Working harder for a feed
  |  First Published: May 2005

I’m not a big fan of the southern end of the Channel, but we have to fish there occasionally due to wind constraints, and last month was no exception. It fished quite well for a change, with some nice barra raised along the mangrove bank south of Damper Creek. One was a real horse barra that had a chop but failed to hook up.

Some nice queenfish have been chopping up bait of the sand spits around Deluge Inlet. The flats have been producing some nice jacks and barra just when the roots appear under the canopy.

Grunter to 60cm have been boated of the mudflats near Hecate Point in the deeper water. The secret has been to berley up with some fish flesh as most of the fish caught were full of the berley. You have to put up with some trash hooking up (sharks and rays) but the work is worth it.

The rocky headlands have also been producing nice fish in about 60cm of water using floating lures such as B52s and gold Bombers. The Marina is still fishing well with some nice keeper barra up to 75cm being hooked on livebait. I think the more FADs Keith Williams puts in (pylons, jetties etc.) the better. They all attract schools of bait, which in turn attract the bigger fish.

Delachy has been off and on depending which tide you fished it. Local fishing ace Kevin Ihle hooked a nice metre-plus barra there on a live mullet recently.

The Tully has still been fishing OK when not running a banker. The local boys tell me the fresh is still fishing well for sooties and jungle perch but the barra seem to have gone out with the flush of rain water.

Missionary Bay and its creeks have been fishing well, with good jacks grabbing most lures on the flats on the run-out tide. The drains in the creeks have been holding good barra, our crews managing to get barra to 80cm most trips, with yours truly dropping a metre-plus fish. In my defence I should say he dropped me off, spitting the lure as he tail-walked down the creek.

The secret to fishing the drains is twofold. First, find a creek that has minimal boat traffic, and second, fish the drains when they are running. We used deep divers, working them slow through the shallow sections and then making them dive into the drop-off. It was great to see the silvery bronze flash as the barra hit the lure. Gets me every time.

As for next month, remember that it’s getting cooler and the fish are slowing down in the feeding department. My mate at the barra farm in Conn Creek tells me the water has dropped 4 and the fish are feeding only half as much as they normally do. We can expect it to be the same out in the estuaries to a degree. They still have to eat, but not as much so you need to do work harder for them. More casts per snag is the go, and slow it down. The best lures for us lately have been silver B52s, gold Reidy’s deep divers and the ever-reliable Lead’s Shad.

That’s it for me. Safe boating and I’ll see you on the water, and remember: ‘Fish for the future, practice catch and release’.


1) Kevin Ihle scored this 107cm barra from the Delarchy on a live mullet.

2) James with a 45cm mangrove jack. Missionary Bay and its creeks have been fishing well for jacks lately.

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