Floods flush out barra

Townsville Bulletin - - Fishing -

AN­GLERS t hr o ugh­out North Queens­land are rev­el­ling in a bar­ra­mundi bonanza as flooded plains spill their cool, bait­fish-rich waters into coastal creeks and rivers where big preda­tory fish are lin­ing up for an easy feed.

Switched-on an­glers are tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the flood­plain run-off, in much the same way as North­ern Ter­ri­tory an­glers do, by pulling barra from cul­verts and drains find­ing pas­sage un­der all man­ner of roads, rail lines and sim­ple bush tracks.

It is near the fast-flow­ing pas­sages that gud­geons, rain­bow fish, tar­pon, milk fish, gi­ant her­ring and all man­ner of lesser species gather dur­ing their flood time urges and it can be rea­son­ably well ex­pected that bar­ra­mundi will be con­gre­gat­ing only a short dis­tance away.

The well-known AIMS flats – the salt­pan ex­panses ei­ther side of Cape Cleve­land Rd just near the Bruce High­way about 25 min­utes south of Townsville – is a clas­sic flood-time barra hot spot dis­play­ing the re­quired at­tributes to at­tract the pop­u­lar sport and ta­ble fish.

It was here early this week when heavy overnight rains and waters from swollen moun­tain streams filled the shal­low flats deep enough to en­cour­age barra to do their thing.

Dur­ing the wet

early morn­ing hours on Tues­day, Con­don’s Keith Har­veyson and I found small­ish barra to about 60cm on both sides of the flats di­vided by Cape Cleve­land Rd.

We used shad or pad­dle-style soft plas­tic lures to en­tice the bites from par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive fish, but there were plenty of casts be­tween the strikes.

We left the flats to fill up some more as the rain tum­bled down and tried our luck where the cape road crosses Black Soil Creek near the Na­tional Park en­trance to Co­coa Creek.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, I jumped off a ripper-size barra, but was happy with a con­so­la­tion catch a man­grove jack of nearly 50cm.

The fish proved hun­gry for not much longer than a quar­ter of an hour or so, but they did show a dis­tinct lik­ing for the soft plas­tic of­fer­ing rather t han t he t ra­di­tional hard-bod­ied min­now-style lure.

AIMS flats fir­ing

THE AIMS flats barra fired on Tues­day evening, ac­cord­ing to a cou­ple of lads I spoke to on Wed­nes­day morn­ing when I went back for an­other dose.

An­glers claimed catches of two barra, three or four and some even nailed their five fish bag limit when they set live baits in the shal­low waters af­ter dark. to these wa­tery hall­ways at­tract plenty of fish – both bait species and preda­tors.

In fact, many large barra within the pas­sages un­der heav­ily traf­ficked road.

A smaller and rel­a­tively unin­spir­ing cul­vert near the Hyde Park shop­ping com­plex – the one that drains mostly An­der­son Park flood waters – also pro­duces barra when flooded.

And when not flooded, fish the same drain dur­ing the high­est tides of the lu­nar cy­cle.

Three Mile Creek near Pal­larenda of­fers good barra catches when waters rush be­low the Pal­larenda Rd bridge.

It’s al­ways worth a cast there – at al­most any time, but es­pe­cially im­me­di­ately af­ter a high tide has fal­tered, set­tled and turned to run out.

Should there be a bucket-load of run-off from the town com­mon and sur­round­ing district, and don’t wait for the tide to turn be­cause it prob­a­bly won’t.

Try also Goondi Creek spilling into the Ross River and Sandy Cross­ing at the Rail­way Es­tate end of Queens Rd.

That’s the up­per reaches of Ross Creek where a bunch of barra are caught on live baits and lures dur­ing the big­gest of tides.

Some ex­cep­tional man­grove jack are taken there also, es­pe­cially in the first hours of night. live the

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