Blue Eyed Barra Bonanza
  |  First Published: April 2011

What a wild ride it was at Lucinda that Wednesday night – something we will never forget. Yasi has put her mark on our piece of tropical fishing paradise; what was once so lush and green is now ripped up and dead or starting to die. However, on the bright side there is now an amazing amount of new structure in our estuaries that will provide great new homes for the barra and jacks.

Normally I cover the jetty and the islands/reef but this month, due to email demands, we will concentrate on bagging a Hinchinbrook barra. The last month, after Yasi, has provided cricket score catches of barra, due to the Cardwell barra farm being demolished. The channel is full of these farm fish as well as the wild saltwater fish.

Farm barra are easy to identify as they have blue eyes, are darker in colouration and are normally heavier, also they are much easier to fool into eating your lure. We have had sessions with nearly every cast is a hit or a hook up with fish in the 60-80cm mark.

It is overwhelming when you first arrive in Lucinda as there is so much water it is easy to spend all day driving around and not fishing. There are some simple factors to help you get hooked up with your first Hinchinbrook barra. It is pointless listing names and fishing spots, every creek, mud bank or rock bar will have barra on it at some stage.


Barra will move around as the water drops out of the mangroves on the falling tide. Their movements will follow the baitfish, so find an area that offers structure still in the water at low tide with plenty of baitfish. Snags up a creek, rock piles or drains in the mud banks are perfect spots to try.

Most importantly have faith in the area you have chosen. If you don’t have an electric drift then anchor up and persist in the same area, especially in the hour before the low tide and the hour after the tide turns as this is the optimum time for barra to feed. Do not move around at this time be in your spot ready to fish.

The location you choose should also have a colour change running along the edge or through the structure. This current line is a bait highway, which barra hide in to ambush prey. There is a spot where you can watch the dirty water push through and right on cue there are ‘boofs’ and swirls as the barra feed. Keep an eye out for this water as at some stage barra will move through and along it in search of food.


I am not a big believer in lure colours I just stick to the old rule of dark days and murky water use a dark lure and bright days use a brighter lure.

If you’re fishing in deeper water and around structure, such as snags, using a deep diver should produce more fish. Get your lure as close to the structure as possible and keep it in the strike zone for as long as possible. Dig the lure down deep then use slight twitches with heaps of pauses, you will find 90% of barra strikes are when the lure is paused.

If you’re fishing shallow water such as drains and mud/sand banks then shallow lures are the way to go. Using a threadline outfit for this fishing has its advantages, as it allows for longer casts so you can stay further away and not spook fish. Also you can throw smaller lures, which is handy if fish are being picky.

People used to look at me crazy when I would be in my backyard throwing lures into buckets, but let me tell you it is worth the practise! When you know fish are in a certain area and you can’t land your lure where you want, you will wish you spent more hours practising.

Live baits are the only way to go for barra. Yes you will get the odd one on dead, cut baits but if you want to specifically target barra secure live baits such as mullet, gar, whiting or prawns. Rigging them on a paternoster rig is the best way so they don’t get harassed by the pickers on the bottom. Remember barra feed from below, they have eyes on top of their head looking towards the surface. As with any fishing use as little weight as needed and a 4/0 hook is sufficient.

Using a float is my favourite way to fish for barra. This method is deadly as you can find the structure on the bottom and set your bait at the exact depth you want. It takes a little fiddling around but once you’re used to this technique your catch rate will soar.

As with all fishing, patience and persistence will pay off in the long run.

Good luck and twitch, twitch BOOF!

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