Here are a few essentials regarding the barramundi habitat and habits.
Where to Catch Barramundi
Barramundi are tropical fish, can be found in the Indo-Pacific areas, beginning with the Persian Gulf, southern China and Australia. Barramundi fishing is regarded as Australia’s most iconic sportfishing, very popular throughout the whole northern coast of Australia. You can’t call yourself an Aussie angler if you haven’t scored at least one barra in your angling career.
In Australia, many water reservoires are stocked with barramundi for recreational fishing. Although among the anglers of Australia, the catch-and-release fishing for these “impoundment barramundi” is very popular, it’s much more exciting to go on a hunt for barras in their natural habitat.
When it comes to the Barramundi habitat, they prefer quite a variety of places, can be found and caught beginning with river creeks, down to mangrove estuaries, and due to the fact that it’s a catadromous fish (moves downstream to estuaries and gulfs to spawn), it can also be caught in the coastal waters. They usually move downstream with the floods for spawning.
Since they are tropical fish, they prefer warm waters, beginning with 20°C temperatures. They like waters with a lot of vegetation, rocks, submerged logs, bushes and trees, places where they can hide to stalk their prey. Their diet consists of small fish and crustaceans. They can be caught both in clear and murky waters.
Barramundi Fishing Techniques
Barramundi responds well to a wide array of lures and jigs. Therefore, jigging, popping, spooning are the most common methods used to catch barramundi. The key is to match your lure to the small fish in the area you’re fishing at, in other words to the prey of the barramundi of that particular place. But as a general idea, lures from silver to yellow, brown and green should provide great results.
Fly fishing for barramundi is popular too in Australia, but it fits mostly to smaller rivers, and clear water so that the fish can actually see the fly on the surface. It’s usually done with bigger flies and pretty much requires a boat.
Trolling for barramundi is also a pretty much standard barramundi fishing technique. While trolling, it’s best to work the rod at all times, back and forth, up and down, depending on the bottom structure or the boat speed. While trolling, barramundi usually strikes in the short stationary period of the lure, after you whack the rod.
In general, to catch a barra, look for a deep spot, with a steep muddy or rocky riverbank, with plenty of vegetation, couple of trees, stumps, mangroves or bushes in the water, places where a barra could hide. Sometimes you could see them at the surface, and in that case, obviously you should cast your lure or fly in their direction.
Live Bait, Lures and Flies for Barramundi
Live bait. Barramundi aren’t very picky when it comes to food. The most used live bait for barra are mullets and sardines, but herring works as well. Small mullets can easily be caught in shallow water with a cast net. Cherabin and other crustaceans are also great for catching barramundi. They can be caught with baited traps or with cast nets, but specially during night when they are most active. Frogs can also be used for catching barramundi.
Lures. If you’re using lures, no matter what you’re fishing for, it’s best to have as many types as possible. As a general idea, when fishing for barramundi, it’s best to use small to medium sized lures, since their average size is between 40-60cm. Keep your lures between 5cm and 10cm, and match them to the live food of the barramundi in the particular environment you’re fishing.
Here are a few lures to try: Tiger Lily, Olive-backed, Gold, Green, Silver or Pearl Bombers (biggest ones to go with are B16A), Yozuri Minnows (silver, brown or yellow), Richo’s Little Terror, Richo’s Extractor, Lucky Craft Sammy 115, Tilsan Barra (for medium depth, in Spotter Herring or Fingerling), 50-80 mm Spearhead lures (blue and white), Halco Deep Scorpions (for depth or trolling).
Flies. If you’re going with flies, here are a few of the most used: Gold Bomber, Pink Thing, Bushpig, White Thing, Fatboy, Clousers, Black Dahlberg Divers, DK Dancer and Brown-Greenish Poppers like Skitter Pops or Chug Bugs.
Reels: ABU 6500C3, Shimano Calcutta 400B (specially for trolling), Daiwa Luna 103 (or 203). Or, if you’re going for precision casting, with small lures, a spinning reel would be better, so a Daiwa Freams 3000 or a Daiwa Advantage 2000A would be a good choice, or if you don’t like the spinning ones, Shimano Tiagra A30 Wide LRS.
Rods: As a general idea, a baitcast rod, 6′ size, 8-10kg, should do. Anyway, here are a few options: Fenwick SEAMARK 196-6 Casting 5-8kg, G Loomis IMX CR724, G Loomis Crankbait CBR843 (7′).
Line: 30lb braid and a leader around 60lb, fluorocarbon should do.