17
Jul

Ben from Perth, Tony and myself hit the Trinity Inlet armed with a bucket full of prawns we cast-netted at a local creek. We spent the first couple of hours commenting on how bored we were and just looking at the nothingness. It was too quiet. Then Ben caught a good sized flathead, a rare catch at this spot. All the way from Perth for a flathead, how disappointing, but at least it was a good fish!

flatty-mat

flatty

Next up was Tony the tarpon magnet, proving once again nobody can match his superior tarpon angling skills. A very healthy fish this tarpon was and certainly was lively.

tarpon

Next up was my turn with a little estuary gold spot cod and Ben was on again with a 34cm fingermark that we forgot to photo. It was Ben’s first fingermark so he was pleased to see on emerge from the depths. The fishing was still very slow with bite windows producing 2 fish at a time. I also caught a sand crab that was a jenny, so back she went.

cod-40

The ten more minutes call was made and suddenly we were in again, this time Tony with a 40cm mangrove jack.

jack-tony

Ben came back with a keeper fingermark that he will no doubt enjoy eating. A beautiful fish too.

fingermark-40

fingermark-hold

I caught a baby cod which was the last fish of the night.

cod-30

So with a bit of perseverance and many, many ten more minute calls, five more, even two more we managed enough fish to give Ben a small sample of what the Trinity Inlet has on offer. Hopefully next time some larger fish come out to play and give us some fair game around the pylons.

14
Jul

We went for a land based fish today. Was hard going with 3-4 GT, 1 queenfish and a fingermark for many, many hours of fishing. I’ve never tried to catch a fish on a vibe lure, so I concentrated on that and managed a small GT and a legal sized fingermark that was quite weighty in tight country on lighter gear.

My first fingermark on a lure which I was just a tad pleased about 😀 We used gulp shrimp, live bait and butterflied herring, the Duo Bivi micro vibe lure out fished them all. Dare say a few more will be making their way into the tackle box.

trev

fingermark

fingermark-rod

inlet

We also went last night and caught some trevally and a couple of estuary cod, I took one home for dinner which was quite nice baked, it was a good size and fit into the BBQ with it’s tail hanging out!

14
May

Ryan & I hit the Trinity Inlet with plans of fishing deep on a strange neap tide with no run from 5am until 12 noon. Just near the boat ramp I made the call to start casting some snags and we entered a small creek. Getting used to the electric was taking some effort and before we knew it a pro crabber sped past, way too fast for this small creek, so I shook my head at him and got out of there fast. We made the call to just keep casting at the edges along the main waterway as there were a few mullet around.

I’d just been telling Ryan which snags to target and how long it has been since I caught a decent jack since I mainly target barra these days. Then I put a decent cast in along side a nice looking snag and started a slow constant roll retrieve on a big paddle tailed plastic (Jackall 5.5″ Ammonite Shad) when suddenly a few winds in the lure was jammed. I knew it was a jack by the way it hit and was very fast in turning him away from home and ‘guiding’ him my way a bit. However the fish felt a little too big to be a jack and I started to think it might be a really fired up barra. It soon became a tug of war and I patiently played him out thinking large barra, but it took another sizzling powerful run falling just short of cover. Each run became shorter and eventually I noticed the size of the fish in the water. I was quite disappointed (still thinking barra) until I noticed a broad silver gold mangrove jack. Happy would be an understatement and I’m surprised I turned him on light gear and got him out of the snag as he was quite a brute of a jack.

jack-front

mangrove-jack

jack-rod

We continued along the same stretch and the mullet started thinning out, water temperature rose to 25 degrees and Ryan had a couple of follows from jacks on his fav little hardbody. Around the corner we noticed a very nice drop off from 2m out into 7-8m of water with a good set of snags at one end. We changed to weighted weedless plastics and Ryan caught a Toadfish (opsanus tau) which didn’t even warrant a photo – he was U-G-L-Y ! Ryan dropped a decent fish that put out a screaming run to nothing right beside the boat which was a shame because it was a good fish and I think we both would have liked to know what it was. I dropped two fish that felt fairly small like little estuary cod.

