Winter is over. As the cold recedes the comfortable warmth of summer creeps in to welcome anglers far and wide. At least, it was like that back down in Hervey Bay. Up here in the Cape, winter temperatures are as high as the bay’s summer, and the summer up here is in a nutshell, hot – very hot. Nonetheless, warm water temperatures improve the fishing. Most predatory fish will feed constantly during warmer months.
The barra fishing can become insane when the water is warm, 25°C or higher. The drains along the banks of creeks and rivers can become the scenes of murder as big barra smash nervous mullet and garfish off the surface. In this situation, small to medium sized stickbaits and poppers will get a surface strike. Remember to keep it slow, barra are not pelagics and don’t often pursue fast moving prey in dirty water.
With stickbaits, a slow walk the dog is very successful and with poppers a couple of small bloops and a pause between them is the tactic that most pro barra anglers insist on. If the barra aren’t in the mood or feeding on the surface, try a lure that works lower in the water column, like minnows or light vibes. If you’re not getting bites, move on and cover more ground for better results.
The beaches and river mouths are a great place to test out light gear up here in the Cape. At times, huge bait balls of hardyheads and herring school up here and there’s literally thousands of predators gorging themselves on this protein-rich bounty. The most common of these ambassadors are queenfish, from 30-120cm. These high-speed killing machines are great fun, performing long runs and acrobatic jumps.