Wonderful winter barra
  |  First Published: June 2010

Fine weather has finally arrived and fine fishing is what usually follows.

The past month has fired up well with some of the best big barra fishing that I have ever experienced in the cooler period of the year. The average school size fish is around 90cm at the moment, which is great to see.

I think this great fishing is a result of the area being closed to barra nets for the last 12 years.

In four weeks we have caught nearly 30 barra measuring more than 1m and swags in the 90cm range. It seems Hinchinbrook is becoming one of the best big barra destinations in the country.

One of my best mates and long time client, Bryan Hetrelezis, recently visited from Melbourne with family and friends. All eight people in the group caught at least one barra at more than 1m, as well as several other big fish. Bryan said it was one of the best trips he has had in 20 years of fishing with us.

It also looks like this Spanish mackerel season is going to be a cracker. Everyone who has been heading offshore has been coming back reporting Spaniards in plague proportions.

At the start of June most of the fish were in the 7-10kg range but the bigger fish should arrive soon and the school sized fish should reach about 15kg by October. Just remember the bag limit on Spaniards is three per angler.

Other anglers have mentioned some good captures of jacks, which is a little unusual for this time of year. Then again it has been a slightly warmer start to our winter, which may account for the red devils.

Fingermark have also made a good winter appearance along with a few black jewfish in the deeper holes of rivers and estuaries.

In July the Spaniards and many other pelagics should thrive mostly on the making tides and I would expect to see some early season billfish show up around the bait schools.

If you are interested in trying your luck on a small black marlin you can find the bait schools in the shipping lane about halfway between the reef and Hinchinbrook Island.

Gannets are the birds to look for as they prefer the same size baitfish as the marlin, which are usually yakkas and pilchards. These fish are great for live bait.

Trolling small sized pushers around 6” are another option when chasing marlin. Troll around the edges of the bait schools, rather than through the middle, as this will only drive the bait down and scatter the fish.

When handling marlin to retrieve hooks remember to use a lattice glove and grab them by the thickest part of the bill up near the mouth. Always make sure the fish is played out and not too green before you bring it boat side, especially if you are a novice.

I am also available for tuition charters if you’re interested in learning more about billfish.

I’m keen to see what the barra fishing is going to be like in July and hopefully the good bite will continue. I’d also like to thank the QFM readers who have been booking our barra package – if you would like to do the same just call us on 0418538170 or email --e-mail address hidden--

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