The Suncoast Barra Park, found on David Low Way in Bli Bli, has undergone a bit of a transformation in the last 12 months, and that transformation will delight anglers of all skill levels.
Unlike many stocked waterways that have anglers fishing in oval shaped ponds, the Suncoast Barra Park sees anglers fishing in an old jet-boat racing track. This convoluted track provides a heap of shoreline, plenty of edge water to fish and some very interesting moments as big barra scream off around corners much like the jet-boats used to do over 10 years ago.
Also, the barra found in the lake are not your typical sluggish and grossly obese farm fish. These fish live in saltwater from the Maroochy River and have a choice of pelletised food from customers and a range of natural items like shrimp, bony bream, mullet and prawns that all make their way into the waterway. Importantly this means the barra get a variety in their diet that keeps them fit and healthy.
And so with all these thoughts in my head, Shayne McKee and I dropped in to check out the essentially new operation to see first hand how the improvements had made this a must-visit for anyone wanting to get stuck into a barra or two.
Our trip was with new guide Angus Collins, who joined the team in October 2012. Angus took us through a typical 3 hour tour, a three hour tour… Sorry I got distracted by singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island! So let’s take you all on the same 3 hour tour to give you an idea of what is in store for you.
As you arrive, Angus greets you at the door and takes you through a safety and operational talk before switching on a short 1 minute video that shows you some basics on firstly hooking up the boat and then how to fight the fish once hooked. It’s a short and succinct video and is all you need given that most everyone is itching to get a rod in the water.
We hit the water straight in front of the kiosk and entry area and with a handful of berley and a cleverly presented pellet bait it took all of five minutes for the first fish to be hooked. Unfortunately this fish wore through the leader and won its freedom. The next fish, hooked the next cast did the same!
The third fish however stayed connected for the duration and after a few tense moments and a walk of around 50m around the lake, the 80cm fish was landed. The small size 10 hook was easily removed, the fish revived and released, as all fish must be these days.
After this flurry of activity we insisted our guide Angus have a fish and he quickly pinned a neat little barra around 65cm before we decided to move locations.
The next location saw Shayne hook his first fish and get rubbed off on some reeds about 50m away. Not deterred Shayne backed up with a great fish of around 75cm that tried to rub him off on the same reeds, but with a bit of rod work, Shayne had the fish coming his way.
Now all this sounds like fun and it was, but you need to factor into this equation that we were using rods set up with 6lb monofilament and an 8lb leader! Yep, super light tackle aimed at getting the punters onto a fish and into a decent fight. The supplied tackle works brilliantly for this, although you do risk getting rubbed off on the structure (mangroves and reeds) or bitten off on the raspy barra mouth.
With this in mind I decided to rig up my heavy flathead rod with a 20lb leader and see what happened. With 10lb braid and the heavier leader it would allow me to shorten the fight and put some effort into steering the fish instead of the fish dictating to me. First cast and a chunky barra nailed the bait off the surface and I was into it. With the extra pressure the fish panicked a bit and got airborne on four magical occasions putting on a great show and was landed in quick time. That had me sold! Yes I was getting fewer shots at the fish with the heavier tackle, but it was great having the direct feel of braid.
And this brings me to a good point, you can bring and use your own tackle or use the tackle on site. This is great as it allows you to use the gear you’re comfortable with or come with literally nothing but a hope of catching a fish and getting into a few. It’s a good way to meet the differing expectations of visitors.
The 3 hours flew by and the best tactic was simply to toss in 3-5 pellets, wait for the fish to start slurping them off the surface, toss in your hooked pellet and watch it like a hawk until a fish ate it. If anyone has flyfished they will immediately understand the need to strike at the right time – just when the fish has turned its head downwards. It reminded me so much of dry fly fishing it wasn’t funny. I really enjoyed the entire visual aspect of it – especially when you could see a barra materialise under your pellet and shadow it before engulfing it.
Although pond fishing is not for everyone I had a blast. A fish is a fish is a fish! You still had to have a little bit of luck and skill, although you could also catch a barra with a bait fished on the bottom. So there literally is a chance for everyone to catch a fish.
So who would I recommend check out the Suncoast Barra Park. Well just about anyone. It’s a clean and neat place that is safe for the entire family. Everyone is a chance to catch a fish and you can make it as hard or as simple as you like. I really enjoyed watching the barra come up to the pellet and smash it. It was visual and a lot of fun. I would have loved to fish into the evening and chuck some lures around, but we didn’t have the opportunity. And for those interested, yes you can catch these fish on lures and flies, but I’d recommend you talk to the team first to give you the best chance.
And you can do this all by yourself or grab a guide. We used Angus Collins as our guide and he knows just the right things to do, the places to go and the tactics to use to get a fish or two on the end of the line. It’s a slightly more expensive option, but if you want to be in with the best chance, it’s a sensible one. You can also book the entire park out as an exclusive use. This is brilliant if you have a small corporate party or a bunch of keen angling mates. Good times and great laughs are sure to be had on an exclusive booking.
If you’re keen on catching a barra and don’t have the time, patience or money to head north, the Suncoast Barra Park is the place to scratch that itch. Yes it’s pond fishing, but believe me it’s way more fun than you reckon it’ll be. I’m already planning on taking my 6 year old to get her into her first barra. Trust me, she will not care two hoots about it being a pond barra, she will just be amazed that she’s caught a barra at all. And isn’t that the attitude we all should take in fishing? I think so.
Suncoast Barra Park
367 David Low Way, Bli Bli, QLD
(07) 5448 7555
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Exclusive Early Morning Fishing Tour
(Pre- Bookings are required)
|Time:||6am - 9am, 7 days (October - April)|
|Cost:||$75 per person|
Exclusive Mid-morning Group Tour
(Pre-Bookings are required)
|Time:||9am - 12pm, 7 days (October - April)|
|Cost:||$45 per person|
Exclusive Evening Fishing Tour
(Pre-Bookings are required)
|Time:||6pm - 9pm, 7 days (October - April)|
|Cost:||$95 per person|
Self Guided Fishing Experience
Sept - May:12pm - 6pm : 7 Days
Adults (16 years and over )
Children (15 years and under)
Family (2 adults and children)
All prices include rod hire and baitReads: 5650