Posts Tagged ‘Live Bait for Barramundi’
By MATT FLYNN of North Australian FISH FINDER TM
Today, the bibbed minnow remains the most popular style of barramundi lure. Soft plastic lures are attracting a growing following.
Surface lures take third place, followed by jigs.
Most barramundi lures are bibbed minnows that float until retrieved. Sinking and suspending models are also available.
Floating lures are good for casting over rocks and other snags. They will rise when the retrieve is stopped.
The floating-diving minnow with a big bib is best for trolling snags. Most deep-divers have big bibs and tend to swim head-down with the bib bumping over snags, keeping the hooks clear.
Sinking minnows are harder to fish – the lure will often sink into snags. Nonetheless they can be very effective when snags are too deep or steep for floating divers.
A sinking lure or floating lure with a weighted trace can be used where a snag or bank is steep and instant diving ability is required.
Depth of dive is the main issue when choosing a bibbed minnow.
The lure’s rated depth of dive should match the depth you intend to fish. Most lures are made in several dive ratings, usually stated in feet as 3+, 5+, 10+ and so on.
Dive depth also varies according to the boat speed, the amount of line out and line thickness.
Trolling depth can be altered a little by raising or lowering the rod, but fishermen still need shallow, medium and deep divers for trolling at different depths.
Shallow divers or surface lures are essential for fishing flats and shallow bank edges where predators ambush bait.
Soft plastics and prawns have become popular in the barramundi fishery because they are effective, especially in the wet season, often getting a strike when hard bodied lures won’t.
The waggly tail seems to drive predatory fish wild.
Soft plastics no longer have to be assembled on a jig head – they can be bought in packs with each lure’s hook and weight moulded into the body.
Some anglers however like to use a range of jig heads on the same bodies and buy the heads and bodies separately.
Resin heads are popular for finesse fishing with almost unweighted lures, and can be hugely effective because of their lifelike action.
Most soft plastics have a single hook and the hook-up rate can be low, but the fish will often strike soft lures multiple times. Plastic prawn imitations also work well in northern fresh and saltwater.
They work best on a light threadline (eggbeater) outfit because they are so light.
Jigs are dropped down and then jigged back up to the boat, or are simply jigged up and down on the spot.
Small rattling jigs are effective on barramundi when jigged along deep snags. Jigs can also be cast and retrieved but tend to foul easily way because they have no bib to bounce over the snags.
Poppers and fizzers are worked on the surface and can be very effective at night or in shallow water.
They can also be effective around snags and weedbeds.
Work poppers slowly, especially at night.
Many people like to catch barramundi using bait. A popular bait is cherabin, or freshwater prawn. Freshwater prawns are one of the Top End’s special treats.
The prawns, locally called cherabin, grow as big as saltwater prawns, taste as good, and can be easily caught. Cherabin live in most freshwater habitats. They can be caught in baited traps, with a spear, or with a cast net, but are easiest to catch at night, when they are most active.
In shallow sandy areas such as the far upper Daly River or Katherine Rivers, a fish carcass can be staked to the bottom, and a cast-net thrown over the carcass every half-hour to collect cherabin – but watch out for crocodiles that may be attracted to the bait. Cherabin eyes shine red in torchlight, just like a barra.
Cherabin are the number one barra bait, if you manage to not eat them. Another inland crustacean is the redclaw, which looks like a southern yabby, or freshwater crayfish. These are caught using similar methods to catching cherabin. They are also great eating.
Mullet are also top livebait for barramundi. They can be caught in a cast net. Herring, garfish and sardines are also good baits. Barramundi only occasionally take dead baits.