Easterly winds? Barra humbug!
  |  First Published: December 2016

Fishing has been slow recently, just like when the barra fishing should have gone crazy, but didn’t. The cold water has been a big issue and the temperature in inshore open waters has been 5°C below normal, which has sent the barra into erratic behaviour. I’ve never seen water this cold around this month. We can only hope it warms up again and very soon. The late temperature rise has stalled the arrival of big golden snapper schools and threadfin.

The past four weeks have had periods of good fishing too. Some periods were cut short with big easterly changes coming through. Easterlies are not a common wind direction here and make it difficult to access Missionary Bay in a smaller boat. It’s harder to travel up the channel in open water, as wind funnels around the island and becomes more of a southeasterly, which is always the hardest direction to go up the channel in. I’ve seen more easterly winds recently than I have in the last four years.

When the barra have been biting, we’re still having good sessions, but not as many as we would like! On a trip just before the closure, we caught three over a metre and another four over 80cm. We had ten bites from good fish and then the very next day couldn’t get a bite anywhere. Barra love stability and that’s something we have been lacking due to sudden weather changes with gusty periods. These gusty cooler conditions keep the water cool.

Spaniards hung around inshore for longer than expected. There are still the odd few in the northern end of the channel, spearing out of the water. Their presence will have something to do with the cooler water, no doubt. There have been plenty of huge gar schools, which is their favourite meal. They’ll make a run for it soon, as they have definitely overstayed their visa, so to speak.

This month, I hope that the golden snapper and threadfin come on, so we can finish off the year with some great sessions on these fish. The larger oceanic grunter will become available to anglers and are quite often a by-catch of golden snapper. Large grunter will also take a small vibe and many other soft plastics for that matter. If you’re going to live bait for them, stick to greenback herring, fresh mullet strip and calamari.

It should be a good month for cod. They’re not an easy fish to find and target if you don’t know what you’re doing. A little tip would be to look for structure on the flats like big logs, and also around channel markers. They will take a wide variety of lures and even take a dead bait, such as a whole pilly.

I’ll be down in Brisbane filming later this month and chasing a few threadies for our online course: Threadfin Tactics. If you’d like to check out the thready course or Barra Basics if you’re a barra fanatic that heads north every year, check them out here at our Fish Smarter website, www.fishsmarter.com.au.

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