. We have all our free training and premium online masterclasses on there as well as our new forum. The list of free and premium courses will keep on growing over the coming years for those anglers that want to fish smarter or take the short cut to fishing success.

• If you would like to book a charter or join our fishing community for some great fishing competitions etc, head on over to www.ryanmoodyfishing.com. And you could also win a free charter drawn twice a year.

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