hauls dirty water
Tony Wright loves crabbing and he doesn’t miss out on mud crabs.

Decent hauls from dirty water

Welcome to 2022. Hopefully it’s a year filled with lots of fish and crabs. The rivers and creeks certainly copped a good flush out last month. Regular rains do amazing things to a waterway, pushing all the fish and bait out towards the mouth of the system. This can make finding the fish a lot easier as they have less water to feed in. hauls dirty water

And as the bait starts to push back upstream, the fish will follow and this can be a great time to target a range of species. Jewfish, threadfin, mangrove jack and flathead are all good targets after recent rain. There have been a lot of barramundi turning up the past couple of years, and many anglers are finding them on good quality sounders, as they stand out when located. Barra are still off limits for another month, so these fish need to be left alone if you find them. hauls dirty water

Mangrove jack feed very well in dirty water. I used to chase them three to four times a week in the local waterways around Brisbane and it was always the dirty water that produced the best results for me. I think a lot of anglers feel the water is too dirty to be throwing lures at them but trust me, it’s not! Deep blood-red prawn imitations and white plastics are always a good start when the water is dirty. hauls dirty water

hauls dirty water
The author with a couple of nice mud crabs.

Mud crabs also enjoy a good flush out from the rain, and they were certainly on the move last month. I put some pots in for a couple of nights and caught plenty of nice muddies. I find the months during spring to be very ordinary for mud crabs, so I don’t bother these days. December normally sees enough moving around to get a feed together for Christmas, but the rain got them moving a bit earlier this season.

The next four to five months should produce some excellent catches of muddies, especially if the forecasted rain keeps up. Fresh bait is always best. If I’m crabbing for a few days, I make sure I change the bait every day. The bait can start to stink after a day in the water during summer when the water temperature is high.

Mullet is one of the best types of bait for crabs. These can be bought from the shop or cast-netted in the rivers and creeks. Most fish frames work well, and I put a chicken frame or two in each pot as well. Small creek mouths are an obvious place to try for mud crab, but they do receive a lot of attention which can see you ending up with a pot full of female and undersize male crabs.

Trying different areas can work in your favour. The deeper water is always worth a look when the water warms up during summer. Make sure you’re crab pots are clearly marked and your floats have the correct information on them. Check the fisheries website if you’re unsure about what needs to be on them. There are still plenty of grubs out there checking other people’s pots. Unfortunately, leaving them out overnight always has risks involved, but this is when most of the crabs are on the move.

Hope to see you on the water.

About Keith Stratford

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