Cast net skulduggery
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.
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.
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.