A bustling barra bonanza
  |  First Published: May 2017

The rain came down hard enough to send the mighty Awoonga Dam over the spillway and, along with it, all the barra that the hatchery workers have worked so hard to get back in there over the past few years.

It’s a shame to see such hard work and effort literally go down the drain. The dam was just starting to get back to its former glory days and now it’s back to square one again. All those involved should keep their head up, as they’re doing a great job!

With that we can only make the most of the current situation. With so many fish going over the causeway there have been some exciting catches and the opportunity for many to catch that fish of a lifetime they previously would not have had the chance to do.

Once the river finally settled and the fish along with it, reports of red hot sessions with catches of 10-15 fish. A lot of smaller fish seem to be getting caught recently compared to previous times when the dam went over. There are still plenty of big fish getting around with 120cm+ fish being caught all over the place.

If you can find a spot on the Pikes Crossing causeway, that’s one of your best land-based options. Try going later in the night or before sun up in the morning to get away from the crowds.

The other places that have been fishing well are the Benaraby train bridge, Manns Weir for those with a small tinny or canoe and the main highway bridge at Benaraby.

Recently there were plenty of fish in the town reaches and the mouth of Boyne River that were not actively feeding or settled just yet. Expect these to fish to well and truly fire up.

The standout lures so far have been Jackall Squirrels when working the slightly deeper holes, Castaic Jerky J Shad in both 5 and 7” and Happy Rock Softies in the 6”.

As the fish move further down the river and settle throughout the salt reaches expect vibes like Jackall Transams and Doozers to do well, as well as deeper running hardbodies such as Yakamito Sirens, Barra Classics and Lethal Lures 6m Barra Slayer Elite. The fish should be holding over the deeper rock bars, so you need the right lure to get yourself into the strike zone.

Elsewhere the fishing has been tough at times with the amount of fresh in just about every system. The better catches seem to be coming from the ocean front creeks such as Kepple Creek, Yellow Patch and Sandfly Creek on the front side of Humockhill Island.

Flathead, mangrove jack and some big blue salmon have all been reported from these creeks. There seems to be a good number of big blue salmon getting around for this early in the year. Touch wood it leads into a cracker winter.

The crabs have been on the run after the fresh flow. The deeper creeks have been crabbing well when the tide allows you to set your pots in the deeper holes and the run isn’t too bad. A lot of pots have gone missing over the years from setting pots in hard running areas and I’m sure that 90% of the time another amateur or pro that works the area has got the blame for stealing, when in reality it has rolled out the mouth of the creek with the run.

Offshore has been a bit hard to report on lately, as we have had a constant blow since well before cyclone Debbie hit the east coast of Queensland. Most of the charter boats have still been working the Swains Reef and have been absolutely smashing it. The coral trout are thicker then they have been in years.

Bag outs in a few days have been common. Once again, anglers that have been trying something a little different to the normal charter boat fishers have been coming up with the goods. Stickbaiting, jigging and working plastics over the reef have accounted for the bigger trout and eliminate a lot of the pesky by-catches.

• For more information on what’s biting, or to stock up with all the tackle and bait you need, drop into LJ’s Compleat Angler Gladstone at the Gladstone Marina on Bryan Jordan Drive. You can also check out the latest news, photos and specials at Facebook Compleat Angler Gladstone.

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