Bring on the rains
  |  First Published: November 2009

The monsoon troughs that we have been told to expect haven’t shown up yet, but here’s hoping! A big wet means great fishing for another year and a poor wet can mean poor fishing for another year. Most anglers don’t mind putting up with a wet Christmas.

As barra are off the list until February, some creek fishers have put the boat in the shed and are working on other hobbies until the season opens again. But these dopes don’t know what they are missing. Plenty of other great species can be caught in summer from small tinnies.

The number one creek species during the barra closure is mangrove jacks. And lure fishing for jacks is very exciting. Cast your lures right back into the snags and use a slow jerky retrieve. When your lure is more than a metre from the snag you are generally out of the strike zone, so crank it in fast and put another cast in. Use lures smaller than you would for barra, normally anything the size of a Flatz Ratz or smaller. If in doubt, go and talk to the local tackle store boys to see what’s working.

If you’re not into lure fishing, then don’t despair as some of the best jack anglers I know use bait. Whether they are fishing Aplins weir, the Casino rock walls, or up a mangrove lined creek, the bait remains the same. The humble pilchard cut in half and fished unweighted up against the structure. Letting the pillie drop down with the current and its own weight give jacks plenty of time to look at the bait before they decide to eat it, and then all hell breaks loose on the other end of the rod.

I like to fish the balmy summer nights through summer. You get to beat the heat and, although you do get the odd shower come through, nearly all of our inshore fish bite better at night. The quality of fish taken at night seems to be a little better but the chance of a real mixed bag is definitely improved when fishing after dusk. I am not just talking about fishing around Maggie Island or Cape Cleveland, although both are great night spots, but try fishing the same creeks you would during the day.

Sound your chosen creek for fish holed up but stay away from using big live mullet as you will only catch barra that are best left alone to breed. Try mullet slabs, squid and prawn baits, you will be surprised how well you do.

Lastly it is worth mentioning that we do not have a coral fin fish closure, which should let us get out to the reefs this month. Expect to find the reds and trout biting their heads off in the warm summer waters, and hopefully a few are on your hook.

Merry Christmas to all.

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