Great Sandy Straits Ryan Holdsworth bio

Ryan Holdsworth

Long-time Great Sandy Straits Lure Fisher

Ryan has been fishing the Great Sandy Straits area for over twenty years and has spent a lot of time in pursuit of barramundi, mangrove jack and threadfin in the creeks and channels of the Straits.

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Ryan’s Great Sandy Straits Jack Fishing Tips

  • The best spot to catch jacks while fishing in Sandy Straits is at the southern end due to the deep mangrove areas that remain submerged even at low tide. The deep pools that are formed as the water funnels out of the strait are perfect for catching jacks.
  • The deep mangrove locations are spread out throughout the straits, there’s plenty of suitable habitat. Deep sections at low tide can be found by studying Google Earth. These are cut off from the next pool depending on which creek or part of the straits you’re fishing.
  • Rocky ledges along Fraser and throughout the straits also tend to hold jacks.
  • Ryan prefers neap tides for jacks, but quick tides can also fish well during this time of year. They’re a year-round prospect, but you’ll have to work a bit harder during the cooler months.
  • Water clarity plays a significant role, when the water is too clear, it becomes difficult to catch jacks. A little browny, greeny water color in the creeks as it makes the jacks feel more comfortable coming out.
  • The best time to catch jacks is during the change of low tide, and they seem to be more comfortable in the deep holes or pockets of water throughout the straits.

Ryan’s Barra Fishing Tips

  • After floods and escapees from Lenthall’s, barra have filtered down through the straits and are in just about in every hole. Once again, look for deeper holes (3-5m) where water funnels out of the mangroves on the falling tide.
  • Spend some time to check Google Earth for the locations of deep corners and holes. Spending time in these locations and not giving up after the first few casts will pay dividends.
  • Fishing the change of tide is best, especially the change of low tide when it occurs in the afternoon.
  • Again, focus on those deep pockets of those pockets of water throughout the straits. If you find barra there at low tide, you generally find them there at high tide too. Also explore spots throughout the straits along the rocky ledges; Barra hold up there are you’ll be able to sound them up.
  • Barra fish best during February/March when it’s hottest – anything over thirty degrees is really good, but high twenties you’ll still get good bite.

Great Sandy Threadfin Fishing Tips

  • Threadies are great during a low tide change in drains and creeks. Often they’re feeding on jelly prawns and will hit a lure with aggression. Look around the creek mouths for murky water, nearly every creek has drains.
  • Use your sidescan to locate fish, if you find them in the creek drains they are nearly always feeding and can be sight cast.
  • Focus on creeks towards the Mary River (northern) end of the Straits if threadies are the main target.
  • An hour or so into the incoming tide the threadies can move out of the drains and over the shallow rock bars, where they can be targeted on surface lures.

Tackle For All Species

  • Ryan carries four overhead combos, each loaded with 20lb braid, two with 20lb leader and two with 30lb for those snaggier spots. These are usually Dobyn’s 40217/18 rods.
  • He also carries two spinning rods for casting the lighter lures, with 15lb braid, usually TT Red Belly rods.

Lures For Fishing The Great Sandy Strait In Autumn

  • Chasebaits Flick Prawn 95mm in the heavier weights (7g) rigged weedless is a great soft plastic prawn for the mangroves and for areas where there is some laydown timber in deeper holes. They can usually be worked close to bottom and hoped over gnarly laydowns and other structure. The gold colour, or the clear lure with a green tinge on the tail is Ryan’s preference and the fast sink forces predatory fish to grab it fast before it gets away. For jacks, cast tight to structure and let the prawn fall to the bottom. If it’s not taken on the drop, give it a couple of semi-aggressive jerks until it’s halfway back to the boat, then crank in and cast again. For barra, fish this lure extremely slowly, keeping it close contact with the bottom and creating occasional puffs of sand. When it’s taken, be sure to set the hooks firmly to free the weedless point from the plastic.
  • Lucky Craft Pointer Shallow Diver in gold colours. Being a shallow running, rattling, suspending lure, the Pointer is perfect for the threadfin, which have poor eyesight and tend to prefer dirty water. Work it with plenty of stabbing jerks to get as much vibration in the water as possible. For jacks, once again, casting accurately and getting as tight to structure as possible is the best way to get strikes, though it’s worth working this lure right back to the boat as the jacks will sometimes come well away from the snags to come and eat it. This lure has good snag resistance and can be deliberately crashed into rock bars and other structure to excite jacks.
  • Duo Realis Pencil 110mm. This lure can be fished over shallow rock bars, oyster beds etc, especially on the incoming tide when fish are pushing up over the structure.

 

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