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Barra signing off ‘til next season
  |  First Published: October 2007



Look out, things are hotting up again. Just when the fairytale mild weather seemed like it might continue, October is swinging around to spoil the party.

As the haze of distant bushfires lights up under a setting sun, it’s a nice time to wipe the sweat off and relax with a cold beer. There is a fair bet you won’t need a hot shower for the next 5 months!

The barramundi season closes very early in October, so it will pay to get your fix and a feed before the 4th. After a winter’s slumber fish, such as barra, mangrove jack and threadfin salmon ,will all be hot to trot.

The tide regime in this part of the world is confusing to say the least. However, October remains constant in one thing: there is a high tide in the late afternoon or evening for the entire month. Let’s examine what this means for anglers.

Fishing a tide which is trickling in all afternoon, can be a daunting experience when the bite shuts down. The secret to catching fish during this period will depend on an angler’s ability to stay mobile and follow fish up into shallow water as they feed.

Around the various rivers which flow out into Archer Bay a huge network of flats and shallow mangrove margins all hold huge amounts of bait. Threadfin salmon and barramundi can be heard delivering fatal blows to mullet, prawns and garfish.

The secret is to find an area where bait is holding tight in structure, like mangrove spikes or areal roots. Anchoring at the maximum distance to cast into the structure, twitch shallow running lures all the way back to the boat. Sometimes barra will actually investigate the area where you just hooked one of their mates, only to fall for the next lure cast.

It is interesting to note the fish which will move up onto the flats and shallow mangroves. Besides barra and threadfin salmon, a host of other tasty morsels creep in with the tide. Mangrove jack, grunter, fingermark, dusky bream, golden trevally queenfish, blue salmon and the ever present catfish will all take lures in shallow water. If they won’t, smaller flies and soft plastics should bring about results.

As the land continues to heat up throughout the day, strengthening onshore winds can be expected in the afternoons. Most days its best to plan all outside fishing trips to be finished by early afternoon. Either that or pick a gentle afternoon breeze to head out on.

In recent months, manta rays have been combing the inshore waters for the multitude of tiny morsels on offer. Small pods of cobia swim around with these huge, winged rays, giving anglers a chance to cast behind the big black shadow.

It is a very visual form of fishing as the long, sleek, shark-like looking cobia, perform well on light tackle. We’ve eaten fresh crumbed cobia pieces a few times lately and they will be back on the menu again at some stage.

It was interesting to note the cobia coughing up small squid, freshly eaten. It would make great underwater viewing to see a pod of hungry cobia rushing out at some squid, startled by the passing manta ray.

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