WITH the departure of a couple of people who had lived in Karumba for the past three or four years we may have found our rain Jonahs! The start to the wet has been promising, and as of the start of February we’re doing all right. The Norman and Flinders especially have had a good run and the rivers surrounding Burketown are in full swing as well. North of Karumba the Gilbert is also running hard. We haven’t been totally isolated as yet so perhaps this may be on the cards for this month.
March is without question the best month in the Gulf. With any luck the rain has been and stuff is really happening up the creeks and especially at the river mouths. By now all the water that has been flooding the flats and wetlands around the place has all but returned back into the river via thousands of drains and feeder creeks. All the tiny food items that have been washed in have either made it to safety or are now in the digestive system of any number of predators.
March sees those predators like barra and king salmon making the most of the free feed, but also the grunter and blue salmon will be in feeding on the flats and the big GTs and queenfish will be looking for some pensioner to harass.
Sound nice? Then to catch that elusive barramundi to have for dinner I’ll give you a brush-up on some of the basics. These tips are what work for us up here.
The best lure for barra is obviously the lure that caught one last time, so that’s a good place to start. Just make sure the conditions are right – there’s no use trolling that faithful old Gold Bomber in 20ft of water when the fish are on the bottom. Different lures work better in different situations so make a decision based on the present conditions and then fish confidently with it. Favourites of mine that always produce are as follows: Halco Scorpions in the 90 and 125 versions in Gold or Mullet colour (or in the purple which also goes well), Tilsans, Spearheads and Prawnstars for deepwater snag bashing; and for the deeper trolling applications, Deep Diving Scorpions, Mann’s 20s, and River Rats work well.
Livebait is by far the best bait. A hungry barra will eat almost anything live that ventures past (I heard a story about a couple of blokes catching barra in the channel while fishing for grunter with squid). Mullet, prawns, bony bream or herring – take your pick. It doesn’t matter which one.
30lb braided line over a decent 6-8kg rod is the stuff to use. I’ve heard some people say they use mono because that braided stuff is no good. “It’s supposed to be 60lb and it just breaks at the knot all the time,” blah blah blah. If it breaks that’s because of human error, not the line. Normal blood knots don’t work in this stuff; you need to use an Albright or Bimini Twist. Leave the mono at home it you’re going lure fishing near snags.
On a recent trip it was disturbing to see large numbers of very big box jellyfish everywhere. For whatever reason they seem to have flourished and are about in large numbers and in big sizes. Please be careful if you are up this way over the next couple of months, especially if the river you’re fishing hasn’t had much rain (freshwater seems to scare them off a bit). Carry plenty of white vinegar in the boat and keep the little kids away from water. Fair dinkum, some of the beasts we saw would be deadly to a small child.
Until next month.
1) Barra number one for the season was a Prawnstar victim.
2) Big blue salmon are a chance on the run-in tide if there’s a current line or colour change this time of year.Reads: 537