October has earned a reputation as being one of the best times of the year to catch barramundi, and so far this year, October has exceeded expectations. Catches of 20-30 barra in a days fishing has become the norm, with some days producing in excess of 50.
Most of our barras here in Weipa are relatively small specimens, most ranging from 45-55cm in length, however some large females have also begun to rear their heads and fish up to the magic metre mark have been released – usually before entering the boat!
Fishing areas close to the river mouths and in the bay has certainly produced the most consistent fishing during October, and I would expect to see this continue into November. Falling tides with plenty of run and low water have seen the gutters and creek mouths fire, and higher, neap tides have produced great results on otherwise high and dry mangrove banks.
Live bait has been accounting for many of the larger barramundi specimens; however lure casting can produce far more fish if done correctly. I often get asked which is the best lure to use when barra fishing in Weipa, and for this question there is no black and white answer. Lure placement is the most important factor when casting for barras, and I have seen time and time again that the brand of lure is not nearly as important as where it is placed. Placing a lure deep into snags and banks, and picking dirty water lines and other distinguishing features will considerably increase your capture rate. Working the lure with an erratic, slow retrieve, leaving the offering in the strike zone for as long as possible will also entice those feisty predators.
Not only has the action increased in the estuaries, but the offshore fishing in wonderful Weipa has also continued to impress. Spanish Mackerel are still patrolling the area in more than sufficient numbers, and provide some great entertainment for visiting anglers, as well as an excellent meal at the end of the day.
Most Spaniards have fallen for deep diving lures trolled behind the vessel at around 4-6 knots, in areas where large congregations of bait have been found. Tuna are also still around, however, extracting them from an ever increasing shark population has proven extremely difficult. Expect to donate plenty of tackle to the ocean when pursuing these animals!
Large queenfish and GT have been caught both with poppers and metals in shallow reef areas that create plenty of current and water movement. Fishing the bottom in reef habitats has also been working well, with large numbers of fingermark and black spot tuskfish being taken on both soft plastics and squid.
I would expect to find more great fishing throughout November, however since the barramundi season up here in Weipa is now closed, targeting mangrove jack and other lure crunching species will become much more popular.
Please ensure to take care when releasing barras if you do happen to encounter some accidentally, as this is their breeding season, and ensuring their survival will help to keep the stocks as plentiful as they have been in the past.Reads: 619