It’s still early days for the rain
  |  First Published: February 2017

I’ve spent the previous month away on a road trip to Brissy targeting threadfin, so I’ve been away from what’s happening locally. My brother who also runs our charters with me has had plenty of time on the water and has kept an eye on the local scene. The weather has been a little erratic still, with conditions sometimes varying on a day-to-day basis. There hasn’t been much rain. It’s still early, days really.

Some exceptional size golden snapper (fingermark) have been caught both in the day and night. While on charter, my brother Ian spoiled his clients with a nice 92cm fish taken on a vibe during daylight hours. It was caught very close to another mark that I got a couple of months back. The massive schools of 3kg fish that normally infest our water from November haven’t shown up in strong numbers. It seems we have sacrificed numbers for size in the cycle for this year.

Another local angler I know has been doing well at night recently landing seven fish in one session. They were all around the 5-7kg, which are impressive fish. The bigger fish are always easier to catch at night.

Some nice grey mackerel around the metre mark have been great fun too with some of the best numbers seen for this time of year in ages. Small metal slices are the way to go to catch greys and they can be a dead giveaway sometimes as they spear across the surface, similar to a northern bluefin tuna

A few black jewfish reports are in. There’s nothing of real significance. They can be a welcomed by-catch during night sessions for golden snapper, as they are similar in their demersal habits. Many years ago, Hinchinbrook waters were alive with black jew. Over time it came to a grinding halt through overfishing.

While species such as barra and threadfin can sustain themselves fairly well considering the amount of pressure that are on them, it’s the black jew that can’t seem to maintain their levels here by a long shot. Places such as Mackay, Rockhampton and further south have some good black jew fishing available, because the pressure has not reached a critical point. The best thing to do is fish responsibly with this species.

The best thing about what’s to come in February is of course the opening of the QLD East Coast barra fishing season. It’s time for the barra to put their crash helmets back. As for what February has in stall for us weather-wise, will the monsoon open up on us and spoil the start of the season, or will it be plain sailing? I guess we’ll find out. Either way, we need our rains. I’d sacrifice the start of the season for the benefit of the future fishery.

If it’s not raining cats and dogs and there is no flood water spewing off the coastal plains, then you should stick to traditional styles of fishing, as its most likely they won’t go into strange spawning practises. The run-out tides during larger tides are a popular period to fish for all lure anglers. The amount of gutters and drains in the Hinchinbrook area is amazing and they will most probably be the busiest areas too.

I tend to think more outside the square to most barra anglers. I will be looking for more oceanic fish that feed in a pelagic manner around open water and herring schools. Once you get your head around it, it will open up a whole new world of thinking. Those types of methods are being revealed this year in our online barra masterclass Barra Basics.

• 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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