Whiz-banger or Washout?
  |  First Published: December 2002

THE FISHING around Karumba in January is either really good or really bad. Too much rain and it can be a washout. No rain and the fishing can be great. Get some smaller tides in January without any rainfall, and the barra and king salmon can go berserk.


The black jewies can still be found haunting the deeper holes. This type of fishing can be a trip-saver when the big tides make all other fishing impossible. Fishing the deeper edges and creek mouths with prawn and mullet baits can yield jewies and king salmon and the occasional quality fingermark. Another way to target fingermark is to sit right on the vertical edge of a creek mouth and jig a lure from deep in the hole up the rise. Lures like the Prawnstar with both weights still inserted work perfectly. The odd barra doesn’t mind eating them too.

Some quality crabs have been making their way back into the river just before Christmas. With the commercial price so high, they’ve been copping a lot of pressure. It’s been a hard year to be a Gulf crab! Lets hope proposed changes to the commercial licence structure stops the ‘East Coast invasion’. There have also been some good prawns off the beach at the point for those interested in a feed or some great fresh bait.


The black jewfish will stay in the river until the fresh comes. Keep trying around the creek mouths on the last couple of hours of the run-out. While trying for jewies you can hedge your bets and use a live mullet or prawns in the eddies of the creek for a king or blue salmon. Don’t forget to have a crack with a jig such as a Prawnstar or a Lead Head Bucktail jig with a Scrounger tail attached.

January is traditionally a good month for grunter. Getting offshore a bit to some of the areas of broken ground usually produces the goods. However, expect to encounter large, hard-fighting catfish and plenty of sharks. These seem to turn up offshore at this time.


Midday on January 25 sees the opening of the barra season in the Gulf of Carpentaria. This timing is different from to the east coast, but works in your favour if you want to get over early and catch a couple of barra. Bring your raincoat! As I said earlier, January can either be great fishing or very wet.

Speaking of barra time, it’s also that time of year when the staff at the Gulf Barramundi Restocking Association are working flat out to ensure that stocks of barra can be supplemented around the Gulf with thousands of barra fingerlings.

The whole place has undergone a revamp, and is a must-see when you visit Karumba. It really doesn’t matter if you’ve been before. I would pay money every week to go and hand feed some of those big old females!

The breeding this year has been successful, with 12,000 fish going to the Burke Shire to be released around Burketown, and 11,000 being released into Lake Belmore at Croydon. Following the release last year, the lake has now got many fish in the 50cm range taking lures. More of a rundown on this new location in coming months.

If you want to get an idea of what happens at the Restocking Association, pay a visit to the new website at www.gulfbarramundi.org.


The bloke who invented plastic bags.

See you after the wet!

1) An example of barramundi broodstock at the Gulf Barramundi Restocking Association.

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