Arm-stretching Fingermark
  |  First Published: March 2003

WITH Townsville fishos restricted by the barra closed season and dry conditions, a lot have started searching further afield for their fishing fix. Many of my friends have ventured to Peter Faust and Tinaroo Dams, leaving behind some fantastic fishing for those anglers with the patience to sit and wait.

Fingermark (spotted-scale sea perch) have really stretched the arms of some anglers. Extra large specimens are not uncommon, and are mostly unstoppable.

Large red emperor and Spanish mackerel have been topping up the catches of coral trout for the reef anglers lately, while the average size jack from the creeks has been a very satisfactory 50cm.

So, what can we expect this month? Well, hopefully we should see a reduction in the trade winds to allow the tinny brigade out onto the inshore shoals and bommies. This is where nannygai, emperor, cobia and trevally make up the mainstay of catches.

Further out, the reefs will still produce red-throat emperor and coral trout in reasonable numbers. Trolling the reef edges should result in school-size Spaniards of around 6-8kg.

Cape Cleveland bays and headlands inside the lighthouse should be housing large numbers of big barra on spring tides. I’ve found that the best techniques here are to cast lures hard up against the rocks and bommies (just try to stay clear of the gill nets which litter some of the hot spots around Townsville). If we receive flooding rain, the grass beds inside Cleveland Bay will be your best bet to lay your crab pots.

So with our barra taking up residence on the headlands and the crabs being flushed out of the mangroves onto the weed beds, don’t forget the other tasty crustacean flushing from the creek mouths – prawns. These can be easily cast netted for bait, or can be great used to soften up the wife.


We’ve all heard the stories that were ‘never to leave the circle of friends’ present at the time! You know the ones – forgot to put the bungs in the boat or fuelled up the rod holder instead of the new intake for the underfloor fuel tank… even travelling all the way to the Gulf only to buy fish on the way home to save face with the missus!

Well, this story has just been brought to my attention by some mates of mine who made their annual trip up to a mate’s cattle station in the Gulf. The plan centred around fishing and pig shooting.

After setting up camp and dropping the crab pots in, these guys decided to do their bit for conservation and help the station owner by shooting a few pigs for him. After a couple of hours and no pigs, our heroes sadly returned to camp.

After some refreshments they decided it would be a grand idea to shoot a few plastic milk bottles – just to get their eye for what they’d be faced with when targeting a mob of pigs. The ingenious gang went out and put the milk bottles in the creek, returned to camp and proceeded to get some practice in. The following morning, you guessed it – they came up a few crab pots short. Seems someone had shot off the floats.

They did, however, find the bottles with the targets on them happily floating along, not hit once!

There are a hundred-and-one morals to that story, but I’d like to reassure readers that our heroes are slowly gaining the commonsense that many of us take for granted.

That’s enough horror stories for this month. I hope you all land a barra before Easter.

1) Christian Rooms with his first fingermark, taken from a wreck off Townsville.

2) Lucinda legend ‘Pooh Blue’ with a good fingermark taken off the Lucinda jetty.

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