Bundy barra fever
  |  First Published: March 2016

It’s been a pretty hot wet start to the year in Bundaberg and March is upon us, so time on the water should be little more comfortable.

The big talk of our region has been the barramudi fishing with the Burnett River producing some great barra fishing, despite the efforts of the professional fishers. The river had a very good flush out over February, which will mean some good fishing for the rest of the year. There were a lot of barramundi that had been up in the fresh that moved down into the salt with the big dump of rain we had and these fish will spread out over time.

The anglers using live bait have been doing well fishing live mullet in the deeper holes in the river and also drifting them along the rock walls around Kirbys.

If you’re keen to chase them on lures, trolling the rock walls with larger lures that dive to around 3m divers are perfect. I am a big fan of gold colours in the cleaner water for barra, but if the river is still a bit dirty the lime green flouro colours work well.

The key to trolling for barra is to think of it as driving your lure, not the boat. You may end up zigging and zagging your way around the many rocky walls and outcrops, but it is important to drive that lure past where the fish are hanging.

Of course, your sounder really is very helpful when trolling and most keen anglers will know the benefits of sounders with side imaging as well as down imaging. Knowing exactly what you’re trolling over and seeing whether there are fish there or not is vitally important, as fishing where the fish are is the key.

The Burnett is not the only river in our area producing barra, with the Kolan, Elliott and Burrum rivers and Baffle Creek all producing the goods. Each one of these systems has different features and ecosystems, which mean the barra will hunt in different types of locations and at different stages. All in all though, they are still barramundi and they do love to eat, so your target when visiting these systems is to find out where they love to eat and when.

For instance, it’s a common misconception that you have to look for the deepest part of the river to find the fish. In the Burnett there are schools of barramundi siting in 2m of water off a rock point. They sit there because as the tide runs out, all the mullet that come off the adjacent sand flat have to swim around that location.

In Baffle Creek, I have found barramundi schooling in a small snag downstream from a great rock bar. They will sit on the rock bar at times, but the bait avoid the rock bar and swim around the snag, hence the barra sit there waiting for a feed.

In the Kolan, I have found barramundi cruising around on a mud flat in 2m of water. They patrol from on creek mouth to another, rounding up the baitfish just like trevally or threadfin. The key really is to get on the water, watch your sounder and cast off any preconceived ideas that barra are a mythical magical creature that you accidently encounter while fishing every now and then. Go out and target them, they show up really well on side imaging and down imaging and they rarely just sit still waiting for you to just happen by.

Remember if you’re going to target barra, just target barra. You will need to use at least 40lb leader and dust of all those big lures and change those rusty hooks.

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