As we headed up past the snags on the electric, to come back and drift the snags we both noticed a commotion on a timber snag and saw some fins. Then the same fish flapped around on the surface again as if it was pinned somehow. Ryan made the call to go and check it out as the fins did look red. So we drifted over and sure enough, here’s a decent sized jack that had clearly won it’s freedom from another angler, only to become trapped in a snag with full leader and about 20 metres of braid attached to him. He was in good condition, so I netted him and Ryan took care of the lines and he came home in the esky for Ryan’s dinner. What a fluke of a find. The jack had a good set of shoulders and was in very good condition.

jack-ryan

mangrove-jack-ryan

So all plans of fishing deep were abandoned and we made our way up another typical Trinity Inlet creek. I was fishing another unweighted Jackall Ammonite Shad rigged weedless and Ryan threw on a 3″ gulp shrimp. While we were rigging up I was focusing on the electric and as my back was turned I felt a solid hit and turned to see a small barra swim off with the tail of my plastic. Bugger, dropped him. We continued on and I caught a little jack deep in a snag and put the brakes on fairly hard and pulled him out on the baitcast set up and Ryan caught a little archer fish.

archer-fish

lil-jack

So what was expected to be a slow day took a nice turn and the weather was amazing. Looks like we’ll be heading back Thursday for a quick hit and run session.

24
Apr

Had another live bait session a few nights ago in the Trinity Inlet. Live bait collection was easy, but no prawns. When we arrived I spotted some surface action and and called it for grunter chasing prawns. I was wrong and they turned out to be 60-70cm barra just cruising on the surface clearly visible in the clear high tide water. They wait for bait to get pushed off the flats by the tide and sit in ambush. Tony decided to try and cast net one and instantly they shut down. Needless to say, next time we will be throwing lures and plastics at them from a distance rather than the cast net. Barramundi are so in tune with their surroundings they really remind me of jungle perch. Doesn’t take much, but a sniff of danger and they shut down and move on (unless there is a stupid feeding frenzy going down).

grunt

After collecting bait from the flats we tried some deeper water that looked very promising and also threw some dead baits and yabbies out into the channel. One of my baits was snavelled and upon striking I could tell it wasn’t much of a fish and up came a cute little barred grunter. Not too long after I was bricked on the drop by a decent fish, not much chance to stop it. We both hooked some GT on live herring. I caught a small jack and Tony got a 60cm barra which he kept for his stomach.

trevor

TREVV

trev-tony

jackk

I also managed to get owned by something very large from out in the channel, presumably a large fingermark on light gear. I had no chance around oyster encrusted pylons but in hindsight I could have played it much better but I panicked when I felt the weight of the fish and just couldn’t turn if from heading straight at the wharf. I lost a similar fish last year that ran from deep water back straight under the wharf as if it knew what it was doing. These are the fish that keep us coming back for more. Suckers for punishment.

We returned the next night and Tony caught a 55 barra on live herring and a small queeny on a shrimp plastic. I caught a cute small jack. There were thousands of herring on the drop off the flats and we spooked the barra again off the bite and up into the mangroves. Doesn’t take much for them to work out what’s going on at this spot at night in relatively clear water.

queenfish

abse

jacky

castnet

Tony better start taking some photos of his barra I reckon, or at least allow a quick photo before release. Would be good to add them into these posts.

17
Apr

inlet-sunrise2

Yesterday we left nice and early to explore the Inlet for the first time in a new tinny Ryan can borrow from time to time. The tinny itself is awesome and very well set up for estuary fishing. We were greeted by overcast and slight drizzle which is a good thing in the Trinity Inlet, keep the midgies away and prolongs the morning bite period. The photo above was taken just on sunrise and almost looked like it was going to be a fine day.

inlet-morning

Wasn’t long before we found ourself in a ubiquitous mangrove lined FNQ creek and casting lures at anything the looked like a fish might be lurking. There wasn’t much run in the top of the tide so we slowly motored up the creek. Ryan was onto a little barra on about the 3rd otr 4th cast which jumped, shook its head and threw the hooks. A few more lure changes and bends in the creek and I picked up a small GT which went pretty hard for a little guy and put on a good show. With not much happening we left and went for an explore something new.

DSCN8695

Motoring back out along the main channel a fair way up the Inlet Ryan noticed something get nailed so we went back to electric mode and stalked the flats near the mangrove line. Barra were boofing and jacks smashing bait up in the mangroves but they were too far in and the water needed to recede more. Ryan said, ‘stuff this, I’m going to cast out the other side’, his lure was taken the instant it hit the water and line screamed off the reel instantly. After a solid tussle, up popped a beautiful barred grunter that took one look at the tinny and dived off on another good run. I netted the fish, took a quick photo and sent him off to fight another day. The grunter measured around 38cm and was caught on a three inch gulp shrimp.

