Spaniards, barra start fine fishing season
  |  First Published: October 2007

It is about time the warmer weather started to poke its head out. I have certainly had enough of the many cold snaps during one of our longest winters for some years, especially when your travelling at 35 knots on sunrise with the full blast of the wind in your face.

The warmer weather is bringing some of our more temperate species back with the arrival of the golden grunter right on time. They are an easy fish to catch and are very popular with recreational fishers, both local and interstate. The best baits are small live greenback herring, both live and fresh peeled prawn and of course their favourite which is whole fresh squid. A simple running rig with just enough weight to get you to the bottom, depending on current, is sufficient. Keep the distance between hook and sinker around the two foot mark. This will allow the bait to move around more with the current and when the fish takes the bait they do not feel the same weight on the line as they would if the sinker was closer to the hook. This is the method I use as I don’t fish in freespool like many other fishers do.

In the past month we have still seen some excellent Spaniard fishing and many of the local anglers have been getting some top fish when the weather allows. The GTs and big queenfish have also kept everyone entertained while fishing in amongst the Spaniards as well. I have not heard too many reports on billfish because the best period of the month was blown out, but I will have all the results from our upcoming tournaments in the next issue.

During October we will see the barra and jacks fire up. Many of the larger barra that move out to the offshore headlands and islands for the winter move back to the inshore flats and rivers to get ready for the start of the spawning season. This is the time of year I like the most. You can live bait, lure or use soft plastics on barra as they take a wide range of artificials and baits. When using live baits I prefer to use large yellow fin or mud gut mullet.

Yellow fin are best found on the beach fronts especially near creek or river mouths as well as sand spits and other obstructions. But don’t think its that simple as they are fast movers and a fair degree of fitness and a good arm with a cast net will help your bait catching abilities as you have to run the beach in order to ambush them. However if your body is not up for this you can try looking inside creek and river mouths for gutters and backwaters and in these areas you should find mud gut mullet – they can easily be targeted from a boat using the cast net. When using a cast net go for a well built monofilament in one inch mesh. Monos are far superior to nylons when it comes to bait catching. Their main benefits are that they sink a lot flatter and don’t close up when using them in deeper water. They have a lot less resistance, they are harder for the bait fish to see and they don’t become heavy as they do not retain water.

Other baits that work well are large mud herring and legal-sized whiting. When live baiting for large barra make sure that you are fishing where there is current as well as looking for rock bars and the large sand pinnacles that form in front of deeper holes. Other good places to start looking is where dirty water lines are formed on the corners of river bends and headlands especially if there is a pressure point and you can see the current bouncing off it. I would recommend that you fish just in front of the current line and on the edge of the dirty water line. If you are using a hard body or a soft plastic work the entire dirty water line. I have noticed over the years that an artificial with a darker contrast or a gold and black pattern works well in the darker water. Above all, having a good sounder and being able to use it effectively is well advised.

This is one thing I cant show you in the column but if you come up for a charter I will gladly run through some tips that will get you pointed in the right direction. You can get me at --e-mail address hidden--

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