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Winter Barra the Way to Go
  |  First Published: July 2008



It seems too good to be true that we are still catching barra in Monduran Dam in June.

The best fishing is found in the shallow bays at the moment. We have even caught fish in as little as 30cm of water. The die-hard trollers are still catching fish as well, using the trusty sounder.

The lure of choice at the moment is the Shimano Stiffy. It works the shallows effectively and acts just like a stickbait. It might be worth trying to remove the bibs in conventional lures to create a similar same result. Lures are best tuned to be almost neutrally buoyant, maybe just sinking slowly, this can be achieved by upgrading to larger or heavier hooks.

Days with the greatest temperature drops, like 2-3C, are ones to avoid heading out onto the lake. However, a consistent daytime temperature over a number of days is the perfect time to catch a barra.

Offshore fishing is at its best with record numbers of red emperor caught this year. The snapper are also here creating great cold night fishing on the inshore reefs for the hardy fisherman.

Game fishing is still hot with Blue marlin being caught along the coast with a couple of sailfish turning up in late May.

It was great to receive a call from Sydney NSW DPI telling me that someone at Mooloolaba had caught one of our sailfish we tagged earlier in the year.

It’s always been a mystery what happens to the sailfish when the water cools down, there has not been very much information returned from sailfish tagging. Maybe a small piece of the puzzle can be put into place with the latest tag retrieval from a fish at the 18mile grounds on the sunshine coast. Thanks to Craig McCulloch, who caught the tagged fish in is tinny Action Man in May 2008.

The fish was originally caught by Jari Sannholm of Bundaberg, deck hand on the game charter fishing vessel the Watch-Tower, while fishing the waters around the northern spit of Fraser Island on the 28th October 2007. His son Kai tagged and released the fish but the fish unfortunately broke its bill on the transom of the boat. This later confirmed the fish’s identity upon talks with Craig McCulloch who reported that the fish was still in good condition.

The fish was first caught on a lure called the Sailfish Salad. This lure has been used extensively this year by the Watch-Tower and the colours out fished all lures all year. The Watch-Tower has been running this new lure from Tropic Angler over the last year and has found at times it will out-fish baits due to the high visibility of the colours in clear water. The sailfish this year were prolific dominating the tag card results due to the lack of small black marlin along the coast.

The sailfish was out for 202 days and was recaptured some 117nm south from its original capture location. The fish was estimated originally at 20kg and Craig estimated its weight around 25kg at capture.

Lure fishing was great this year but it’s hard to beat the thrill of switch baiting. With the large numbers of sails that can often wolf pack the back of the boat chasing teasers in, it’s no wonder this area is renowned as one of the light tackle hots spots on the east coast of Australia.

Fraser is also home to some excellent heavy tackle fishing with blues and black marlin often caught in the deep northern waters of Fraser Island.

The Hervey Bay Boat Club in conjunction with the Hervey Bay Boat Club Gamefishing Club have offered a $10,000 reward for the first grander caught in this area. With some noted captures already close to the mark I would suggest it won’t be too long before the bounty is given up.

Keep in mind the HBBCGFC have their annual tournament in November every year. The tournament is run over three days and mother shipping and a fuel barge are available for the most extreme weekend game fishing off Fraser Island.

If you’re in the area call in at the Gin Gin Hotel to get the latest updates on the water, or ring on 07 4157 2106. If you need to try some serious offshore game or sports fishing or a relaxing day barra fishing on the dam, call on 0427 590 995 or 07 41574342.

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