Cast net skul­dug­gery

Townsville Bulletin - - The Goss -

WHILE atro­cious off­shore c o n d i t i o n s c o n t i n u e t o plague North Queens­land an­glers, bar­ra­mundi en­thu­si­asts are reap­ing huge re­wards from an ex­cep­tion­ally per­sis­tent wet sea­son.

Big barra are reg­u­larly fall­ing to land-based an­glers when they cast their lures and live baits at any of the three Ross River weirs while those ‘‘ bar­ra­holics’’ mak­ing their way to the up­per reaches of the Haughton River are also reap­ing fine re­wards.

Cleve­land Bay barra are there for the tak­ing but they are di­luted with a healthy p o p u l a t i o n o f k i n g o r threadfin salmon and the lesser fan­cied blue or Cook­town salmon.

I en­joyed the com­pany of an all-girl crew when we re­cently fished near the mouth of Co­coa or In­let Creek.

The wind was stiff and rain threat­en­ing, but it didn’t stop the barra bit­ing – al­though bites were at times dif­fi­cult to de­tect in the heavy winds.

The girls were more ex­cited, how­ever, when both species of salmon fell to live baits set in shal­low waters.

The bites proved more de­ci­sive than the takes from the bar­ra­mundi and few will ar­gue that a slab of king salmon is as good as any barra on the plate.

The barra have also been an easy find for an­glers do­ing the lure thing within shal­low waters shel­tered from south-east to easterly winds by Cape Cleve­land.

Fish to 80cm are prov­ing a com­mon catch with an oc­ca­sional fish to bet­ter than a me­tre keep­ing an­glers on their toes.

Tra­di­tional Bomber shal­low min­now style lures are work­ing a treat with the Ra­pala brand X-Rap mod­els win­ning plenty of fans dur­ing re­cent months.

Il­le­gal prac­tice

THE bla­tant use of cast nets in Ross River weirs is caus­ing a whole bunch of concern for keen an­glers who are fre­quently con­fronted by the il­le­gal prac­tice.

I’m con­stantly re­ceiv­ing com­plaints and mostly un­print­able com­ment about the sit­u­a­tion where an­glers a r e n e t t i n g i n B l a c k , Glee­son and Aplin weirs, with no re­gard for the reg­u­la­tion that pro­hibits the use of cast and bait nets in non­ti­dal waters.

A mate even gave me a cast net he found ly­ing unat­tended dur­ing an early morn­ing stroll on the walk bridge strad­dling Glee­son Weir waters near the River­side Tav­ern.

Ac c o r d i n g l y , I d i r e c t those who con­tact me to make their ob­ser­va­tions known to Queens­land Boat­ing and Fish­eries pa­trols, even know­ing that their job is a mon­u­men­tal one given the small brigade of of­fi­cers charged with mon­i­tor­ing such an ex­ten­sive district.

I got sub­stan­tially more than I ex­pected when on Mon­day I turned up at the base of Black Weir look­ing for a fish­ing pho­to­graph for this col­umn.

I found a barra man who could cast a lure well do­ing his thing out of an in­flat­able boat with an elec­tric mo­tor at­tached to the bum end of the craft.

It was per­haps the pic I was seek­ing – a bloke cast­ing a big soft plas­tic lure into the fast waters spilling over Black Weir, the wet stuff fall­ing from the sky just a driz­zle.

As I strug­gled a bit to pull my cam­era from an all too snugly packed knap­sack, the an­gler si­mul­ta­ne­ously dropped his rod and picked up a cast net from the deck of his small boat.

He spread the net just once and was as shocked as I was when he saw me point­ing the lens his way.

They guy ob­vi­ously knew the game and sim­ply let the net drape over the side of his craft and al­lowed the cur­rent to carry him away be­hind a bunch of melaleu­cas where I could not see him any­more.

He made his re­treat a lit­tle hastier when he leaned on the throt­tle of his elec­tric ( mo t o r ) a n d p r e t e n d e d noth­ing was un­to­ward.

Enough is enough and no one that I am aware of has spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion to do a s t h e y p l e a s e ( a b o v e oth­ers) when it comes to fish­ing on our turf.

The use of all forms of nets ex­cept land­ing nets and scoop or dip nets is listed as an ex­am­ple of pro­hib­ited fish­ing gear un­der Fish­ing Gear – Fresh­wa­ters on the Pri­mary I ndus­tries and Fish­eries web­site www. qld. dpi. gov. au

It is also well pub­li­cised in t he recre­ational f i shing r e g u l a t i o n s p a m p h l e t , which is avail­able at most fish­ing tackle and marine out­lets.

I’m happy to stand up for all con­cerned an­glers, es­pe­cially my kids and their chance to wet a line well into the fu­ture.

Ac­cord­ingly, the pic­tures have been given to Queens­land Boat­ing and Fish­eries Pa­trol of­fi­cers.

Barra event

I’VE pretty much squeezed the ink out of the space avail­able to me in this good pa­per with my cast net rant, but I do feel bet­ter now.

Me a n w h i l e , B u r d e k i n Barra Rush or­gan­iser Mike L’Huil­lier has asked that I men­tion that the up­com­ing and pop­u­lar an­nual event will be held on the week­end April 2-3.

En­try forms should be avail­able at most lo­cal and Bur­dekin tackle and marine out­lets.

Other­wise, con­tact Mike L’Huil­lier on 4752 6247.

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