Distribution: Barramundi are
distributed right across the Top End of Australia. From mid north
Queensland to the Ashburton River in Western Australia.
How to catch: Barra respond well
to all styles of fishing. The most exciting and rewarding way
to fish for Barra is chucking lures and flies into snags, rock bars,
mangrove roots and any other type of structure. The hit and fight of
Barramundi can be heartstopping. Another successful way to target
Barra is by slow trolling a lure behind a boat. This is very
productive and gives you a chance to have a few tinnies. Best lures
are deep diving plugs, surface lures at night and Wonderworms.
Eating Qualities: The Barramundi
is regarded as one of our best eating fish, with prices to match in
top restaurants. It has firm, dense ,white, sweet tasting flesh which
lends itself to all styles of cooking.
I woke to the warm red glow to the east that told me the sun would
soon be up. Daylight
in the Australian tropics, suddenly the bush comes alive with the
birds singing their welcome
to the coming day from the surrounding paperbarks in a morning chorus.
Rainbow Lorikeets screech over the succulent nectar of the sunkissed
There is no wind. The touch of humidity promises a warm day with good
After breakfast Darren, Glen and I set of into the vast
lilly lined billabong which was covered
with a prolific variety of birdlife looking for something to eat.
Surface activity, and the occassional
"boofing" sound that a Barra makes when feeding told us that
the birds where not the only
I made the first cast with a medium diver into a
clearing amongst the lily pads, but got no
response. I tried again, cast retrieve, cast retrieve, cast retrieve.
Wham, the water exploded as a
huge Barra threw itself into the air in an attempt to get free. Line
ripped from my reel and the
tip of the rod pulled down hard as the Barra took of on a long run.
The rod was almost bent flat
as Darren and Glen pullen in their lines. My line was practically out
in a flat line as we powered
across the billabong in pursuit of the fish. After a while I began to
retrieve some line and I began to feel as though I was winning as I
pulled the fish closer. Suddenly a massive swirl, and the huge fish
exploded from the water in a final attempt at freedom. Then she
settled down and I knew she
I guess in all the excitement we got complacent, for suddenly, just 50
meters away we spied a monsterous saltwater crocodile. We watched it
closely, for when a croc is going to attack all the bumps on its back
sort of swell up, like the hair on a cats back. And yes, the bumps
were swelled, we were in trouble, the croc was definitely in attack
mode and we knew we had to get my prize Barra in quickly. I tightened
the drag, thumbed the spool, and literally dragged the fish to the
boat, all the time hoping the hooks would hold. I soon had it beside
the boat ready to be netted. At that moment the croc surfaced just a
few meters away, just his head and eyes, intent on the struggling
fish. We lifted the net but the fish was to heavy. It had to be 40kg
if it was a pound. The three of us grabbed the net together and heaved
the fish into the boat just as the croc made his move. We heaved a
sigh of relief which turned to panic as the croc came stright into the
boat across the cut-down transom trying to get my Barra. We ran to the
bow as the weight of the croc pushed the rear of our boat under. We
would have sunk if the croc hadn't grabbed my Barra abd slid back into
the billabong. Shaken, but not stirred, we fished on and ened the day
with over 30 Barra and other assorted species, but none as big as the
one the croc got. There are many ways to lose a fish, and many stories
about the one that got away, but this one will stay in my mind always.
This was an isolated incident and very
unusual as the Northern Territory has a management
program for removing problem crocs like the one in the above story.
Normally if you take care,
you will not have a problem with crocodiles. Crocodiles penetrate well
into freshwater areas and
have been found up to 300kms inland. They are attracted to boat ramps,
take care when launching a boat. Below are some hints concerning
DO NOT: clean fish on or near
the waters edge
DO NOT: tether fish to the boat
DO NOT: wade or stand in water longer than necessary
DO NOT: use a low sitting boat or canoe in waters inhabited by
DO NOT: let dogs in or near the water. Crocodiles are attracted to
DO NOT: camp at or near the waters edge
DO NOT: provoke a crocodile in any way
Observe these rules and you
should have no trouble. Please remember that all crocodiles
are protected under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act
and it is an offense to kill one. The Barramundi is one of the world's
best light tackle sportfish, the king of the tropical
waters. The fish is distributed right across the north of Australia,
from Queenslands Sunshine
Coast to the Ashburton River in Western Australia.
