FINE FISH: Brent Barnes-Mayman with his
FINE FISH: Brent Barnes-Mayman with his "barra Sunday" barra.

Barra are biting across region as season starts

IT'S barra time again, and by the looks of it, as of midday "barra Sunday" last weekend, there have been a lot caught right across the region from 1770 Creek right through to Yellow Patch, Keppel Creek, and Sea Hill.

With the dam still overflowing around half a metre over the spillway there is plenty of fresh in the Boyne, but it's not stopping those keen to throw a lure at whatever is still sitting up stream around Pikes and further up.

Reports of large numbers of tarpon are coming in with some losing some good fish.

In the meantime those who are utilising the new facility at the Toolooa Bends ramp have certainly been rewarded with a couple going over the metre mark.

Further up through the harbour, in Grahams and spots up towards the Narrows have also been fortunate.

There are very good numbers of king, or threadfin salmon, on the bite as well, and I was chatting with a chap the other day, who didn't want me to mention his name, but he'd caught a thready, and a blue, and cooked them both up to compare the quality, and was blown away with the taste of the threadfin, so on the menu for me it goes!

Down through Colosseum, Mundoolin, Seven mile, and into Turkey Beach or Rodds harbour, there are excellent numbers of mangrove jack, which just love to sit behind, or among the structure of mangrove roots, and rocks waiting to ambush the unlucky little beggar that comes within range.

So, when you are chasing them, try and fish along the rock walls instead of onto them, if you get my drift.

This allows a little more time for the jack to watch your lure, instead of it being retrieved into the deeper water, where the fish might not follow.

In the mangroves it's probably a different tactic, as you need to be able to get them out, and away from the snag as quickly as possibly because these predators will play dirty.

With regard to the barra, I have watched anglers persistently target a certain snag but leave a complete featureless river bank alone, until someone gets sick of doing that and throws one in the other direction and gets rewarded almost immediately.

My lad Matthew was on a stand-up paddle board up the Boyne one afternoon determined to catch a barra off a SUP (not easy), and this very thing happened, landing two, all while recording on his Go Pro.

There are still plenty of grunter about as well, and they just love the gravelly bottom.

Last year Thomas Hayes decided to fish the harbour in the middle of nowhere really, apart from a few bumps on the bottom, which the sounder showed was holding some fish, and came up with these snodger grunter much like the size we see off the barge wreck north of Cape Capricorn.

There are plenty of muddies on the move as well, with all the fresh about, but most of them will be sitting in the deeper holes of the channels to get away from the fresh, so start thinking about where they might be rather than where they normally are.

This weekend it's going to be blowing hard enough to blow a dog off its chain so we'll all be sticking close to the coast.

On another note I have been chatting with Bob McCosker regarding how the turtles were doing over at the Quoin Island Rehab Centre.

He says currently the local turtles are extremely healthy due to warm weather and lack of rain, up until recently.

Statistically, he tells me that the biggest identifiable issues for the threatened species, is actually fishing line, hooks, small boat strikes, and crab pots.

We can all help with this by not throwing any off-cuts of line overboard (which will remain in the environment for decades) and by retrieving the hooks and line from a caught turtle.

If they have swallowed it, simply bring the animal on board (they travel fine on a boat and only need some shade) and bring it back to the mainland.

Have a thought for the animal, and take it over to Quoin Island, or get in touch with them so that they can pick it up.

Their number is 0408 431 304.

He tells me, they die a horrible, painful death, as a result of these two things in particular, and I can only imagine how we would feel if we ourselves ingested a hook, and then some intellectual giant suggests that the hook will simply rust away.

The hooks do not rust away.

"They slowly kill the animal, in a very painful manner, taking several months," says McCosker.

The line itself is also a death sentence even without a hook.

Crab pots create their own issues and the simple message is, if you put one out in the environment, recover it, don't leave it there.

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