grunter

Continuing along the same stretch I was hit by something decent and as I backed my drag off it won its freedom. Might have been another grunter. As we made our way along the flats there were some impressive bust ups that were always just 50m either side of us and while that was fun to see it was frustrating at the same time. At one stage we both braced as a school of big mullet jumped all around the boat and how they didn’t end up in the boat I will never know. Changing to a large soft plastic I had a decent hit from a barra but the hook didn’t connect and the fact I wasn’t looking and playing with the foot controller on the electric didn’t help much either. Bust up after bust up was still happening, however the run out was finally in effect, so keen to explore we motored off in search of something different. This is why the Inlet is so good, there are plenty of options.

inlet-noon

This next creek had dirty water coming out from the mangrove flats and there was no bait to be seen, however as we got further up mullet schools were everywhere along with mud herring and plenty of gar. A good sign we switched to live bait and first cast saw me donate a net to the cast net gods however I managed to salvage 5 mullet. So we rigged up and threw them out into a tight channel holding bait. Didn’t take long and my mullet was snavelled, knowing I had to get it up off the rocks didn’t help my cause as this was a decent fish, certainly a Lutjanus! I could feel the head shakes and runs and I’d near locked drag but still, even with turning it’s head straight up I was busted off on the rocks. I was pretty devastated having lost what was clearly a good fish and I thought to myself and said to Ryan, that was a big jack! I cast my next mullet into the same spot and was hit within 2 minutes, no chance straight to bust off. Felt like a big cod, just hit bam, thanks for coming.

So I upped the anti and went for 40lb mainline and 60lb leader, threw out the last mullet and was rewarded with a small but very strong fingermark. So that first bust off was more than likely a larger fingermark I think. The 5 mullet were now either in fish stomachs, or donated to a rock somewhere on the bottom. Ryan did a bodgy repair on the castnet and I managed to somehow cast another 5 baitfish, this time mud herring. For some reason we couldn’t connect to a fish at all on the herring and every bait was taken without hook up. So we called it a day and headed home.

fingermark-inlet

11
Mar

Dinner was canceled and a last minute decision was made to go for a fish. I’ve been keen to test some of the latest batch of lures that I’ve come up with. Mostly larger lures with a bit of bulk to them. The plan was to collect live bait, soak a line in the Trinity Inlet and flick a lure around the lights where bait and barra congregate.

It was a fairly quiet night with not many runs, then out of nowhere Tony and I got a double hook up, his was a legal mangrove jack and mine a 60cm barramundi. The mangrove jack was caught on a sardine and the barra on a bony bream. We persisted for another 30-45 minutes with not much result before moving out of the shallow water into the deep not long after the tide started to run out.

60cm barra

60cm barra-mat

Fishing the deeper water was slow, the water was consistently changing between turbid and relatively clean with not much bait around. Then out of the blue, Tony caught a 40+ fingermark and also a fairly decent tarpon on a gulp shrimp, christening his new reel. After around an hour some bait (mostly mullet) started moving into the area off the flats and so did the barramundi. Tony started getting ‘flashed’ by big barra as he retrieved his tiny two inch shrimp, so I started throwing around one of the lures I’ve made.

I put out a long cast and instantly started a moderate to fast constant retrieve just near a developing current line. The lure got belted hard, really hard. Instantly taking to the air I could see this was a decent barra, I felt the line pull tight and the lure secure its place firmly in the jaw. This fish was full of beans and did his best to both dislodge the lure jumping several times with violent head shakes then huge diving runs setting the hook firmly. Also trying it’s best to take me around the pylons as well. The gear I was using stood up to the fight but I couldn’t believe the strength this barra had, on one of the power runs I was actually pulled off my feet momentarily. Awesome, haven’t had a estuary fish do that before! Netting the fish in a dilly lift pot was certainly hairy, yet mildly entertaining and it took many, many attempts in the fast flowing current. Didn’t look good on a few occasions but the braid held up and rod kept the barra off the pylons with relative ease. Very happy with this set up and it is far more capable than I’d given it credit for.

We were a little surprised the fish only went 85cm as it was a very healthy specimen and was called for closer to 90cm in the water. But for my first fish on a homemade lure, I couldn’t be happier! I tested the lure in the pool earlier in the day and even though it needs a final clear coat, the lure swam well so I thought I’d give it a go. Tony’s mate Matt saw it in the water and really liked the action asking me about it, he couldn’t believe I’d made it which was good feedback.

85cm barra on homemade timber lure

85-barra

85-barra-mat

Tony also dropped a large barra which was bound to happen fishing tight quarters with 8lb braid and a medium heavy rod. Hooked on the humble two inch shrimp!!