Barramundi fishing is the most
popular angling pursuit in the Northern Territory. The
species is widely regarded as Australia's premier native sportfish and
is pursued throughout
the top end of Australia. Many anglers like fishing for Barramundi
because of it's aggressive nature, it's fighting characteristics and
the big size that it can grow to. It takes artificial lures and flies
readily, and once hooked makes short powerful runs, often launching
itself clear of the water whilst shaking its head in an endeavour to
throw the hook. Another attribute of the Barra is its eating quality.
It is regarded by many as the best eating fish in all of Australia.
Barramundi can be caught all year round in the
Northern Territory, but you need to know where and when to get the
best out of it. Barra fishing is largely controlled by the seasons.
During the usual wet or green season, from January to March, many of
the dirt roads are impassable and fishing is generally restricted to
areas near the bitumen.
The Adelaide, Mary and South Alligator Rivers along the Arnhem
Highway, the McArthur River at Borroloola and the Victoria River west
of Katherine are popular. Most wet season Barra are caught from small
boats, usually by anchoring and casting
to creek mouths where there is flood water run-off, or by fishing in
the channels on the
floodplains. Near Darwin, Barramundi can be caught in the harbour
arms, in the creeks and estuaries of Shoal Bay, at Leaders Creek and
in the Boyne Harbour.
From Easter well into
May is the post wet and one of the best times for Barramundi,
particuarly in the rivers as the floods recede and the fish congregate
around freshwater creek
run-offs to feed on small fish and prawns. Trolling is generally the
best method because the water is at its coolest and the Barra tend to
stay deep. Most fish are caught by trolling close to the banks or weed
beds, or over submerged snags or rock bars. The build-up to the wet
season, usually late September to December, offers many options.
Water temperature in the lagoons is rising and the Barramundi
are becoming increasingly active.
Good fishing is still to be had by trolling, but casting at snags and
fishing at night with surface
lures is also worthwhile.
Lagoons along the
Mary River, in Kakadu National Park and in the Gulf region are prime
locations. During the build-up, the salt water option is at its prime
and most fishing takes place in the estuarine creeks and inlets.
Darwin Harbour Arms and Shoal Bay are very popular, as are the creeks
near the Adelaide River mouth and in the Bynoe Harbour south-west of
Darwin. As a general rule, Barra in the tidal rivers bite better
during the last couple of hours of the run-out tide. In the salt water
creeks and estuaries a couple of hours either side of low tide are
The Gagudju aboriginal people of this area have been following
their own seasonal weather patterns for over 50,000 years. I like
(January - March) the time of the north-west winds which blow
in the monsoon winds of the wet. There may be long periods of rain. It
is a time of new growth & new life.
(April) begins with a light south-east wind. The new winds
bring in storms of a
violent nature which the people of the north call "knock-em-down"
storms. They knock over the ripe grasses and ready them for burning.
Often they bring the last rains of the year. It is also the time for
the women of the tribes to go bush and dig up the succulent yam roots.
(May - June) The south-east winds increase and bring on the
start of the Dry. Nights begin to cool and morning fogs hang over the
floodplains. Seed-eating birds disperse to the south and the first of
many bushfires blacken the sky. Kite Hawks and Crows become numerous,
while in the billabong the Barramundi goes off its food.
(June - July) This is the cold season, the northern winter.
Sometimes it gets as cold as 18 degrees celcius. The trees flower and
there is an abundance of native "Sugar Bag" bees and many
nectar eating birds. Dry winds increase in strength from the south.
(August - September) The winds become even hotter and the earth
dries up and cracks. The dry air ripens the pandanus fruits while
myriad flocks of Magpie Geese feed on the spike- rush tubers in the
muddy swamps and billabongs.
(October - December) The humidity increases and the weather
becomes hot and stifling.
It becomes almost unbearable to move out of the
shade into the sun. The wind can't make up its mind from which
direction to blow. As the heat intensifies, violent thunder
and lightning storms begin to roam the land bringing short bursts of
heavy rain. The earth
heals again and new growth appears.
Australia's Northern Territory is famous for its
spectacular natural attractions, and the variety and abundance of its
flora and fauna.
The top-end is a fishing and boating paradise. Recreational fishing
allows resident and visitor alike a chance to enjoy the Territory's
unique environment to the fullest. An increasing number of anglers
from Australia and around the world regularly visit, either to fish
using their own devises, or by using one of the many experienced
fishing guides. For many of us, fishing is more than just another
sport or pastime. It is a way of life which offers a lifetime of new
and enriching experiences.
Because the thrill of the catch and
encounters with great fish takes place amidst a unique, remote natural
environment, the tag of "new Frontier" given to this area by
many anglers with international experience is no accident. A fishing
trip to the top-end will leave you with unforgetable memories, and in
years to come you will still be "Barramundi Dreaming".