With the closed season for barramundi, the iconic sportfish are off limits. The humble threadfin salmon and many other estuary dwellers are still fair game and there have been a great number of them around. The beaches and estuaries are loaded with whiting, dart bream and flathead, which make for great holiday fun.
Over the past month, some great fish have been caught in our estuary systems, like huge mulloway and some equally impressive threadfin salmon. There has been a decent amount of bait around in the salt with some very good prawn hauls caught by some of the customers.
A lot of people still choose to catch some humble perch and use them as live baits. Catching perch is a much easier method of collecting live bait, as all you need is a cheap bait trap and some bread. Lately many anglers have been fishing Devils Elbow, the rock walls near Curtis Island and some of the feeder gutters at Thompsons Point. Many anglers choose to use smaller weighted lures to entice the jacks, and are still able to cast with their standard barra gear.
Some great lures include Lucky Craft Pointer 78XD, Atomic Plazos Prong and ZMan 4” SwimmerZ. The suspending Lucky Craft can be worked with a few twitches at the snag, left for a bit and slow rolled back. Similarly, the Atomic Prongs can be worked in almost the same way – when left they will sink and not suspend. Finally, the 4” SwimmerZ can be worked with varying lift and drop techniques to get the paddle-tail working.
The local rivers, creeks and beaches will be heavily fished in the holiday period, as they are more accessible to anglers. Take this into consideration when planning your next trip – the beaches will have a higher number of people and the boat ramps will be no different Last month there were heaps of prawns and herring in the systems. Knowing what’s in the system is essential to bait fish and lure fish. Matching the hatch is key, as there are many herring coloured lures and many prawn imitation lures on the market. Using a lure that matches the bait source will increase your odds of hooking up to your next fish.
Deeper gutters and drop offs have been fishing well and this will certainly not change through the next month. Species like cod, flathead and bream are dominant at the moment, but the estuaries are full of other species to catch as well. As the water heats up in the middle of the afternoon, most species will move down into the deeper pockets of water, shadows cast by roots and mangroves or out into the cooler beach waters.
The freshwater lagoons have been going off in the afternoons. The best time I have found is when the sun has just hit the horizon through to the end of last light. Surface lures of 45-80mm have been working a treat. My top picks are the Lucky Craft Bevy Pop 50, River2Sea Bubble Pop 65 and the Savage Gear Pop Prey 7cm. All these lures have worked well. A few pops with a long pause has been the best method of retrieve for me. A good bit of tree line and weed beds in some shallower sections are good living grounds for many different species.
There have been plenty of crabs around lately with many anglers bringing in good hauls. Some of the keys areas have been Coorooman Creek and the Narrows. Lately the main baits being used are mullet heads, which are widely available at any good tackle store. If the areas you are going to be placing crab pots experience a fair bit of run, it may be worthwhile investing in some good heavy duty crab pots, as they will be less likely to get washed away in the big tidal currents this region gets.
I am a big believer in the motto ‘limit your kill not kill your limit.’ Over any period, it’s important to remember the limits to help fish populations recover and continue to thrive. Christmas is a great time to take kids or mates out fishing and teach them about this great past time. Throughout the holiday period have great time fishing and safe travels.