Barra, -4 Degrees and Coffee

Catching barra in winter can be difficult, yet once dialled in it’s a daily doable.
I was winter guiding with clients in freshwater lakes about 17 years ago, that grew to saltwater and now coaching the micro-skillsets of both arenas.
It’s the extremes catching my eye these days, fishing when conditions are sh!t house.

In late winter 43 wild saltwater barra hit the deck averaging nearly 100cm. Most trips were about an hour long, quick missions after hours or before work, in the dark, cold, no sun, cooling waters, mostly fishing alone.
(99% were released)
When we dial in and if hungry to keep dialling we look for mental challenges.
One particular morning the region plummeted to -4 degrees Celsius, iced cars, frosts and for the first time in life the feet were literally burning and uncomfortable while standing on deck.

Fished for less than an hour that morning to catch a high 90’s wild barra and another escaped….. then straight to the coffee shop at 5 a.m. to buy a hot drink.

Can recall walking into the shop and the young chick saying “Oh wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you wearing long clothes…..”
This style of fishing became the norm, catching barra on the grossest mornings then timing the return from the boat ramp to hit open doors at the coffee shop.
Some mornings there was a 20 knot southerly wind blowing yet at the same time the predatory attitude of needing to kill is driving the outcome.

None of the trips where a case of wanting to catch a barra, they were all driven by a programmed subconcious need. The method is programmed into my mind, a way of thinking, being and doing. The highest end of my game is referred to as KILL MODE, modelled off one particular wild African predator.
The plan and outcome was pretty much catching 90 to 100cm + salties without failure.

Can recall once or maybe even twice catching nothing in a 45-minute session in feral conditions but that was the idea, to push push and push.

All 43 fish were caught without the use of sonar. Reading the weather, land and water, and understanding animal psychology to a crazy level.

When saying ‘animal psychology’ I’m referring to the pinnacle level of understanding. Without the use of sonar I can look at the piece of water where a lure splashes down and immediately explain if the fish will or will not strike.

To get to this point in fishing is beyond unique and it’s not just a simple stab in the dark, this is precision, ultra-detailed knowledge leading to the statement.

This gives massive advantage because there is minimal or no wasted time casting a lure into an unsuitable area where the science explains the psychology of the animal at the time.

No means no.
Yes means yes.

So basically this method of hunting eliminates environments where the target species will not commit to striking.

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine somebody driving along with the sonar and finding a school of 20 fish then deciding to stop and cast.
If the science says “No” that angler is wasting their time.

Imagine driving past looking at that same water without a sonar and knowing it won’t produce fish. But here’s the catch – without the wild programmed mind 99% of anglers won’t and can’t see the reasons why because it stretches beyond one-dimensional viewing.

This happens because domestic living has broken down the relatability to the powerful structure of the wild format. People have forgotten how to see by replacing things to look at such as mobile phones, technology, sonars, brands x y z, clothes, cars and chosen a different path to walk.

Without realising time spent on the different path has de-tuned and uninstalled wild process and uploaded a modern method that’s no longer compatible to the running of the wild.

By the time they lift their head and the realisation occurs anglers have strayed a long way from the track.

The 43 wild fish measured up to 113cm with smallest in the 90’s. Cast and retrieving lures was the method. The process however is where the skill rests, in learning where to put the lure each session.
There were multiple trips where the job was done first, second, third, or fourth cast then head back home…..yes for coffee.

Unsure whether addicted to barra fishing or the coffee at the end of the session…..

To explain the process a little more I have a few ideas where fish will come from each session yet not until hitting the water can the shuffle take place.
And that’s the thing if not shuffling you’re wasting time. The parameters are so fine that near enough isn’t good enough. Can remember many occasions spending 30 or 40 minutes floating, drifting and driving around working out where not to cast…..then pulling up and having one cast to nail a metre plus salty then heading home.

Just yesterday conditions were average at best even though bed seemed more comfortable with a work day ahead.

The crappy conditions excited the inner animal to hunt and so began another session of NEEDING a result.
It took an hour, and without high level awareness I would have missed out. The location ended up spot on but one singular animal on the land triggered a vital piece of the puzzle from my deep subconscious and that brought the undoing to a 92cm fish in 18knots of blustery SSW winds.

To hunt via these levels of knowledge is the most powerful thing a fisherman will ever do.

To learn barra & animal skills check out this powerhouse learning programme called ‘The Leopard Trail’

Johnny Mitchell
“Where da coffee at!”