FishHunter FNQ Estuary Sport Fishing Guide
Will grew up on charter and commercial fishing boats before moving to Cairns at the age of 15 to become a bluewater deckie. He’s been fishing the rivers from the Daintree to the Tully for 27 years and has been guiding others on these systems for the past 5 years.
Will’s Top Tips For Wet Tropics Barramundi
- Time of year and knowing where the food will be is critical. The wet season is a great time to fish for barra in the Wet Tropics and you’ll usually find them up the river systems where the food is being brought down by the runoff. Will is hoping for a high rainfall wet season in 2022 to fire the fish up.
- Bends in the river where the water flow is not too fast are great places to look for fish during the wet season, especially if there are snags or other structure such as a tree or grass bank in the slower flowing water.
- If the rain is falling heavily and the river is rising rapidly then it’s probably a good time to stay home and do some boat maintenance. As soon as the water starts to fall you want to launch your boat!
- Incoming creeks, eddies and places where water changes colour are other areas that are definitely worth a shot during the wet season.
- Towards the end of the season as the salt water pushes back up the rivers the barra will often move to the lower reaches to feed on the saltwater baitfish that move up. The mid reaches are worth a try, especially if there is some run with a bit of structure for the barra to hide in.
- If you catch one barra then stick around because the odds are you’ll catch more from the same spot.
- A falling tide in the 4-5 days leading up to either the full or the new moon is prime time for Wet Tropics saltwater barra, but the very start of the run-in can be productive for the bigger fish.
- Overcast days are good and reasonably still, windless days seem to be best for the barra. When it’s been blowing 25-30 knots for days on end the barra can be more challenging – a 10-15 knot breeze is more productive.
- Sometimes it can be productive to work a soft vibe with the hooks removed through structure to see if a barra can be switched on. If you get the strike, put the hooks back on and run it past them again.
- If the fishing is tough but you’re confident that you’re fishing where there are barra just keep casting and throw everything in the box at them until you get the strike. Don’t be afraid to stay on the spot and keep fishing until you catch one.
Will’s Barra Fishing Tackle
- An 8-17lb or 10-20lb line class rod coupled with a 3000 size reel, 20-30lb braid and 35-55lb leader will cover most Wet Tropics barra fishing in rivers and estuaries.
Will’s Suggested Lures For Barramundi
- Gold Bomber Long A’s are a staple in most Queensland barra anglers arsenal, and they work as well in the wet tropics as anywhere else. Will likes these when the water is under a metre deep and fishes them with slow twitches and pauses. The idea is to create the maximum action you can achieve without moving the lure forward.
- The Jackall Squirrel 79mm is a better option when the water is 2-3m deep and is a suspending hard body that can be danced in the fish’s face, much like the bomber. Start by sweeping or cranking it down to depth, then fish the same way as the bomber. Be careful of snags though, suspending lures have a habit of getting hung up. Will upgrades the hooks to Decoy S81’s.
- 3” ZMan SwimmerZ soft plastics slow rolled are pretty reliable. Use a 3/0 wide gape jig head and the lightest jig head you can get away with – usually a 1/4oz will do the job.