The Brackish Zone

The Brackish Zone


The Brackish Zone

By Luke Galea

Sit back and ask yourself when was the last time you focused whole-heartedly on fishing a systems brackish zone. There are so many times where we as anglers specifically target the salt OR the freshwater section but the reality of it is that you can catch the whole myriad of fresh and saltwater species within this one zone at certain times of the year. Whether you reside in the north or south of this great country of ours, this zone is usually given a back seat as the middle ground between the die-hard saltys or the true blue fresho’s and is often overlooked.

To be completely honest, I am guilty of this myself to a large degree. The photo’s attached with this blog come from my first time fishing the brackish zone in a river system that I have spent a considerable amount of time fishing both the complete fresh and complete salt sections and I can certainly say that I’ll be back. I will say straight up that the fish were certainly not XOS in size but there certainly was an excellent diversity of species.

Many recreational and/or commercially important species such as barramundi, mangrove jack and sea mullet are catadromous. This essentially means they transition between fresh and saltwater environments for a specific purpose i.e. to breed.

The zone between fresh and salt water is not always a natural transition. Irrigation requirements for agricultural purposes have led to the installation of many man-made weirs. These weirs essentially dam the upstream section for irrigation/human consumption (now not affected by tidal movement) etc whilst the salt section remains on the downstream side. Man-made infrastructure such as this are essentially major barriers to a fishes migratory, spawning and/or recruitment needs and therefore have a massive effect on the ecology and fish population in the system.

A “wild river” is a river system that has no man-made weir or dam infrastructure installed upon it and the transition between salt and fresh is therefore a natural one and allows for unimpeded migration. The river I fished on this particular occasion falls into this category and if you have the privilege of having a system such as this on your doorstep then I encourage you to focus a considerable amount of your angling time on working the place out. Fish populations should certainly be more populous and diverse as a result.

In addition to the barra, GT’s, flathead and archer fish captured on this occasion, we also observed mangrove jacks and some cracking bream. Although the lion-share of fish were on the smaller side, there is absolutely no reason why larger barra and jacks would not be present, particularly on the larger tides around the new and full moon each month where a greater water presence and salt content would stir things up a little.

It’s something to think about anyway.

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