FINDING BARRAMUNDI IN THE QUEENSLAND WET SEASON
The March and April rains are my favourite time of the year. I look forward to nothing more than the downpours which engorge the tributaries and upper reaches, bringing big Barramundi to Queensland’s waterways. They reproduce downstream and will use the increased water flow to travel back up to the tributaries and narrow creeks. This makes for some big Barras on the chew, with many coming in at over 90cm. But first, you need to find them. This is where the real battle lies, finding this elusive species.
START IN THE DRY SEASON
Putting in the time before the rains come will pay dividends later. Any effective search for Barra starts on Google Earth. Find a system where you know Barra’s can be found, and trace it upstream using Google Earth. Look for bridges that cross the waterways, and roads running parallel to them to find access points to fish from. There is no point finding an optimal spot on Google Earth, only to later discover that it is private property. Roads and bridges are a sure sign that the system can be fished from public spaces.
Once you have narrowed your search to a handful of access points, pay them a visit in the summer when the water level is at its lowest. This will help you see the conditions and look for some structure which will be attractive to the Barra once the rains have been. Look for rocks which might provide a haven from the fast-moving current. Barramundi will sit in these havens and pick off any baitfish that drifts into their path.
A NOTE ON SAFETY
So the rains have come, it is early March, and you are itching to get out and throw some speculative casts at your chosen fishing spots. Fishing swollen creeks and drains comes with elements of danger. Don’t stand in running water whenever possible and always tell someone where you are going. Here in North Queensland, we also have our fair share of estuary crocodiles which can roam during the wet season. You definitely don’t want to be swept into an area of the tributaries where these girls are lurking. Use your common sense and be on your guard at this time of year.
FISH AFTER THE RAIN
Timing your fishing for after the heaviest rain when water levels are subsiding will yield the best results. The rains will flush out the baitfish into the drains, right into the open mouths of the Barramundi. Find the right spot after the rains, and the Barra will chomp on anything.
DON’T BE PUT OFF BY DIRTY WATER
After the rains, fishing the floodwaters will likely be in conditions that offer little to no visibility (this is why you made your reconnaissance visit in the dry season). You should have identified your access points upstream and found some structure or eddies that looked attractive when the water level was low. Now all you need to do is hit those areas. In dirty water, you will need to use a lure that either makes noise or offers colours that will stand out in the muddy brown soup. Swimbaits with a moderate to fast-paced retrieve will also generate a good amount of attention in the floodwaters.
Make the most of this year’s wet season by starting your search early and doing your homework. Then get as far upstream as you can and use the rains to your advantage. Catching swollen Barra in the swollen creeks should be on every Aussie angler’s bucket list.
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