The late run to the wet season will be a big disappointment to creek anglers this month, as the lack of run-off before the 1 February will see spawning opportunities for the big barra lost before the commercial nets do their toll. However there will still be plenty of barramundi on offer for those seeking out a big chromie and Bowen’s many creeks and estuaries are prime this time of year.
The recipe for finding a big barra in Bowen is actually not that difficult. If you’re after a big trophy fish then your best to concentrate both lures and baits around the mouths of the larger systems like the Gregory River, Billys Creek in the bottom of the Bay and Boat Creek to the north. This is where the cleanest water and bigger baitfish will be, so it’s more likely that your magic-metre will also be there.
Chasing a big saltwater barra in these areas provides a couple of options. Firstly you can always go find a prominent snag and sink in a few live baits or pepper it with vibes, soft plastics or hardbodies. However don’t discount the open flats that are also very predominant in Bowen’s larger systems.
If you can find main gutters and channels in these areas then they are certainly worth a fish for these larger fish. I spend a lot of time on the flats over the closed season chasing fish like grunter and whiting and the amount of large barra that cruise these areas is quite surprising. I attribute this to the fact that these larger fish are feeding on my target species and if you find a good shoal of whiting you can almost guarantee a big barra is not far behind.