Local fishing action has gone into overdrive lately with excellent bites in the lakes, rivers and estuaries to everywhere offshore.
Inshore, there have been good reports of quality fingermark, jacks and plenty of closed season incidental barra captures.
The freshwater lake scene has come alive with some large barra being taken around build up to the full moons. Peter Atwell and Peter Burke had a ball down at Peter Faust Dam recently where they managed to capture seven 1m+ barra.Offshore, the gamefishing fleet have been nailing down the lid on another highly successful black marlin season. The local bottom fishing reef fraternity have been filling up their eskies on quality coral trout, red and spangled emperors, nannygai and some big late season Spanish mackerel. Pleasant offshore weather conditions have allowed anglers to get a long overdue fishing fix. Most local boaters have certainly made the best of the ideal weather between the reef fishing closures. This fishing activity should continue during December until water temperatures get too high. The final coral reef finfish closure runs from 14-22 December.
My recent barra sojourn to the gulf, before the closed season began, once again turned out to be another exciting trip with some great captures and frenzied trolling sessions.
Our group encountered spasmodic fishing conditions early in the trip as we struggled with the dirty water. The early stages of the trip yielded a few quality barra but not in the numbers we were after. Slow trolling the deep-water structure with an array of RMGs and Vipers provided fewer captures than we had hoped for. That was until Peter Atwell and Col Upham stumbled upon some barra holding in shallow water, near a sand bar system. The boys’ ability to think outside the square was the trip’s turning point and lead to an hour-long session on fish from 60cm to 1m.
Most of the fish we encountered on the trip were 75-85cm with some 90cm fish and some 110cm+ horses. Most of our captured barra were released after a photo.
The barra were all captured in 1.5-3m of snag-less water. Imagine trolling shallow 1m RMGs and Barra Classics through open water, adjacent to a beach and hooking up to big numbers of Lates calcarifer. I wouldn’t say catching any big barra is totally relaxing, but not having to worry about your fish wiping you out on some nasty structure, does remove some of the challenge. The author’s biggest fish was a 116cm beauty.
The fishing continued to hot up and we focused on connecting to the bigger 1m+ fish. I even noticed that when a smaller 60cm barra was hooked, the angler had to bring the fish as the boat continued on the trolling run. This was so that their fishing buddy could continue to troll and keep their lure in the strike zone for a trophy sized barra and not waste the trolling run. This was a crazy scene and all anglers were clearly showing all the signs of being struck by an acute case of barra ‘metre fever ’.
Whilst our party did bring home our legal bag limit of barra, we never kill any barra over 85cm. We feel strongly that this is a sensible policy to follow in the quest for preserving wild barra stocks. I would like to see more stringent bag limits adopted by Queensland Fisheries such as a reduction from five fish per person to two or three.
These days almost everyone has a digital camera so I like to see a reduction in the maximum legal keep size of wild, non-impoundment barra to 90cm or 1m. Take pictures not fillets!Reads: 2019