The locals tips
Image: Fishing on the banks of the Fitzroy River
Hints and tips
The Rocky locals have got you covered with some helpful fishing tips including information on tides, the Fitzroy River (Tunuba) Barrage and deep water fishing.
Generally speaking, the best tides for lure and fly fishing for Barra are the last half of the run-out and the first part of the run-in, especially two or three days after a neap tide (smallest tidal movements) and as the tidal range starts to build towards the spring tides. Barramundi tend not to feed as hard during the actual neap tides, because of the lack of run and movement in the water.
The other big advantage is that water clarity is usually at its best at this time, giving the fish you are targeting a much better chance to see your fly or lure.
The Fitzroy River Barrage separates the fresh water upstream from the tidal salt water downstream through the operation of vertical lift gates. It's designed to maintain the upstream water storage level, yet it is also lifted in times of floods to prevent the Barrage from being damaged. It is recommended that visitors intending to fish the Fitzroy check the Barrage gate status to know when the river was last impacted by the gates opening.
It is illegal to fish 400 metres upstream and downstream of the Barrage.
The most important thing to consider when fishing deeper holes and rock bars for Barramundi is finding the fish in the first place. A quality fish finder/depth sounder is the most efficient way of locating fish. King Threadfin often form large schools that can be easily identified on fish finders or sounders, providing amazing angling opportunities.
Once the fish have been marked on the screen, it’s a case of getting your lure down in front of them. This can be achieved by either trolling a deep-diving, hard-bodied lure that reaches a running depth at the level where the fish are holding (often between five and eight metres), or by positioning your boat with an electric motor or anchor and casting or dropping soft plastics, vibes or weighted prawn imitations down to the fish (you can change the weight of the prawns or plastics with a ball sinker and loop knot). The trick is to make sure your lure gets down to the depth where the fish are holding. A range of 20 to 30 gram vibes for instance, or ball sinkers and jig heads for the prawns and plastics will cover this, depending on the conditions.
The use of a fish finder (depth sounder) cuts down immensely on the time needed to locate Barra and other fish on “structure” such as rock bars or submerged timber. However, it’s always worth trolling or casting to any structure, even if you haven’t seen a “show” of fish on the sounder screen.
Trolling hard-bodied diving lures around or close to structure is a very effective way of catching Barra, with the advantage of being able to spend time having a close look at the sounder while you’re trolling.
Many anglers prefer to cast suspending lures around structure and employ a stop/start twitching retrieve. This is an extremely exciting way to target Barra, and can often raise a bite even when the fish are shut down and inactive.