By MATT FLYNN of North Australian FISH FINDER TM
You can catch a barramundi out of any boat. The barramundi really do not know the difference.
It is more enjoyable however to fish from a boat that is designed for the purpose.
From a boater’s perspective there are three types of barramundi fishing. Casting, trolling and bait fishing.
Casting is intensive and involves crews of two or three anglers casting lures at run-offs, snags, rockbars, eddies or anywhere barramundi are likely to lurk.
This type of barramundi fishing requires a stable boat with front and rear casting decks. The raised decks make fishing more enjoyable and increase field of view. They also help spread fishermen across the length of the boat, minimising the chances of them hooking their mates on the back-cast. Casting decks also provide extra storage for fuel tanks, eskies, camping gear and the like.
The need for casting decks means front-steering runabouts and half cabins are less suitable for barramundi fishing. Centre, side and rear console designs are best, or with simple tiller steering.
Trolling is less demanding on boat design, as you are essentially just pulling lures behind the boat.
The same could be said of bait fishing, where baits are dropped over the side. Ideally a bait fishing boat has no cabin, so baits can easily be worked over a 360 degree area. Many bait fishermen also like to cast lures while waiting for a bite.
What all barra boats need are reasonably shallow draught, long range, speed, storage and sun protection. A reliable engine and tough hull material that withstands knocks also helps greatly.
The two pictures below show my own project boat under construction. I converted my dad’s old front-steering runabout into a barra boat with a high raised deck. The pictures explain themselves. The spools on the back are for my occasional trip chasing billfish – they provide extra slack line off the outriggers.