Rains boost Gulf fishery
  |  First Published: April 2009

The end of the wet season has seen amazing numbers of colossal fish caught. There was an awesome amount of fish flushed out of the lagoons and it is almost impossible not to catch some good fish. There have been plenty of big barramundi over the metre mark caught and released as well as masses of king salmon.

The change as we head into winter up here is a magic time to fish; as the temperature cools we get the best of both worlds with barramundi still biting and mackerel due to turn up out the front.

You can now head out to the northwest side of the sand island and play with the queenfish that have turned up. These speedsters are great fun to catch, with poppers being the most entertaining option. If bait is your preference, half pillies are the preferred option, but most baits should see some success. Don’t forget to use a wire trace just in case some other predator appears.

Grunter have not turned up in any numbers at this stage but they are due to appear as the water cools. Look for them out the front near The End Of The Road Motel or further along near Gone Fishing. A running sinker rig is a good way to go with 40lb mono trace and a 4/0 hook. Prawn and squid are the gun baits and The Sea Breeze store at the point stocks plenty.

Mud crabs have been in good numbers and hopefully they will hang around until late in the month. There have been some changes to bag limits for mud crabs so check with the fisheries and play it safe. It seems we have now caught up to the east coast with the thieving of mud crabs from pots and this is a sad state of affairs.


It’s certianly been a huge wet season in the Gulf, and while last year’s drought did not seem to affect the fishing on Sweers Island too much, there is no doubt everyone is expecting great things after over 1200mm rain.

Resident Mick has been trying his luck in the evenings at Barra Beach and has had a couple of hits but so far the prize has eluded him. Mick’s mate Len from Wollongong tried some of the reefs out, and was disgusted to have Mick tell him to throw back the queenfish and cod he caught – but Mick knows there are much better eating fish in these waters! While queenfish might not be our favourite eating fish – although they are not too bad eaten fresh, or smoked – they are excellent sport fish to catch.

With the impressive quantity of garfish around the islands late last year, we are expecting some great catches of Spanish mackerel. The Spaniards come into season in May, with the cooler months of June and July seeing the rush on these gamefish of the Gulf. Tex and Mick have a good stock of frozen Gar ready to tempt the gig macks – perhaps this year will see some record fish come in.

Under Size Slaughter

Three non-transferable permits have been issued for commercial operators in the Gulf of Carpentaria finfish trawl fishery. The permit holder is allowed to catch under size fish up to 40% of the quota and excludes some species. The total quota is 1250 tonnes. Yes, not FISH, but TONNES. This is unbelievable and desperately needs to be corrected. Please help to stop this undersize fish slaughter. We recreational anglers do the right thing and then the government hands out mass slaughter permits for under size fish. Contact your state member to protest against this desecration of our juvenile fish stocks.

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