Fish fury from islands to lakes
  |  First Published: February 2009

February is generally a great month for fishing in the Whitsundays. There is a range of options in the saltwater and usually quality barramundi fishing at Peter Faust Dam.

In the following article, we’ll give some handy tips and information on fishing the Whitsundays in February.

Island camping

If you’re staying in the Whitsundays for an extended time, one way of exploring and fishing the area is island camping. Staying overnight on one of the many Whitsunday Islands is a great experience and only requires a boat and some basic camping gear. There are some excellent islands to camp on and a permit and small fee is required.

Good s Saltwater targets in February are GT and queenfish, which can be found around the rocky headlands and sandy flats of numerous islands. Early mornings can are an especially good time in February for fishing the sand flats on high tide. Big golden and giant trevally can often be found cruising the shallows hunting for all types of tropical baitfish and crustaceans.

To spot these predators watch for any fins protruding the surface, shapes in the water or boils. Then, cast metal slice type lures and soft plastics to the sighted fish. Another way of finding these fish is by casting surface poppers and watching for any fish following the lures in.

Other species that are good to target in February are reef fish. Soft plastics are an excellent option hopped down the edges of the coral on a light jighead. They will attract a range of chunky and hard-fighting reefies such as coral trout, sweetlip and emperor. Our favourite reef plastics are a lightly weighted jighead rigged Squidgy Flickbait and a 100mm or 130mm Squidgy Slick Rig light. These are dynamite on the big reef edge fish.

Another way of fishing that can give you a mixed range of fish species is burleying. It can work very well and attract all types of fish from reef species such as grassy sweetlip to golden trevally to all types of mackerel. Simply throw in small pieces of pilchards or other oily type fish into the water and let the current take the scent to the fish.

Burleying usually works well when the trail travels out into the deep water past any fish holding structure as many fish rise out of the deep cover to find where the scent trail is coming from. Then, casting lures through the trail or sinking lightly or unweighted baits down the trail can work very well.

Impoundment Barra

Peter Faust Dam should be a good lake to fish in February with barramundi feeding often in the warm water temperatures.

Shallow weeds are one of the best places for impoundment barra to live and feed and it’s an excellent type of cover for these big fish. Aquatic weed provides many advantages to barramundi; it attracts bait such as boney bream and barred grunter, it provides cover to launch an attack on passing baitfish and offers a place to go to just chill out.

The best weeds to look for are fresh, green weeds, which are usually more productive than brown, dying weeds. The fresh weeds tend to hold more baitfish and redclaw crayfish and that means more food for the barramundi. Also, fresher weeds tend to make more of a crack noise when you’re lure is ripped through the strands. This can attract barramundi as they hone in on the loud underwater disturbance.

Modifying to maximise

One lure that is highly successful for fishing amongst weeds is the Squidgy Slick Rig light. It is very versatile and can be modified for better results. One way of modifying the Slick Rig is to trim the tail for more tail kick and boil the plastic for more movement at slower speeds.

Trimming the plastic from the tail gives a bigger tail kick, which means more vibration. Simply trim a fair amount of the plastic from the tail wrist so when you hold the lure up, the tail sags down 180º.

When boiling the plastics, boil for around 5 minutes and this will create a soft bait that will roll slower through the water and feel more natural to a barramundi when it bites – a simple but awesome modification!

Combined, these modifications give the lure improved, fish-attracting features and creates a deadly barramundi bait!

Also, if you’re after more information on impoundment barramundi fishing, check out Johnny Mitchell’s new DVD called Lake Monduran, an Aussie adventure. It teaches a lot about barramundi fishing including info on current flows, fish behaviour, effects of weather and more. Enter the new site www.fishawoonga.com.au for more information.

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