Most people heading their way into the saltwater world have a few species that hit the target list, naturally this comes from whatever they see in the mags, perhaps a recommendation from a friend, well back in the day it was. Now we have the social media avenues and along with it a whole new range of species and experts to match.
One fish that rarely seems to hit the lists early in the piece for traveling anglers is Barramundi, seen as the conventional anglers pursuit often trolling with beers in hand and requires about the same skill level to drink the beer, apart from the boat driver.
Barramundi on fly and in the cleaner estuary systems such as Bynoe Harbour near Darwin, some of the northern Cape rivers and the big estuaries along Queensland are areas where the Barramundi is a specific sight fishing target and when these fish are laying up shallow ,1-2 feet of water, its about as technical as it gets. Poling the mangroves edges we have a distinct advantage with the height of the poling platform but you still need to see the fish with enough time to point it out to your angler, seems to be even if you are behind them if you sit there for too long they know you’re there and just wander off with no chance of eating anything after they are wary.
Finding them in the deeper, 3-4 feet of water up in the mangrove roots and branches is a much better proposition, they are usually ready to feed and the depth makes them a little more comfortable and less wary. Casting slightly beyond the fish so the fly swims 12-18 inches in front of him with a slow, short bumpy strip will often entice a bite. The bite may be a super slow follow and then a lazy slurp or it could be a major crash tackle, usually the lazy option is the Barramundi way. Then there's the problem of Barramundi do not have teeth so they implode, inhale their food which means they don’t bite down hard and they can easy spit that fly straight out. A short sharp strip strike is the solution, but believe me there is nothing 100%.
But if it all comes together, the best visual bite you’ve seen, tough hand to hand combat fights, jumps and cartwheels. You want to do it again the next cast, its addictive. Flies are often only slightly weighted or unweighted, natural materials are the go and the cleaner the water the more natural the colours. Manic Barra Bunnies are a fly I've been working on and fishing with for a lot of years now. 2/0 hooks and 40-50lb shock leader.
Bradley's Barra Bunny Burnt Orange
Bradley's Barra Bunny Chartueuse
Bradley's Barra Bunny Pink / White
Bradley's Barra Bunny Purple
Tackle.. my choice is 8 weight rods, mine are the 2pc and 4pc Meridians, the Airflo Cleartip floater is worth its weight in gold with 10 feet of clear section acting like a extra long leader in the super shallow flats and snake drains.
Hyped up to go chase some Barra now? Hit up Dave and the boys at www.australianflyfishingoutfitters.com.au and make the dream come true.