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Impoundment Barra for Beginners

By Nabeel Issa

For someone who has lived their whole life in QLD, I had never gone for a barra trip. To some that may sound sad, and well frankly, it is! Most years I amp myself up for it but never seem to be able to pull the trigger, whether it's due to work, family, weather or some other excuse that pops up. However, with our second child due in a few months, I knew it would only get harder to go so with all the news of how well it had been fishing, I booked the accommodation at Lake Awoonga and locked it in.

I had spent a lot of time reading, watching, listening all about barramundi and their habits. I have caught a few locally here in Brisbane, but never anything huge and not consistently. I knew from my brief encounters they can be incredibly hard to tempt and can pack some serious power. The lead up to this trip for me involved learning as much as I could about our venue. This meant studying maps, looking up successful lures, techniques, and areas. 

As with the excitement of an upcoming fishing trip, there is the prospect of buying new gear. I did not hold back and made sure I had every possible lure I could think of needing. Making sure to upgrade all rings and trebles, I was not going to let gear failure come in the way of any fish this trip. Rod selection was crucial for me, I wanted to make sure that I had the right rod for the types of lures I was going to be using. That meant spin rods, 7-7’6 long matched to 3500/4000 reels. I wanted to be able to cast my lures a long way and for me, a spin set up is best suited for that.

The two outfits I used for the majority of the trip were a Daiwa Team Daiwa Black “Macka” matched to a 4000 Kix LT with 20lb J-Braid Grand. The other was a Team Daiwa Black “Supercasta” matched to a 3500 Catalina with 30lb J-Braid Grand. Both had 80lb Spartan Nylon leaders.

So on with the trip, we arrived to the dam and was instantly in awe of its size. All the thoughts that run through your head prior to arriving are now in disarray when you physically lay eyes on the waterway. The size was intimidating, but I had a plan and I was excited and confident we could pull it off. The first session was on the afternoon we arrived, windy and late in the day, we did not have a great deal of time to find a location before the sun set.

The plan was to locate a likely area and work it for a few hours into the night. Reading the water was key and we were able to pick out a point that looked likely. Anchored up and making long casts with the wind, it took all of 30min before the first bite. It was violent, aggressive, angry. As I type I can still remember the feeling of it. The fish was boated and measured 98cm. I was over the moon. It made the lead up to that moment all worthwhile. 

Over the next few days we were able to boat more fish including a few over the magic meter mark. We kept it simple and stuck with our main plan and persevered.  A couple of memorable bust offs as well that keep me up at night and fuel the fire for the next trip.

Now it’s been a few months since that trip and I still find myself buying more gear for the next trip, whenever it may be. The barra addiction is real! They are an amazing fish to target, and I cannot wait to get back up there!


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