(Craig, I think this is where the other reports go??)
Hi guys, Wade and myself went up to the Boyne for a 3 day weekend fishing trip (22-24/2/13). Target species was barramundi alone.
After countless hours of research on the area and species we made a few phone calls and emails asking for any recent reports and with one local tackle shop saying what we wanted to hear, our hopes were set high to say the least! It seemed that the big barra were going to be caught as easily as they were after the big spill back in 2011… Ha, that was our first mistake, don’t get me wrong there are still good numbers of fish around but they have adjusted to the wild and although we could find them on the wide scan they are not easily caught.
First morning session we were on the water around 6am greeted with perfect conditions, high tide was at 7:15. First thing was to head straight to the mouth and sound around. Surprisingly there was no surface action, no birds and no other species with only a couple of other boats doing the same. By 10am we hadn’t see a single fish on the sounder only countless bait schools. We decided to head up river to the bridge where there were a few boats trolling, started chatting to one bloke who turned out to be another ANSA member from the Gladstone branch (forgotten his name but he is the tagging office I believe) and he gave a few pointers which seen us opt for trolling around the western side between the bank and first pillion. The depth was around 20ft under the bridge depending on the stage of tide, heading further down stream to the pontoon well what’s left of it goes up to 8-10ft with a rocky bottom. The most fish we seen caught were between the bridge, in between the marker buoys and the boat ramp.
After a quick lunch break we were back at it for the afternoon session with a couple of new 120 classics +15’s, after the 4th or 5th pass through the bridge Wade hooked up but was just as quick to lose it. We both were a little excited now and shortly later Wade was on again but this time the hooks stuck and a few minutes later we had a 835mm barra on the boat. It was a stonka compared to the 600-700mm fish that were apparently being caught all day long. A few quick happy snaps and it was tagged and released, Wade was even more excited to land it on his Daiwa Morethan Branzino 3000 spooled with 30lb Super PE and 40lb Black Magic leader matched to a Daiwa SOL 16-20lbs. High fives all round and then back at it for some more. From memory Wade lost another one and not long after that he landed one more at 700mm, after buying myself a Daiwa Lexa 300 spooling it with 20lb Ohdragon braid and 40lb leader matched to a 13 Omens 67MH rod I was completely over the moon…. What seemed like hours passing by I finally hooked up unfortunately to a bloody snag and loosing the classic and leader, quickly swapped to my 4000 spin gear (same gear used up in Mackay) and yep you guessed it, I hook up! Only a littlie at 730mm so a quick “happy” snap, tagged and then released. We fished till about 8pm and then called it quits due to no other action.
The next morning we changed plans and headed up river away from the crowds and the increasing winds. We launched from the Bruce HWY bridge at Benaraby going all the way up to the last set of rapids before Peaks Crossing where we stumbled across big barra boofing little bony bream washing down the rapids, we had this spot all to our selves. Quite a few time the fish were smashing into bait within a metre from the boat. We threw everything at them, well over $500 of different lures with out a touch. I got sick of it so started throwing a 1/2 ounce TT blade around on a Daiwa 100 lexa matched to a Hurricane Bass MC-662M with 15lb Super PE braid, 12lb leader and a 30lb tippet (the rod has micro guides so had to opt for a tippet). This is my favourite little set up for smaller species like bass and small jacks, after casting the blade around a few times I snagged the bottom in one of the eddies. I had my thumb on the spool while trying to jig free the lure and in doing so attracted a hungry barra, in a split second my rod buckled over and I yell “Yep I’m on!” with a quick #*@*! it just busted me off, damn it I was thumbing it with out realising! Lesson learnt the hard way. More hours passed and yet the barra were still feeding all around us. I gave in again and decided to walk around the rapids to see what was up further, I found a little weir full of white water and eddies but all the edges were full on catfish, couldn’t get a lure past them. I’ve never seen them like that before in numbers along the bank feeding on any unsuspecting bony bream. I arrived back at the boat and Wade had hooked up but lost it on 8lb braid while I was gone, within 5 minutes he was on again with all the current and snags around it was a struggle to get it to the boat let along land it without a net. 15 minutes later we managed to steer it to one of the larger eddies and I got the Jig Master lip grippers in it, while having a breather it shook its head and pulled the lip grips straight out of my hands! Wade done some fancy rod work and I managed to get my hand onto the lip grips with the worlds strongest grip this time. After countless measures we called it for 995mm, what a fish! Gave Wade a quick demo on how to hold it for a pic and after a few attempts we got there and I gotta say I wish I was in his shoes! Tagged her and swam her off to fight another day. Out of all lure she ate a 70mm YoZuri crystal minnow with standard hooks and rings, none were straightened either. A few landbase locals started to appear and the fish slowed down so we called it quits. 7 hours of casting for 2 hook ups and 1 landed out of over a hundred surface boofs, a few well deserved drinks finished the night off. (I won’t mention the part where were ploughed our way back to the ramp over the rapids under the bridge…)
The last morning we went back to the mouth and trolled under the bridge in the hope for a few quick little ones before heading off back home. Unfortunately we didn’t get a touch and after chatting to Wade about each morning we come up with the conclusion that the barra weren’t bitting till the temp reached 28 degrees with top temp going up to 29, temp in the mornings were 27.6 degrees and wouldn’t go up till after lunch. Tide didn’t seem to effect them from what we seen. If anyone can confirm why the barra were not chewing in the morning we would love to know why. I would like to thanks the staff at Fish-head for the pointers and also a huge thanks to Wade for the trip. It was a great weekend away with plenty of laughs, swearing and fishing
Good read and great pics boys. Also like that you included the gear and brands you use. Ive previously heard a bit about the Boyne from my cousin. Its just moved up on my ‘must fish locations’ list now.