Jacks are on the chew
Over the past few months we have been blessed with plenty of offshore opportunities and fingers crossed, that continues. With the weather warming and the days getting longer, it’s always a great time to fish for the mighty barramundi in the impoundments, as well as the estuary brawlers, mangrove jack.
Offshore weather has been exceptional when the weather permits with plenty of quality captures coming in, especially on the jigs. Jigging is fast becoming the biggest trend to hit offshore waters since plastics first came about and it’s not hard to see why.
One of the best things about jigging is the versatility of being able to fish right the way through the water column. Having quality sounder for this style of fishing is a crucial part of your success. Use your sounder to hone in on the depth range the fish are at, the it’s all about keeping your jig in their face for as long as possible. more often than not, fishing the bottom section of the water column is proven for demersal species, however you will find fish will rise quite high to eat the jig, not to mention the large array of pelagic fish that you can often find sitting higher around the schools of bait. Areas including wrecks and large isolated pinnacles are perfect examples of where you expect to find bottom fish hanging around the main structure, with pelagics sitting up higher. Even quality nannygai will sit up high if that’s where the bait is.
This time of year also hosts some of the best flats fishing. Tropical species, such as coral trout, sweetlip and emperor varieties, seem to be more fired up with the higher water temperatures. Preferred approach is this style of fishing is to push way up to the reef’s edge with a making tide then switching your focus to pressure edges along with veins and gutters as the water starts to flow back off the reef.
Many styles of lures will work in this situation and in my opinion one of the most effective would have to be stickbaits. They are able to cover so much ground using big long casts, which on particular days can be the difference between doing well and not even landing a fish. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I’m just not a lure person’ well that’s alright too, as it’s very hard to go past some fresh flesh baits and possibly even live baits depending on what you can get on the day.
Lake Awoonga has been absolute firing of late with plenty of fish in high 90cm, with a few over the metre mark. As always, with fishing Awoonga the build up to the full moon seems to really get these fish fired up, however they can be caught on any given day or night.
Finding the fish at the moment is quite easy with a good side imaging sounder, the main basin is absolute chock-a-block with barramundi. Soft plastics are doing the most damage on these larger fish with a few standouts being the Molix Shad, Keitech Swing Impact, Berkley Hollowbelly and the old faithful Awoonga plastic the Squidgy Slick Rig. The fish are seeing plenty of these at the moment so if you happen to be out there and they just aren’t playing the game, it will pay to try a suspending hardbody or even a vibe, soft or rattle trap style.
If you like a bit of visual fishing head up into some of the shallow bays and fish surface lures, such as frogs, fizzers and walk-the-dog. You will find smaller more aggressive fish with the preferred time being first thing in the morning and the last thing in the afternoon.
In the estuaries the fish have been up there with some of the best lately with plenty of mangrove jack and grunter not to mention some of the by-catch coming in of late where we are seeing some beautiful fingermark, late season fladhead and even black jew. Keep in mind these fish are off limits through until the first of January. There are also some very good quality crabs getting around in some of the local systems, such as the narrows, Calliope River, South Trees and Enfield with my advice being grabbing the bigger tides and pushing your pots right to the back of the smaller gutters. In some situations even the mud flats behind the mangroves can be very productive.
For all the latest info on what’s biting and where, drop into the shop or give us a call. The boys have their finger to the pulse to what is happening in the area, and are sure to point you in the right direction.