Summer time……Fishing flood time run off, run out tide drains and color changes are often associated with Northern Territory Barra Rivers or Cape York estuaries, actually nothing could be further than the truth. Anywhere from Tin Can Bay north (and I bet it happens further south) anglers with a bit of knowledge and patience (and the ability to read tide charts and understand tide heights) can have some amazing drain fishing for many predatory species.
Drains are a deeper gutter that basically ‘drains’ water off shallow banks or flats on the run out tide, this in turn funnels all the marine life, big and small off these areas in turn creating the perfect ambush point for those hungry predators.
Usually these drain mouths fish best on a run out tide, especially on the bottom half when there is plenty of current flow out of these areas. Quite often dirty water is flowing out creating a dirty color line, along this line is where the thinking angler should be looking, from Hervey bay north threadfin salmon, barramundi, flathead, jacks, bream, and grunter almost any predatory fish that enters the estuary can be found hunting here.
One point to remember is the tides can play a major role in how well these drains fish, like I said earlier you need good current flows so steer away from neap tides no run no fun! Simple as that. Most of the drains I fish are very shallow so when approaching keep noise and boat movement to a minimum, shallow water predator, especially the bigger ones are very wary and it won’t take much to spook them off.
Lure and tackle selection is simple, use quality, some of the fish in these gutter and drains can be big, threadfin salmon over 120 cm and similar Barra’s will test any tackle and if you are fishing light big flathead and jew will give you a good run also. I prefer to use shallow running minnows that just dive under, I had a bunch of daiwa x-cross 120 mm minnows, they were awesome but even surface lures in the earlier and later parts of the day when the light is less harsh work well.
Reel sizes from 2500 to 4000 spin reels, 7 foot rods or bait casters of similar size will do the job, 20 pound line is ideal, 30 around harsh country but personally I rarely go above 20, the new j-braid is awesome as it has a finer diameter than most and seems to last well around logs and rock!
Remember match the lures to the bait you can see, mullet, gar, herring, boney bream and prawns will be heading out these drains and most will be around 60-120 mm.