Floods flush out barra
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