Good year expected as barramundi season draws closer
IT'S TIME to dust off the rod, prepare lures and apply for annual leave as the 2019 barramundi season quickly approaches.
Rockhampton is fast becoming Australia's hottest and most accessible destination for fishing the big barra and The Morning Bulletin's fishing columnist, Scotty Lynch reckons 2019 will be a big year on the Fitzroy.
The three month wait is almost over as anglers count the days until midday, February 1.
"I've heard from a few local charters that they're already becoming booked out,” Mr Lynch said.
"People are coming to Rockhampton from all sorts of places to try and catch a barra.”
"There will probably be 200 boats around the Fitzroy at the start of the season, but I'm confident the two new boat ramps will be able to accommodate the traffic.
"Since the implementation of the net-free zone on in the Fitzroy River, most years are pretty good for barra.”
Craig Robertson from Reel Fishing CQ is a charter operator on the Fitzroy River with a growing business.
"Last year, I was getting more bookings as the year went on and now I've got bookings into March,” he said.
"A lot of people seem to be coming here to fish.”
Recent rainfall put a cloud of uncertainty over this year's season as the barra's navigation systems try to deal with the increased fresh water in the river, but Mr Lynch says it won't be a problem.
"The amount of rain we have had in the last couple of months won't be enough to effect this season,” he said.
"People can not catch barramundi during the off season, but I have heard of some salmon fisherman in the river coming across barra.
"This is a good sign. There are some big barra in there this year.”
The net-free zone was introduced in the Fitzroy River in 2015 to increase recreational fishing opportunities in regional Queensland and support tourism and economic growth.
The success of the net-free zone has seen the emergence of viable commercial fishing ventures such as charters.
However, a few bad habits have also developed on the river banks and waterways.
"I've seen fish waste being left around boat ramps and this will eventually attract crocs,” Mr Lynch said.
"People should fillet their fish at home or put their waste in the bins.
"There are a couple of large crocs around the boat ramp and we don't want them to associate people with food.”
"First and foremost, the new pontoons at the boat ramps are for launching boats,” he said.
"It is not a fishing platform.
People targeting barramundi this season are reminded to respect bag limits and only keep barramundi that reach the size requirements as set by Fisheries.
The 2019 season will run until November 1.