Back Into the Barra!
  |  First Published: February 2003

THAT’S the Silly Season over for another year! No, I don’t mean the holiday season – I’m talking about the barramundi closed season. Many fishos have been battling the cravings, coping with mood swings, asset liquidation and threats of divorce, all over a fish. But, oh – what a fish!


My tip for this month is a tried-and-proven option: hire a guide! Fortunately, old attitudes like “I’m not paying someone to take me fishing” are slowly being let go as people see the advantages of enjoying a guided trip. You don’t have to prepare reels, rods and tackle, don’t have to gather bait, and there’s no clean-up when you get home. It is no-pressure fishing and, for anglers who find it expensive to maintain their own boat, it’s the perfect alternative.

The really smart fishos are not just going on guided trips in new areas on their holidays – they also hire guides in their local area once or twice a year. It’s a way to hone your fishing skills by learning from someone who fishes for a living.

If you go on a trip with a professional guide, don’t just sit and catch fish or analyse the dollar value of the fillets you keep. Ask questions! Find out why you’re fishing a certain area and inquire about the effects of tide, moon and weather on the choice of bait, lure or fly. Inquire about where the fish move or run on different tides. The new techniques you’ll pick up in one day would take your average fisherman 12 months or more to stumble upon on his own.

But above all, be honest with your guide and tell him what you’re hoping to learn and which species you want to catch. A good guide will be happy to help.

So how do you find a good guide? Start by talking to mates who’ve been out, and then visit your local tackle stores (not just one) and quiz them on what each local guide has to offer. Cross-reference their answers and don’t be afraid to call the guides and chat to them to get a feel for which one you feel most comfortable with.


There have been recent reports in the Townsville area of some nice crabs at Crocodile Creek to the south, and jacks and barra are taking lures in Morriseys, Cattle and Crystal Creeks. Be aware that the creek mouths, especially at Crystal Creek, change with any downpour. You may have to adjust your spot at Crystal a little, but it always holds good structure.

Queenfish have been taking lures around the headlands (Pallarenda). This species tends to be attracted to a quickly-retrieved lures and are a sight to behold when they come to the surface to smash a popper or fizzer!

There are still good reds to be had on the Maggie Island shoals, and reports are rolling in of massive fingermark caught in the Hinchinbrook Channel on live bait. What I’ve heard would make anyone want to sneak up for a few days!

Well, I’m off; I can hear barra boofing down the creek!

1) The author with an early season barramundi.

2) Jacks are turning up in Morriseys, Cattle and Crystal Creeks.

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