Estuaries flick the switch
  |  First Published: October 2016

To say that we live in a unique area of Queensland is a fair understatement, as we are surrounded by industrial bright lights, intricate and abundant rivers and creeks and a harbour dotted with islands that lead us out to open waters where the fishing opportunities are endless.

We reap the rewards of our southern and northern species, with our fish varieties covering a broader spectrum than most areas.

One that comes to mind is the barramundi. While salties are present in healthy numbers here, nature gave our rivers a big boost, as most know with the floods of 2011 pushed thousands of them into our rivers and throughout our harbour. Awoonga’s fishing has been affected, but over the time it’s sharpening its pencil and is coming back to its former glory.

With closed season in tidal waters next month from 1 November, now is the time to get the mind switching into gear of where and how to target them before closure. I do not profess to be a guru in any fishing realm, and while I generally catch what I target, I, like most of the readers out there, learn from what I read and who I speak to. But most of all, I learn from putting these things into action and from there it is trial and error. 

What I do know about catching barramundi in our waters is that the possibilities are endless, starting in the fresh from Pikes Crossing, which is a major draw card for the avid barra angler, as it produces constantly in the warmer months. We should start seeing some results as we move through October. Both hardbodied and soft plastic lures work well on the cast, but it should be noted that even though this area is freshwater, it is closed throughout the closed season, which goes for all waterways east of Awoonga Dam. 

Efforts concentrated in the upper reaches of The Calliope and Boyne rivers will see more results than downstream, and night time is prime time at the moment. Live mullet is the go-to bait, however white paddle-tail style plastics are doing the job.

The harbour and north towards Targinie and Grahams Creek are fishing great at the moment, and again with the creeks, move to the upper reaches and work your way back from there. They go off at night around the full and new moons, and trolling through on the incoming to high tide has been a winner.

When fishing inshore this month, try to seek out clear water, fish the full and new moon phases, remember that incoming tides are best, look for bait and structure to flick or troll past, and finally, match your lure depths to your sounder so as to fish where the fish are holding.

The fishing throughout September picked up from some slower times through August, which was great to see. The estuaries have been showing some excellent numbers of mulloway, and a few 20kg+ specimens were also caught in the Harbour. Threadies are also picking up their game around South Trees and up Port Alma way.

The Calliope is still giving up some nice size bream upwards of 38cm, which is a fair healthy sized catch in anyone’s books. The bigger of the flathead that tend to hit around this time of year are in good numbers around the Colosseum, the mouth of Lillies Beach and around the drains toward the mouths in all systems. When chasing flatties, be mindful of size limits, as there have been some big girls caught.

The reef areas have been consistent, with the usual suspects showing up, such as your larger red-throat and tuskfish, and we have also seen some reports of nice coral trout filtering through, which is exciting.

Pelagics have been a little quiet depending on what day you are out, from one day to the next the action can be hot to no activity, but this will improve considerably as we move toward November.

That’s it for me this month! I hope we all get out and catch a barra before closure and respect the rules after 1 November.

My new boat should be up and running soon, so I hope to be able to give her a few nice runs throughout the month and chase a few mud crabs!

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