Barra, Stealth and Distance

Barra, Stealth and Distance

Take it back to basics, to the bush, into the world of survival where one wrong move can mean death to predator or prey. Stealth, silence, awareness, keeping the advantage, using everything in your power to position accordingly, not just stopping in any old spot, but getting exactly into prime position to take action.

Whether chasing wild barra or looking for the ultimate

photograph of a wild animal there’s a lot to be said regarding ‘distance from target.’ Stalking within three metres of a 600 kilo scrub bull for a close-up photograph is possible, in fact, smacking one on the rump is doable, but dangerous and one error in judgement will result in the animal spooking, running off, maybe puncturing your lungs before it leaves.

Barra simply swim off, go shy or can immediately leave an area if you apply too much pressure.

How much pressure is too much?

One crunch of a leaf in the bush, or the click of a dodgy knee can be enough to send an edgy feral running, so consider the effects of having a vessel too close to a school of fish or your mate moving too loudly onboard.

Fishing solo for barra is my favourite- quiet, relaxed hunting! The sonar is set for a wider scan to keep the vessel as far from the fish as possible- reducing the intrusion on ‘personal space.’ Trying to catch a spooked barra is a waste of time, you need to catch them unaware where the first thing entering their space is your lure tip toeing past their face- CRUNCH.

That same beautiful moment occurs in the bush when the perfect line of sight amidst ideal backdrop and good lighting allows you to CLICK the shutter button and freeze-frame a bull the moment you whistle his attention. A few shots can be squeezed off before the bull recognises the threat and leaves the scene.

Same with barra, they either leave the disturbance zone or simply zip their lips! You want animals responding only when you want them to, if they’re responding before that- you’ve lost the game!! EXECUTION is critical!

“Surprise!” You want animals to do their thing at your calling. This bull walked and fed into a small gap in the lantana and rubber vine. Moving quickly and silently to find the perfect gap to snap a photograph I whistled and freeze-framed the look of horror on his face. If hunting that’s the moment to shoot. With barra, they should have no idea of your intent until the lure is engulfed and hook is driven home.

How Close Is Too Close?

With a bull, if it fills the frame that’s close enough, with barra a full length cast is the equivalent. Why park 10m from the fish when you can cast 30 metres? Do you get the drift?

The wrong end of the action – animals spooked after a photographic encounter where six shots (shutter clicks) sent the animals back to the safety of the scrub. Think of the negative impact associated with basic boat noise!

Pressured wild animals run at the hint of an intruder, spooky barra – the same. Unpressured animals and fish haven’t yet felt the impact of man, and will eventually experience such a thing. If they survive the encounter they adapt, develop and become harder to trick.

Next time you fish a river consider cast length and how far you should perhaps stay away from fish to increase the chances of landing a metre-plus or a 1200+ whopper.

Stealth and distance; just a small part of the successful hunting equation.


Johnny Mitchell


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