Get in quick for barra
  |  First Published: August 2009

Our wonderful weather has changed with strong wind warnings upsetting the perfect year we have had so far. August was quiet with the blue salmon only just starting to show in big numbers and the water temperature staying cold for the first half of the month closing down the barramundi catches.

However on the good days Spanish mackerel have been around and their smaller relatives the spotted and doggie mackerel have also been plentiful.

I always love September as the sun heats the water and our pound for pound best fighting fish (in my opinion) the awesome barramundi start their journey out to the mouth of the river to breed.

It’s important to remember the closed season in the Gulf differs from the east coast, with the Gulf closure from midday 25 September 2009 to midday 22 January 2010.

Before then, targeting barramundi with live bait is a good option on the last bend of the river before the gulf. The northern side on the edge of the drop-off is the best spot here. Mullet baits are effective in this area. Thread a wide gap 5/0 hook through the nose of the mullet bait and let it drift without a sinker in the outgoing current.

For anglers chasing barra with lures, an outfit that will not fail under pressure is essential. Berkley supply some great gear at very reasonable prices.

I use an Abu Coastal Inshore reel spooled with 30lb Sonic braid tied to 60lb mono leader and a G-Loomis cr756 crankbait rod. This outfit is expensive but it is an awesome weapon when trolling for big barra. The rod has a soft tip to allow the barramundi to suck in the lure and a very strong bottom end to get them away from structure.

The Abu reel has more than 20lb of drag pressure to really supply power to slow down those big girls heading for snags and freedom.

Lures that are tried and tested in Karumba are the Classic Barras, Halco Scorpions and Killalure Barra Baits. I like to use lures handmade by Lance Butler as they are tried and tested up here and have plenty of 1m+ barra to their credit. Colours are a personal choice as you never know which one will fire on any given day.

Look for structure in the water and the tell tale arches of fish holding on the snags. Make sure your lure bumps the snag on the way past. Also try trolling in both directions to entice the barra to strike.

We had some kids showing the more seasoned anglers how to catch the big girls with Bodie Bell and Cameron Erskine both landing 1m+ barra while Bodie’s dad, Haden, had to drive the boat.

This time of year also is a good time to try live baiting off the old Norman River bridge at Normanton. Fishing at night is the most productive as the lights attract the bait, which in turn attracts the fish.

There is a good chance for king salmon here too, so be prepared for some fun. Berkley Gulp soft plastics also work well here so try to have one rod attached to a live bait, while working the soft plastic on the other.


The Karumba Katch Seafood Festival is happening this year on 10-11 October. The massive seafood festival kicks off on Friday night (9 October) with the Beetson & Raudonikis football show. The weekend will feature music, food stalls, delicious seafood delights and children’s activities. Please contact Lyn Heath from the End of the Road Motel on (07) 4745 9599 for further info.


The weather throughout August lived up to all expectations on Sweers Island, with only a few sets of blustery southeasterly winds. The rest of the month the weather permitted fishos to choose their desired locations and target their preferred species.

A wide variety of fish was caught over August including coral trout, cobia, GT, queenfish, cod and of course fingermark.

Local garfish is still the bait of choice, and the resort supplies bait bags expertly mixed by Fleetmaster Mick, which include gar, squid and mullet. Add a live bait or two and you have a shot at nearly every fish in the water.

The warmer September water has already brought on the barra, with several being hooked, many released and a couple landed down at the ever-popular Barra Beach. The soft plastics are proving more popular than old favouite popper, and Mick also recommends shallow, hardbodied lures, with a light, overhead casting rod as the preferred option.

The summer northerlies will be starting to set in as the month draws on, so get out there now and make the most of fishing at Sweers Island.

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