Barra – what barra?
  |  First Published: October 2003

IF YOU’RE coming up to the Gulf to chase a few barra before the closure you’d better hurry – the closed season begins at midday on October 3. The closed season here is different from the East Coast because Gulf barra begin their breeding cycle earlier. The minimum size limit in the Gulf is 60cm.


The barramundi of the Gulf are up and running and just waiting to belt any lure that’s in the right place at the right time. King salmon have started to make an appearance with the odd good fish being captured on live mullet around creek mouths and on the run-in tide on the flats. King salmon are great to eat – the equal of barra – but are very hard to clean with great big knobs of bone growing along their backbone. Make sure you bleed the fish and put it on ice straight away to maintain the great eating qualities. Sitting in a wet sack for four or five hours in the October sun won’t improve anything.

There has been the odd grunter around but the early arrival of the northwesters has made it hard to target these fish; access to the outside areas of Karumba has been slowed by short sharp chop. The blue salmon made an appearance but paid for it in return.


Now that barra are off the hit list it’s time to play with the big black jew, as October is the start of black jew time here in Karumba. Expect the big fish to make an appearance at around this time and hang on right through to December. Melbourne Cup time is a good period. Black jew are also subject to certain possession and size limits, and I’ll write more about them next month.

Some grunter action can be expected on the smaller double tides, and this is also a good time to chase the black jewies. The big king salmon prefer this time as well and willingly take lures trolled around creek mouths.


As far as barra reels go, you can’t get better than the Calcutta 100 and 200s or the Cronarch. This has only been in my experience, but I’ve used them forever and my clients have done so for the last four years and they are great reels. I was given one on the new Daiwa Millionaire CV-X 205s by Rick Castino of Gulf Marine and Outdoors to play with and I’ve been more than impressed. The reel is designed to be a casting tool just like the Shimano equivalents and is more than equal to the task, with the Magforce V adjustment allowing gradual backlash control.

The reel holds a swag of 20lb Bionic Braid which, when mated to a decent 6kg barra stick, is an efficient, light and powerful tool for casting lures all day. I can’t comment on the drag out of the box because the reel had done a few laps before I got to play with it, but with the addition of ‘Smoooooth’ drag washers the drag was fantastic. The photo on this page of a 95cm barra in a small creek is testament to the reel’s ability to turn the fish several times from the snag it came from and was trying to return to.

The price on the reel is comparable with the Calcutta. The reels also come with a five-year warranty.

Get your rod in your hand.

1) Big barra are on the menu this month. This one fell to a Tilsan Barra cast with one of the new Daiwa CV- X205 baitcasting reels on top of a Wilson Live Fibre Classic 6kg rod.

2) Back she goes.

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