Planning and packing for a nine week fishing trip through Queensland that was going to cover everything from Bluewater to barra, bass to mackerel was always going to be a headache, albeit it a good problem to have. One scenario that definitely got under my guard, but proved to be an unexpected highlight, was trolling the impoundments for big barra. Everything that I’d boned up on in the impoundments was all about shallow water, weed beds, casting plastics, boof frogs and the like. However with the help of a couple expat Vic mates and locals like Matt at Tackle Pro in Mackay, I was enlightened to the fact that those decent arches I’d noticed while travelling from shallow spot to shallow spot, were barra. Big barra in fact patrolled the deep open waters of the dams and could be reliably targeted by trolling, away from all that timber and those weed beds that I thought were synonymous with impoundment barra. Trolling for barra I thought was all about saltwater rivers, rock bars and the right tides, however there was definitely fish to be had trolling in the freshwater impoundments as well.
In the open water the big barra show up well on the sounder, however getting them to bite can be the problem. However there was something special about creeping along in the dark on a warm moonlit night, eyes glued to the sounder listening to all the nocturnal sounds that made the waits not a trial. Being a family trip, trolling made it was easier than getting the team onto a fish as opposed to making the hundreds of casts sometimes required for impoundment barra. Trolling big lures for big fish certainly required some decent tackle. In fact the same tackle we had been using on the bluewater during our trip did the job perfectly. 4000 Sols, Revros 4020 and Blasts with 50lb braid matched up to Demon Blood rods and Phantom X rods might seem like over kill in the fresh…until you hook meter plus barra. Even some of the lures were the same, the ghost xrap that every offshore fish wanted to demolish was also a hit with the freshwater barra, along with other more traditional hard bodied barra lures. The fights in the open water were also less stressful than trying to extract a big barra from tight cover.
Sure catching a metre plus fish on a bent minnow is forever burnt in my mind, the detonations on the boof frogs still ring in my ears… but trolling definitely put some big runs on the board and smiles on the dials too. If you are journeying through the magnificent impoundments of Nth Queensland make sure you give it a try.