This little barra put on a decent aerial display before surrendering to the net.

Chasing barramundi in the Great Sandy Strait

BARRAMUNDI are right up the top of the list when it comes to fish we love to chase in the Great Sandy Strait.

The western side of Fraser Island offers an incredibly large area for these fish to inhabit. However, narrowing down certain areas where they are likely to be holding is the best way to put your lure in front of a barramundi in the Great Sandy Strait. And the best way to understand where they will be is to understand what influences their behaviour, such as tides, food sources, water temperature and amount of light.

Ledges, creek mouths, drop-offs, holes and undercut banks all offer the opportunity to tangle with barra, but it’s impossible to fish every single metre of water. If you own a sounder, spend as much time as you can getting familiar with how it works. This will save you a lot of time and effort when looking for fish on the water.

Use your sounder to try to identify submerged timber, holes and structure of any kind as well as fish. Be efficient in the way you fish. If you decide you want to fish the creeks to chase barramundi, which often means you’ll be flicking at snags, don’t waste your time trying to fish mid-tide when the water is running extremely hard.

You will constantly get snagged, which is time consuming and expensive. Instead fish an hour either side of the tide change when the water is flowing more slowly.
Barramundi can be caught in fast-flowing water but if you’re trying to fish in 4-5m of fast-flowing water and snags are everywhere, it is extremely difficult to get your lure close enough to the structure where the fish are holding.

Barra will sit really tight to any structure when the water is flowing hard and they are more likely to eat prey that passes very close to them. They are lazy and refuse to swim into open water that’s moving quickly. Once the water slows, they will start to sit further out from their snag or rock to hunt more actively.

Barra in the Great Sandy Strait are obviously healthy fish.
Barra in the Great Sandy Strait are obviously healthy fish.
This barra was taken on a 3” Z-Man paddle tail at the turn of high tide.
This barra was taken on a 3” Z-Man paddle tail at the turn of high tide.
Any barra over 80cm is a tough fish.
Any barra over 80cm is a tough fish.
A barra caught on a Z-Man 3” paddle tail.
A barra caught on a Z-Man 3” paddle tail.
We find it is best to chase barramundi in the Great Sandy Strait during September and October and again shortly after the closed season (November 1 to February 1).

With the warmer water temperature the barra become far more active and aggressive. Water temps around 25C are often best for chasing barra. Anything lower and they tend to be quite slow and uninterested. However, in most cases, if you have a particularly hot day where the water temperature rises by a few degrees, this can often switch the barramundi on and they will become far more active.

When the water is cooler, the end of the day is often the best time to chase barra, particularly on a run-out tide because a high tide in small creeks with shallow water will see an increase in water temperature. As the water flows out of the creeks with the falling tide, barramundi often sit at the mouths waiting for baitfish to swim by.

Water temps of 28-30C or more will see barramundi sitting in deeper pools or holes trying to find cooler water. Taking notice of the conditions is key to finding these fish. As far as lure choice goes, we use plastics in clean water and hard-bodies and vibes in dirty water. We find dirty water to be more productive because barramundi tend to spook very easily in clear water.

Throwing a lure onto the nose of a barramundi in clean water will often scare the fish, so be as stealthy as possible. If sight casting, cast past the fish and work your lure slowly towards it. Any lure with vibration is always going to work better in cloudy or dirty water.In dirty water barramundi will hunt using the lateral line down the side of their body to detect movement, so vibrations increase the likelihood of your lure being noticed.

Be mindful of this and be sure to employ it when surveying dirty water for barra. Try some of these techniques but remember that patience and persistence are key. Find what works and then repeat the process.

If you liked this article, want to ask any questions or would like to see what fishing we get up to in the Fraser Coast region, check out our Instagram (@the.salties) and Facebook Facebook.com/Da.Salties

We will be sharing as much content as we can, showcasing the local fishing options of the Fraser Coast, from the fresh water to the salt.

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About The.Salties

The.Salties
We are Ben Musumeci and Andrew Whitaker from The.Salties. We are based in Hervey Bay, Queensland and do most of our fishing locally throughout the Great Sandy Strait and Fraser Island waters to the freshwater streams and tributaries of the Mary River. We primarily target fish in the estuaries and get out in the bay chasing the big pelagic fish when the weather permits.

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