Fishing Journalist & TV Presenter
Nigel is a well-known Australian fishing personality, having written numerous magazine articles, authored the “Southeast Queensland Fishing Atlas” and been a long-time fishing presenter of the AFN Fishing show on 7 Mate. Nigel is a Sunshine Coast resident and regularly targets coral trout in his own back yard.
Nigel’s Waterhole Barramundi Fishing Tips
- The Lakefield District, a few hours north of Cooktown, has a myriad of small waterholes, with each of them being completely different and requiring the angler to figure the intricacies of each system.
- The area is inaccessible during the wet, but the cooler temps and clear water in the late dry season can make the barra fishing a little tough. Nigel found that the key was to realise that barra aren’t right through these systems but tended to congregate in small areas. Finding the congregations was the key to success.
- Sometimes you can fish an entire waterhole and not see a fish until you find the congregations. Sounding is not usually successful because of the shallow water and dense aquatic vegetation, so it’s best to look for environmental indicators. A good strategy is to look for a corner of the waterhole that has higher numbers of sea eagles, lace monitors, freshwater crocs and other predators and the barra won’t be far away.
- Be organised and ready to switch lures quickly. A versatile range of lures helps, too. Many of the waterholes are shallow and heavily vegetated so when you’re trying to cull lures to take on your trip the hard bodies and soft vibes can probably be left behind – though there are definitely some places they would work extremely well. Weedless soft plastics offer the most versatile solution.
- “Weed Puffing” is an effective technique to develop when fishing these waterholes. It involves ripping the lure through weed with a quick turn of the reel handle, causing it to burst into a patch of clearer water. Pause the lure for half a second, then start working it again, this will often result in a savage reaction bite from barra.
- Most waterholes don’t have a decent boat ramp, so be prepared to winch boats in and out and take great caution to avoid crocodiles.
- Be careful of crocs and go prepared. Lakefield is a long drive from help and a long way outside of mobile phone range, so you’ll need to be pretty self-sufficient.
Nigels Barramundi Fishing Tackle
- Be clever with gear – on a long range trip to Cape York, it’s not possible to carry all the gear to over every situation. Choosing versatile tackle enables the angler to adapt his approach to suit conditions.
- A 4-6kg spin or baitcast rod with matching reel and 30lb braid with 50-70lb leader is a good choice for fishing waterholes on Cape York.
Nigel’s Barramundi Fishing Lures
- The 4” Zerek Cherabin is a great lure on the Cape, both in freshwater and in estuaries. Being a weedless rigged lure it can be thrown into the nasty stuff and worked back out.
- ZMan Diesel MinnowZ in gold rush colour in 4-5” sizes work well. Look at the size of the bait and try and match the lure size to it. Snakelockz jig heads in a variety of weights allow the angler to fish weedless and to adjust the presentation depending on the depth that needs to be fished.
- ZMan Finesse Frogs are deadly at night and during the dawn and dusk periods, resulting in heart-stopping surface strikes.
- Nigel found that Zerek Flat Shads ruled the roost in certain waterholes. Flat paddletails create a lot of vibration that barra can home in on.
Wilson Fishing produce a range of tough tackle and quality lures that Nigel loves to use, including the Zerek Fishtraps and Zerek Cherabins mentioned in this episode..
Tackle Tactics distribute TT Lures and the Okuma range of tackle used by Nigel for coral trout fishing and plenty of other species.
Mercury Marine power Nigels boats with both outboard motors and Motorguide Trolling Motors
Lowrance produce the line of sounders used by Nigel to find the coral trout
Alvey Reels provide Nigel with some awesome gear that he loves to use in his adventures around the country