Barra Bite into New Year
  |  First Published: December 2009

January should be excellent for fishing in the Whitsundays. The saltwater and Peter Faust Dam should both be great options and the fishing should be quite rewarding during this tropical month.


The saltwater is usually a great place to fish in the warmer months as many fish species are more active with the warm water temperatures. GT, golden trevally and queenfish should be good targets during January with lots of these fish all over the Whitsunday islands, rocky points, edges and deep reefs.

Try finding the fish by searching these areas with large soft plastics, surface poppers, fizzers and stickbaits. These fish will often be hanging around large schools of baitfish such as herring, mullet and garfish so anywhere you find a lot of baitfish is often a good place to start.

The larger GT of 25kg+ will often prefer holding in areas with deep water of about 12m nearby. These fish seem to love a large, injured baitfish on the surface and will usually be keen to rise up and attack the bait.

Once you’ve found a likely looking GT area, make long casts with surface lures and try to use a retrieve that triggers them to bite.

When retrieving the lure first give the rod a few large pulses to get the lure to disturb the surface of the water and let the GT know the bait is there. Let the lure sit for about three seconds and make one large pulse. Then repeat the retrieve motion.

If the fish don’t bite, try changing the retrieve by leaving a longer pause or making smaller or larger surface disturbances. Keep trying likely areas with this retrieve and eventually a big GT will smash the lure!

January should also be a great time for reef fish such as coral trout, emperor, sweetlip and in the estuaries fish such as flathead, bream, mangrove jack, fingermark and salmon. There’s loads of fish waiting for you to catch so get out there!

Impoundment Barra

Peter Faust Dam, which is situated around 25km out from Proserpine, is an excellent lake for impoundment barramundi fishing with loads of big, 1m+ fish.

The barramundi should be very active around January with the warm water. Casting and trolling should both be excellent techniques for fishing here and will catch fish during the day and night.

Try casting to the edges of the lake around features such as bays, points, weed edges, lay down timber and around deeper drop-offs and channels. The barramundi will eat a range of baitfish sizes from tiny fish to very large boney bream.

When casting for barra, it’s a good idea to cast different lures around and try to find what the fish want to bite. Casting different soft plastics, hardbodies and even surface lures is a good way of finding the best lure.

For trolling, try different depths such as the deep main basin as well as shallower water around 4-6m. Also, finding drop-offs and old riverbeds with your sounder can be a great way of finding barramundi as they seem to like hanging around these types of areas.

It’s a good idea to troll two lures at once, with a deep diver on one rod and a shallow diver on the other. This covers the depth well and improves the chance of getting a barra to bite. Also, mix up the trolling retrieve with pulses of the rod to make the lure more appealing. Keep with it and eventually a big barra will strike!

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